Monday, December 11, 2006

Ready for Online?

As an interesting sign of how well Hollywood is adopting an online presence for it's content, CBS has said it is filtering the public comments that are posted around it's content on YouTube to avoid “profane, unconstructive criticism, and off-topic political vitriol”. Apparently CBS has requested that YouTube re-design the layout of it's CBS page by placing posted comments from users on another page instead of underneath the video as it does with other hosted content.

“We just want to make sure the front page is a little bit cleaner,” said Quincy Smith, president of CBS Interactive, adding that comments containing certain profanities are caught by an automatic filter, while the remaining comments are then vetted by someone who works at CBS or YouTube and moved to the separate page. “We thought it was a better user experience, and it gives us a second to weed out the completely unuseful comments.”

The CBS/YouTube deal has so far had positive results for the network. According to an announcement the companies made last month, CBS videos were among some of the most-viewed content on YouTube during the first month of partnership. CBS is using YouTube as a litmus test for how popular their content would be online, which would make user's comments not all together a bad thing. Mr. Smith added that "CBS was trying to provide the best possible interactive experience for the viewers, noting that many YouTube users’ critical comments are passed around the network."

It seems the love-hate relationship Hollywood has with the online video marketplace goes all the way down to the actual comments that users post about the content. The questions still remain: Will Hollywood conform to web culture? Will web culture embrace Hollywood content the same way it does UGC? I believe these minute details, such as user's comments, will add up to determine the success of HollyWeb. What is for certain is that if the M&E's go too far in restricting the interaction that people enjoy in today's online platform, they will see their popularity diminish for being unable to fully embrace the independent nature of the web experience.

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