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While NBC fires hundreds of people as it struggles to find its way in the digital age and a reason to keep Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip after last night’s episode, it’s using youth magnet, hipness arbiter and middle-of-the-night hole dweller Carson Daly to dangle thousand dollar bills in front of creative kids in hopes of packaging the new wave of viral video geniuses into the America’s Funniest Home Videos of the digital age.
Daly is making noise about a video competition that NBC’s been quietly sponsoring in recent weeks. It’s Your Show TV urges viewers to submit short, tailor-made videos– the type of stuff we’re already putting on sites like YouTube– through the end of November. NBC is offering a cash prize of $1,000 for each of 18 challenges. At the end of the contest, the top 20 winners in each challenge get to compete for $100,000 and the opportunity to have their video shown on NBC.Daly says the idea is his, and that he hopes to showcase many of the videos, not just the big money winner, in an NBC special he would host. “User-generated content seems to have been everywhere,” he says. “What we’re doing is creating a site that offers a little more focus. And also paying people, because everybody’s making these videos but nobody’s getting paid.
“You could potentially launch your own career!”
Ah, but getting paid! Of course there’s a catch, even if your video don’t get chosen, and you don’t get paid. You’ve got to read through the the “terms of submission,” the part most folks “agree” to without reading: “By sending NBC your Submission… you are granting NBC… the perpetual and irrevocable, non-exclusive right…to exhibit and exploit, and sell, license, assign and otherwise… in any and all media… all without further notice to, consent from or payment to you. You waive any and all “moral rights”…”
Standard, yes, but it means that NBC gets to pick and choose from the best and brightest ideas. It could find its next hit for a thousand bucks! Then it won’t have to spend us much to copy shows from the BBC.
Last summer, Daly recruited YouTube user Brooke Brodack, known as “Brookers,” to create and star in videos for TV and the Web. As expected, he said he doesn’t think the intrusion of big media NBC will be a virus in the viral world.
“That’s everybody’s knee-jerk reaction,” Daly says. “NBC, if anything, is offering the viral community an incredible opportunity to A, earn money, and B, get their 15 minutes of fame. They recognize that viewers exist in a multiplatform universe now. They’re not just sitting in their living room watching TV on the big screen.”
Meanwhile, Internet action is paying off for someone at CBS. Highlights from Inturn, the 24-episode online series that ran on the CBS Innertube broadband channel, will air on the CBS network on Nov, 24, in a one-hour special. It’s the first time CBS will air a show created exclusively for the Web. Inturn followed the struggles of eight actors competing for a part on the CBS soap As the World Turns. That’s called synergy.
And Fox will debut the fourth-season premiere of The O.C. online starting Thursday, a week before its broadcast airing on Nov. 2. Find it on MySpace.com and the MyFoxLocal Web sites.