Picking Hits, and the Trouble with NewTube

After I went off air from my CNBC spot today talking about NewTube — the News Corp & NBC YouTube-alike — I came up with another reason why I think the service is no real threat to YouTube. (It may be a threat to iTunes, but that’s a different discussion.)

The gist:

  1. Networks and cablecos are shitty at picking hits. Most new programs flop, and that has only gotten worse in recent years as audiences have shrunk and fragmented.
  2. Two media companies (NBC and News Corp) now propose to take what they demonstrably can’t do offline — pick hits — and go online and somehow succeed. They are saying, after all, they’ll dictate which clips and programs will be available for viewing. (And they’ve also saying they’ll keep off entirely whatever programs, like American Idol, that they want to.)

That is, of course, nutty. One central reason why YouTube emerged was that viewers were tired of network/cableco programming choices, and YouTube allowed people to contribute content, as well as reprogram the media their own way. We wanted to microchunk content, grab that idiosyncratically interesting 30-second segment, and share that with friends and like-minded sorts.

If NBC/News demonstrably can’t pass muster picking full content, why in the world is it not obviously a failing proposition for them to propose doing that in the even narrower, more eclectic and individualized world of microchunked content?


  1. NewTube -> Clown Co
    I think the name fits well.

  2. One wonders when the content companies will figure out that they are not in the distribution business and that others can do it much better. I presume there comes a breaking point when they all kind of agree they can’t fight this anymore. 5 years from now? 10 years from now?