So Tina Fey’s brilliant Saturday Night Live impression of Sarah Palin wound up getting shared on YouTube by everyone from major media outlets to Facebook friends.
Until of course, NBC made them take it down so that we'd all watch the Hulu version featured above.
But new YouTube versions keep springing up. This one, which may be down by the time you read this post, has over 759,000 views. So the question is why? Why are people watching it on YouTube when there's an official NBC version whose quality is about a thousand times better? Did YouTube initially trump the NBC version because it got better search results and people kept linking to it? Because it was up first? Because people remember how much the networks hate sharing any of their precious clips and decided that an official NBC site was the last place they should look? Or do they just not want to sit through 15 seconds of pre-roll commercial for the chance to get a more high quality video?
There's no way to really know, but any combination of the above sounds like a logical answer. The ultimate takeaway, however, being that there’s no point in trying to stop popular culture from being shared without your consent. The best you can do is make it easy for them.
What’s more, NBC missed a possible cross-sell opportunity here, giving people the chance to pay to download the entire episode once they’d watched the (free) clip. You know, something as simple as posting a comment on the YouTube sites to the effect of “Haven’t watched SNL in a while? Find out what you’ve been missing.” With a link to iTunes or Amazon. Or even simpler: "Watch the HD version of the same clip over at Hulu.com"
Maybe next time…