Online Entertainment

NBC Partners With YouTube in Content Deal

In yet another sign that traditional television broadcasters are intent on staking their claim on the Web, NBC and online video company YouTube on Tuesday announced a strategic partnership.

The alliance will promote NBC’s fall television lineup and other NBC shows over the next year.

The agreement also includes an integrated, cross-promotional advertising relationship, with on-air promotion of YouTube provided by NBC.

“The YouTube and NBC partnership symbolizes what can happen when traditional media companies and new media companies find common ground,” said John Miller, chief marketing officer for the NBC Universal Television Group.

Transitioning Traditional Media

NBC is hoping to cash in on the YouTube phenomenon. People now watch more than 70 million videos per day on the service. It is the 17th most-trafficked Web site in the world, according to the company, and it is still adding more than 60,000 new videos daily.

“YouTube is the perfect online media partner to promote NBC’s marquee entertainment to their audience and explore new and creative ways to harness the power of viral video in a manner that respects copyrights,” Miller said.

Under the terms of the agreement, NBC will create an official NBC Channel on YouTube to house its fall preview area with exclusive clips to promote NBC’s “The Office.”

In addition, NBC will upload to its channel on YouTube several video presentations and longform promos per week from prime time and late-night programs like “Saturday Night Live,” “The Office,” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” YouTube will promote NBC’s videos throughout the site.

Sparking a Sense of Community

NBC plans to launch a contest centered around “The Office.” People can submit their own creative 20-second promotional videos to NBC’s YouTube Group. NBC will publicize the campaign on air regularly during the first three weeks of the contest, encouraging YouTube users to enter.

The contest runs June 26 through July 21. The winning video will air within the network broadcast of “The Office” during the month of August. NBC will also offer a “how-to” video featuring writer-producer Bill Lowery, who normally writes and produces all the network’s promos for “The Office.”

“With the contest, we want to have some fun and allow an artistic avenue for fans of ‘The Office.’ We know they have a lot of great ideas that deserve to be shared, and we can’t wait to see what they upload to YouTube,” Miller noted.

YouTube’s decision to work with NBC on an official basis is especially timely since Warner Bros. signed a deal on Monday to sell downloads of 200 films and TV episodes through Guba, a competing online video site.

Protecting Copyright

Miller also applauded YouTube for its willingness to remove unauthorized NBC content and protect its copyrighted material.

YouTube users are the latest target of copyright enforcement action by the Recording Industry Association of America. Many YouTube users have recently been the recipients of cease-and-desist orders.

“The reaction of the mainstream media companies appears to have been, thus far, much more muted and ambiguous than the previous reactions to P2P file-sharing systems,” Christopher Norgaard, intellectual property attorney and partner in the Los Angeles office of Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley, told TechNewsWorld.

The Motion Picture Association of America has warily praised YouTube for the steps it has taken to limit distribution of copyrighted material but has also warned that it needs to do more.

“Part of the ambivalence may be due to the relatively small proportion of entire episodes found on these sites,” Norgaard noted. “In addition, Yahoo and Google also permit, or link to, authorized, paid downloads of songs and video content, and contain other links that generally promote or enable purchase or other paid use of copyrighted works.”

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