LETTERMAN RANT HELPS CBS MAKE PEACE WITH YOUTUBE
By MATHEW INGRAM
Thursday, October 2, 2008 Print Edition, Page R4
If you've been paying attention to the American election campaign, you may already have seen the clip from Late Show with David Letterman in which the comedian laces into Senator John McCain - not just once, but over and over - for skipping out on an appearance on the program. The presidential candidate said he had to fly back to Washington because of the banking crisis, but instead showed up on TV doing an interview with Katie Couric.
That clip has been watched more than three million times on YouTube, which is a big plus for the network. Except that the video that is getting all of the views wasn't uploaded by CBS - or was it? According to the information at YouTube, the clip was uploaded by a user named 1970oaktree, who has been a member of YouTube for only about a week. The Letterman video is the only thing he or she has ever uploaded.
So why doesn't CBS just take the video down? According to a report in Advertising Age, the uploader is actually a CBS staffer. Is this the equivalent of a band leaking their own album on the Bit Torrent peer-to-peer network? Regardless, it seems that the network has decided that it's better to have people watching the clip than not watching it, and that the publicity generated is worth it.
By now I would hope that CBS has figured out that when people want to watch video, they don't suddenly think to themselves, "Oh, that's a CBS show; I guess I should go to the CBS website." Whether the network can continue to make peace with YouTube remains to be seen.
For more details and links, please see the Ingram 2.0 blog at globetechnology.com.