YouTube: The hits just keep on coming

Just yesterday, it was Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that signed a deal with YouTube, allowing the video site to run full-length versions of movies (although the initial selection was somewhat less than stellar). Today, the site announced a deal with Freemantle Productions, the creators of the American Idol reality-show franchise, that will see the production company create a channel for all of its existing shows, but also a new channel for exclusive content that it will create specifically for YouTube.

Soon, YouTube will be carrying ad-supported TV shows from CBS, clips from LionsGate movies with pre-rolls and post-rolls, full-length movies from MGM and exclusive content from one of the world’s leading reality-show producers. Not bad for a site that started with video clips of funny cats and skateboard pratfalls, and is still considered by some to be a kind of trailer-park ghetto of video (yes, Mark Cuban, we’re looking at you). With Hulu.com adding plenty of mainstream content too, the competition in online video definitely seems to be heating up.

TV 2.0: Revision3 cancels some shows

Just found out via Adam Ostrow at Mashable that Revision3 — the Web TV venture from the Digg boys, Kevin Rose and Jay Adelson — has laid off several people and shut down the filming of a few shows, including Internet Superstar with Martin Sargent and PopSiren with Sarah Lane. Interestingly enough, the hosts of both shows used to work on G4 and TechTV, the shows that Kevin Rose got his start on as a fresh-faced young geek (okay, he’s still a fresh-faced young geek, but you get my point). Sarah Lane is also the director of production for Revision3, according to her bio. There have been other executive layoffs as well apparently.

In what has to be a bandwidth cost-related move, Revision3 is also stopping distribution of two shows, including social-media guru Gary Vaynerchuk’s popular Wine Library. In a blog post about the moves, CEO Jim Louderback says that PopSiren and Internet Superstar “had great promise, but never really found their audience.” The company is also stopping production of a long-running show called Pixel Perfect, which was apparently an instructional program about using Photoshop. Some of the shutdowns have predictably had spinoff effects, as Liz Gannes describes at NewTeeVee.

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The brains behind The Daily Show

Maybe everyone knows by now, but a piece in Women’s Wear Daily (I know, I know — but they have good New York media coverage) was the first mention I had come across about Adam Chodikoff, the 37-year-old researcher who provides most of the facts that underpin John Stewart’s barbed witticisms about the news on The Daily Show, and who helps come up with those video clips that refute what guests in the hot seat are saying. What’s particularly interesting is that Chodikoff has little or no interest in Google searches, Wikipedia entries, blog posts or anything like that.

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SNL to get website — what took so long?

According to a report at Broadcasting & Cable, the tall foreheads at Saturday Night Live — including Canadian-born creator Lorne “Dr. Evil” Michaels — are in talks with NBC about setting up a standalone site for the show, one that would feature clips as well as out-takes, video of rehearsals and so on. This seems like such a no-brainer that it’s hard to understand why it hasn’t happened already. There are clips on Hulu (which I would embed here, if it weren’t for the fact that they aren’t available outside of the U.S.), but the show could be doing so much more with its content.

Apparently the audience that Tina Fey’s impersonation of vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has been drawing has caused more than a few jaws to drop at NBC. According to MediaPost, clips of Fey doing her thing have pulled in twice as many viewers as watched the originals on NBC, which according to a comment from TVbythenumbers at Silicon Alley Insider is almost unheard of. Obviously, those numbers are getting a boost from the election and the heightened awareness of the topic, but there’s also a feedback loop effect that SNL is benefiting from.

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CBS: Caught between a rock and… another rock

Unless you’ve been in a coma or backpacking through Mongolia recently, you’ve probably already seen the clip from Late Night with David Letterman, in which the host of said show 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 that he had to fly back to Washington because of the banking crisis, but instead showed up on TV doing an interview with Katie Couric. It was classic Letterman, and it was clear that the talk-show host wasn’t just having a laugh — McCain’s behaviour in suspending his campaign seemed to really irk Dave.

That clip has been watched more than 3 million times on YouTube, which is a big plus for the network. Except that the video that’s getting all of the views wasn’t uploaded by CBS — or was it? As Michael Learmonth describes in a piece for Advertising Age, the clip was uploaded by a user named 1970oaktree, and doesn’t have any CBS pre-roll advertising or anything like that. It also wasn’t uploaded to the official CBS channel. But 1970oaktree has only been a member of YouTube for about a week, and the Letterman video is the only thing he or she has ever uploaded.

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