Networks love free promotion of their shows. It saves them money, obviously, and it brings in viewers.
YouTube has given networks a new media landscape for their marketing departments to conquer. While some nets post clips on the video sharing site, and many others bantheir clips from appearing on the site, it is the fan videos that seem to draw the most attention.
Most viewer mashups and tributes are done as an honest homage to their favorite program. In some cases however the line is blurry: take the case of the Seven minute Sopranos. (below). A really neat, funny chronology of the show leading up to the final episodes which were released earlier this year. Not only was it clever and well produced, but HBO loved it, and it stayed on YouTube.
The film was the brainchild of Joe Sabia and Paul Gulyas, who edited the clips themselves, and were “big fans” of the show. But there was one little problem: Sabia worked for HBO. As a result, the viral nature of the Seven Minute Sopranos was compromised, and one of the smartest fan made mashups was relegated to the dark realm of corporate marketing stunts. Sabia denied creating the clip for HBO, and it does not appear that the network knew that Sabia was creating the video, but the relationship was too close for comfort for many new media watchers.
But fear not netizens: not all popular YouTube vids are the result of corporate marketing departments and low level network employees.
One of the most popular mashups on the Tube is a collage of opening sequences from the CBS show CSI: Miami (below), and CBS is in on the joke. In other words, CBS sees this fan made video as a good thing, not something to be obliterated from the net. And it doesn’t appear as though they actually made it themselves either.
With News Corp. and NBC unveiling their new online video site later this year, the future of network programming online is about to reach a tipping point.
Which way it will swing is yet to work itself out (I guess we shall have to see how this new NBC/News Corp. site works out won’t we?) but viewer and fan made videos and mashups will have to be part of the equation. After all, what’s the point of Web 2.0 if one side, the consumer side, can’t contribute anything?