Saturday Night Live: Dane Cook plugs YouTube in monologue

October 1, 2006

So you know you have buzz when you are the butt of Saturday Night Live’s jokes.  Yesterday was the first Saturday Night Live of the season, hosted by Dane Cook.  Dane gave a hilarious monologue that included a bit about YouTube.  Unfortunately, I don’t have an exact quote from the monologue.  So this won’t sound as funny as it really was. 

Dane was joking how YouTube basically has every video in existence.  You can pound your fist on your laptop, causing it to hit some gibberish on the screen (like a@/) and you still should be able to find some video with that exact title. 

UPDATE 2:  The actual clip is now on YouTube .  Sorry, YouTube has removed the clip at the request of NBC because it was not uploaded with NBC’s authorization:

Forbes cover story: The YouTube Revolution

October 1, 2006

News:  The October 16th, 2006 Forbes has a cover story on “The YouTube Revolution” with a large photo of CEO and co-founder Chad Henley.  The article recounts YouTube’s young history, starting as an idea between Henley and co-founder Steve Chen conceived after a party with their coworkers from PayPal where they used to work.  The idea sprung after colleagues at the party had difficulty sharing video clips taken from the party — a saga explained here on Charlie Rose.

The article also contains some interesting discussion of the huge interest of established businesses in YouTube as a platform, and the vision of the YouTube founders:  Video democracy is here, [Henley] says, and falling costs of transmission and a growing audience eager for the offbeat have empowered anyone with a laptop to create, review or alter almost any piece of digital entertainment–right up there with the big guys. “Hollywood will always bring great content,” he allows, “but amateurs can create something just as interesting–and do it in two minutes.”

Analysis:  YouTube is a rather simple idea.  Users seem taken with it because it gives them a new outlet to share their own content.  Businesses are taken with it because it’s now one of the websites with the most buzz on the Net.  The Forbes article is just another indicator of that.  Buzz, though, is not a substitute for business.  YouTube is trying to lay the foundation for a sustainable business.

New York Times article on YouTube’s “Video Poker”

October 1, 2006

News:  YouTube continues to generate tremendous buzz.  This week, as I’ll recap in the next few posts, was amazing.  The New York Times wrote a feature article on YouTube here.  Besides the standard fare about YouTube’s growth, the article discusses some of the IP issues:

“YouTube is relying on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which in general does not require Internet companies to screen material they store in advance. Rather, the law says Web sites must remove content when a copyright holder informs them of a violation.

“But there are many who wonder how safe YouTube’s position is. The Supreme Court ruled in the MGM v. Grokster case that music file sharing systems could be held liable for inducing users to violate copyrights. That said, many other mainstream sites, like MySpace and Yahoo, also post videos without trying to screen out copyrighted material. (Most do scan for pornography, though.)

“Yet even Hollywood executives interested in finding a way to work with YouTube are perplexed about how to go about it. They are happy to use YouTube as a free place to distribute movie trailers and TV clips, but users prefer the very best bits of hit shows.

“The yin and yang of working with YouTube is you want to use them as a way to promote our programs but we don’t want to give away the store,” said John Miller, the chief marketing officer of NBC Universal television. NBC has bought advertising on YouTube and uploaded clips promoting shows like “The Office.” And it has also actively demanded that the site take down clips from “Saturday Night Live.”

“[YouTube CEO] Mr. Hurley hopes to be able to solve this concern by offering studios a share of ad revenue as it has for Warner Music. But for now YouTube does not have much advertising revenue. It displays graphical banner ads on some pages and text ads on its search pages. But Mr. Hurley rejects inserting commercials in front of video segments, an increasingly common advertising format.”

Analysis:  I’ll have more to say later on the copyright issues.  YouTube CEO Hurley’s stance on the front ads is commendable for consumers, although YouTube will have to figure out alternative ways to increase ad space just as Google eventually did with its sponsored links, which are separated from search results on the right hand column.