YouTube now 'entertainment destination': partners with NBC, courts CBS

YouTube is declaring that while it originally started as a personal video sharing service, it “has grown into an entertainment destination.

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YouTube is declaring that while it originally started as a personal video sharing service, it “has grown into an entertainment destination.”

When YouTube obtained its first round of venture financing, last November, the company was focused on attracting user generated content. In announcing $3.5M in Series A funding from Sequoia Capital, YouTube described itself as:

a new service that allows people to easily upload, tag, and share personal video clips through www.YouTube.com and across the Internet on other sites, blogs and through e-mail. The service also allows users to create their own personal video network.

Chad Hurley, YouTube CEO, said

With more and more people carrying around devices that capture video-from digital cameras to cell phones-YouTube is set to become an essential destination for watching and sharing these experiences.

Roelof Botha, Sequoia Capital partner, said:

We are very excited to be involved with YouTube at a time when consumers are poised to benefit from all the consumer electronics available. The demand for user-generated content continues to grow exponentially.

When Sequioa upped the ante last April with an additional $8M in Series B funding, YouTube continued the user-generated content mantra:

YouTube is the largest community on the Web for short-form video, with tens of thousands of clips uploaded every day by indie filmmakers and musicians, professional content creators, and anyone with a video camera or camcorder. Entertainment by its nature is both a personal and communal experience and YouTube is providing the stage. Everyone can express themselves by creating content and distributing it through YouTube—and our community decides which videos rise to the top.

YouTube’s uploading to viewing ratio, however, did not reflect overwhelming user desires to “express themselves by creating content and distributing it through YouTube.”

According to YouTube’s April statistics: “The company currently delivers more than 40 million video views every day with 35,000 new videos uploaded daily.” While YouTube’s numbers have significantly grown since April, the proportion of video uploads to video views reportedly remains at below 1%.

YouTube’s very low user contribution rate is undoubtedly one of the motivations for repositioning itself as an “entertainment destination.”

The other, principal, motivation is to attract desirable, professionally produced content, rather than amateur content. As I reported in “NBC to partner with YouTube in posting NBC video clips”:

Earlier this year, YouTube acquiesced to NBC’s demand that an unauthorized clip of the NBC produced "Saturday Night Live" video, "Lazy Sunday," be removed from YouTube, along with unauthorized copies of more than 500 other pieces of NBC content, citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The pirated clip of the poular SNL parody garnered more than 5 million views at YouTube before its forced removal.

Last month, YouTube struck a cross-promotional and content distribution deal with NBC:

NBC will create an official NBC Channel on YouTube to house its Fall Preview area with exclusive clips to promote NBC's "The Office."…NBC will upload several video presentations and longform promos per week to the NBC Channel on YouTube from primetime and late-night programs like "Saturday Night Live," "The Office," and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." YouTube will also promote NBC's videos throughout the site.

John Miller, Chief Marketing Officer, NBC Universal Television Group, said of the deal:

The YouTube and NBC partnership symbolizes what can happen when traditional media companies and new media companies find common ground. 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. We applaud YouTube for their continued willingness to work with us to remove any unauthorized NBC content and protect our copyrighted material.

YouTube’s Hurley said:

We are delighted to work with NBC on an official basis. Bringing more entertaining and exclusive content to YouTube helps further our goal of providing the best video entertainment experience on the Internet.

YouTube is now hoping to ink a deal with CBS. Hurley met with CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves, at this week’s Allen & Co media summit in Sun Valley, Idaho. According to AP reports. Hurley said:

There is a big wave of video coming online and these (media) guys want to work with us to stay relevant in this changing marketplace.This trend in the Internet isn't changing, so we are working with them to find solutions on how they can embrace what we are doing and really leverage that to help their business.

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