BuzzFeed gives “backdoor” into beta of Hulu website

October 31, 2007

News: While Hulu (the premium content site provided by NBC Universal and Fox) is in beta and open only to those invited, a site called BuzzFeed has found a way for everyone to look at the new Hulu site. Just go to BuzzFeed for the so-called “backdoor” to Hulu.

Analysis: The video quality — meaning the definition and clarity of the picture — is fantastic. Great job, NBC and Fox!! As I said several times before, this marks the beginning of the end of TV as we know it. The Internet will be taking over, soon.  (And no FCC regulations there.)

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Hollywood Asks YouTube: Friend or Foe?

January 15, 2007

News:  Laura Holson of NYT has a probing article today titled “Hollywood Asks YouTube: Friend or Foe?,” which discusses the many issues Hollywood studios face with YouTube.  Of course, one of the big problems is keeping their copyrighted content from surfacing (unauthorized) on YouTube.  Even after the studios find one unauthorized clip of their movies and YouTube takes it down, another may resurface from another YouTube user. “There is only so much we can do,” said Rick Cotton, NBC Universal’s general counsel, who estimated that more than half the videos on YouTube featuring NBC Universal’s television shows and films were unauthorized. As fast as a clip is taken down, he said, YouTube users “can always put up another.”

The article describes a deal with Universal, however:   So in an odd twist, Eminem’s songs from “8 Mile” are cleared for use on YouTube, while much of the accompanying video is not. In what could be an indication of the kinds of deals the studios might strike, Universal Music earns the higher of two amounts when its songs are used in a video: a flat fee per clip or a percentage of advertising revenue.  “We don’t want to kill this,” said Larry Kenswil, a Universal Music executive. “We see this as a new source of revenue for us.”

Analysis:  The notice-takedown procedure seems like a neverending challenge.  Take down one unauthorized clip on Monday, you might find another version back up the same day or week.  Until YouTube’s filtering software is rolled out, or YouTube changes its current policy and requires either greater user verification or more internal review of each video clip before it is posted, I don’t see how this problem goes away.