NBC “Unpulls” YouTube Clips

May 20, 2008

Back in October, NBC took its popular, officially-sanctioned clips off YouTube in favor of their coming Hulu. I (and many others) derided the decision:

[I]s it really wise to pull your content from the most popular video site online to put it on your own untested, unproven and apparently behind-schedule video site? On the Internet, you have to go where the people are—it’s not an ‘if you build it, they will come’ world anymore.

So good luck with this one, NBC.

In the interim, it seems that Hulu has not only launched, but actually received some decent reviews over time. Of course, decent reviews do not a YouTube killer make, and NBC is rethinking its October decision. The LA Times appears to have been the first to spot the YouTube Hulu channel, likening the effort to “ABC taking out an ad for itself during CBS’ prime time. Or the Dodgers setting up a merchandise booth at AT&T Park. Or no, how about Coke adding themselves to Pepsi’s Wikipedia entry.”

I’m definitely not going to go that far. Hulu has had content deals with everyone from AOL to MSN, and this is just another one. While it may not bring in the advertising dollars that their own portal or other partnerships do, I’m sure the YouTube channel brings in by far the most eyeballs.

No, I’m going to have to agree more with Techdirt:

While Hulu surprised many critics with a well-designed site, it appears that Hulu hasn’t been able to generate the type of traffic executives expected. So, despite it being a YouTube competitor, Hulu has tucked its tail between its legs and set up its own channel on YouTube. Apparently, the “build it and they will come” philosophy of NBC Universal’s execs didn’t work quite as well as planned.

I’m not going to say I told you so, but really, truly, in those exact words, I did.. But what do you think—is this a major concession for NBC or a mark that they’re finally accepting reality?

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