Sunday, January 11, 2009

What does Andy Samberg's YouTube hit say about NBC sites?

NBC guards video content pretty jealously. NBC clips posted to YouTube without authorization typically are pulled down fast. But a clip that appeared on the network's stalwart comedy show, Saturday Night Live, is racking up huge viewership on YouTube.


The comedy skit known as "J--- in My Pants" starring SNL cast member Andy Samberg has recorded nearly 8 million views since being posted on December 6 and is YouTube's most watched video this month. NBC hasn't ordered the clip to be pullled from YouTube. That may seem like a policy shift, but in this case the TV network apparently has no right to do so.

The skit was produced by Samberg and his production company. They own the rights and they uploaded the clip to YouTube. Choosing to promote the clip on YouTube rather than NBC sites such as and YouTube has raised some eyebrows.

But Samberg and his business partners are trying to promote the song featured in the skit and have a record deal with Universal Music Group. Samberg likely wants to reach as many consumers as possible. While the SNL skit featuring Tina Fey's impersonation of Gov. Sarah Palin drew an enormous audience to and Hulu, there's no arguing that YouTube, which topped 100 million visitors in October, has a much larger following than and Hulu combined.

And it's important to note that YouTube is increasingly becoming an important music hub. The major recording companies are negotiating new licensing deals with YouTube. A source at one of the major labels told me this week that the top labels are beginning to see growing revenue from their deals with YouTube.

Sure, in the end Samberg gave a tacit endorsement to YouTube. The site obviously fit his needs. Regardless, it doesn't change one important fact. This is one video. Most of the hot videos Samberg and SNL produce will only be accessible at NBC sites.



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