Marketplace Report: NBC to Post Video on YouTube.com

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The NBC television network plans to post clips from some of its fall shows on the video-sharing Web site YouTube.com — a big step for YouTube.com and NBC, which previously attempted to block the site from posting clips of NBC shows. Madeleine Brand talks with Janet Babin of Marketplace about the win-win move for NBC and YouTube.com's "guerilla cred."

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

Back now with DAY TO DAY.

You've probably heard of the web site YouTube.com. It's where anyone can upload video for other people to watch, everything from home movies of kittens to that infamous speech by comedian Steven Colbert at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Well, until now, TV and film studios have clashed with sites like YouTube. They wanted to keep their shows off the Internet, where people could watch for free without commercials, but NBC announced today that it will promote its fall TV lineup on YouTube. MARKETPLACE'S Janet Babin is here.

And, Janet, NBC has been on YouTube a number of times in the past, involuntarily. I'm thinking of clips from Saturday Night Live, for example, and NBC always demanded its content be removed, so why the reversal now?

JANET BABIN reporting:

Well, now the site is going to show selected video clips that NBC chooses to promote its own shows, so you might legally see, say, a skit from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno or get like a backstage Q&A with actors from a popular show like The Office. Essentially, this new content is going to be commercials for NBC TV shows. David Berlind is Executive Editor of ZDNet, and I talked to him by phone today. He's at the CW3(ph) conference in New York, and Berlind says this type of deal was inevitable.

Mr. DAVID BERLIND (Executive Editor, ZDNet): When you look at these content companies, whether it's movie studios, record labels, they really have no choice but to figure out how to reclaim some of that time that's being taken away from them by the Internet. So what better way to do it than to use the Internet as a channel for not only distributing their content, but promoting it?

BABIN: So you're only going to be able to see, essentially, what NBC wants you to see?

BRAND: And I understand Time Warner recently made a similar agreement with another video-sharing site, GUBA?

BABIN: Yes. Time Warner made a deal to rent and sell its movies on GUBA.com. That's going to be protected content from Microsoft Digital Rights Management Software, and these pay movies are going to be advertised, they are right now, right next to free content from users. So you can watch a video, like I did today, of a Dalmatian riding a bike for free, or you can rent a movie like Everything is Illuminated for $2.99. It's also important to note that GUBA is smaller than YouTube. It only had about 500,000 viewers in May compared to more than 12,000,000 on YouTube. That, according to Comsquare Networks.

BRAND: Well, Janet, from the other side, aren't these deals completely against the spirit of the guerilla nature of these web sites?

BABIN: In a way, yes, and that's the challenge for the web sites and for the content providers, because people go to sites like GUBA and YouTube to get a break from their day and to see really funny stuff with an edge. If you go there and see commercials for what's on TV, you're not going to go there anymore.

Well, coming up later on MARKETPLACE, how the surprise appearance of an endangered plant might derail a housing development.

BRAND: Thank you, Janet. Janet Babin of Public Radio's daily business show, MARKETPLACE. It's produced by American Public Media.

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