Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mixed opinions on NHL/You Tube alliance

The move from the NHL to let the You Tube Internet video portal have access to its copyright materials is drawing mixed reactions among the observers of the media universe.

The NHL signed a deal with You Tube on Wednesday to market clips of their games, hoping to draw on the video service's youngish demographics to bring new fans to the game in the USA. The plan is to provide clips for the service by at least 24 hours of a games completion and they will share in any revenues provided by ads placed alongside the video material.

Media observers suggest that the it's doubtful that the NHL will make great piles of money from the plan, instead viewing the move as purely a PR exercise to try and get the NHL message out to a hard to peg down audience.

The NHL move seems to go against the grain of the other sports leagues in the US, the NFL, Major League Baseball and NBA have all in the past asked that You Tube remove their product from the website, all part of the protection of their copyright materials. In fact, Major League Baseball has created its own Internet portal that they use to attract and retain fans, on a subscription basis.

For the NHL it's the second trip into the brave new world of the Internet in as many weeks, they recently signed a deal with Google video (who have since purchased You Tube) to archive current and historical NHL action on the Google servers. Which has proven to be a popular feature with NHL fans.

It will be interesting to watch and see how the You Tube/NHL relationship works out, there's no shortage of material on the portal, everything from love struck teenagers professing their love to juvenile stunt videos and less than successful attempts at humour.

Though you can't hold You Tube accountable for that, there have been more than a few hockey broadcasts with similarly inclined attempts at humour and those folks get paid for their troubles. Maybe by going the You Tube route, we're just avoiding the middle men.

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