Zuckerism: “YouTube Built on the Back of SNL”

You have to remember that YouTube was really built on the back of one of our videos,” said Jeff Zucker to WSJ’s Kara Swisher. “Lazy Sunday from “Saturday Night Live” really is what built a lot of the value of YouTube.”

zucker the cavemanZucker,  president and chief executive of General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal, also oversees NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, cable networks USA, the Sci-Fi Channel, MSNBC and others, movie studios and theme parks.

Other great Zuckerisms (mixed with some timeless technology quotes):

  • “Television is still paramount.”
  • “Whether we watch, consume content on a phone or online or wherever, the content first appears almost all the time on television.”
  • “There is no need for any individual to have a computer in their home” (okay, that one is actually Ken Olson, DEC Electronics).
  • “We’re in this transition period of figuring out how to deal with all the new technology that is out there, but television still proves to be the granddaddy of them all.”
  • “The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.” (alright that was Sir William Preece of the British Post Office).
  • “Advertisers have been clear. They don’t want their ads next to those cats on skateboards. That’s been the problem for YouTube in terms of generating revenue.”
  • “I think we’ve been actually ahead of most advertisers and most agencies.”
  • “The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C’, the idea must be feasible.” mkay that was from a Yale University management professor responding to FedEx founder Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service.

Now you try! What quote would you have written Zucker to help ensure he goes as viral as skateboarding cats?

20 Replies to “Zuckerism: “YouTube Built on the Back of SNL””

  1. Another good quote from him: “Hi, I’m Jeff Zucker. I have no fucking clue what I am talking about and my network is in dead last. Wow, I just stepped in a puddle that was smarter than me.”

  2. “There’s absolutely no reason why what’s worked in media and advertising in the past shouldn’t continue to work in the future. It’s sticking to old, tried-and-true ideas that REALLY elicits progress.”

  3. But you know, I’m not going to lie. Lazy Sunday did a lot for YouTube. Not enough to be called the backbone, but a lot. SNL and its various contemporaries is probably a great deal of why people even came up with the idea of YouTube in the first place. There may have been middlemen – Tom Green, his drastically different ideas of what entertainment was and who was allowed to make it & the ensuing reality movement, the audience that would make vlogging popular – but the fact remains that people have always had things in them they wanted to share, YouTube became that.

    But NBC bit the hand that feeds first, let us not forget. It’s called Hulu. They shouldn’t be crediting themselves for something they ripped off (or adapted to their needs, depending on the serverity of your tone, I actually prefer the latter as I do enjoy Hulu).

    YouTube was going to be the game changer all along. Whether Andy Samberg drew his paycheck from NBC or the YT partner program, it was going to happen anyway.

  4. “Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn’t have in your home.” David Frost

  5. Uhh, you missed his quote about only keep 4 episodes on Hulu because that’s what’s “best” for consumers. I can’t believe that he actually thinks that some SNL clip all of a sudden made YouTube popular. It obviously had nothing to do with millions of people posting content that they’re friends really wants to see.

  6. @11 you’re correct, I think what he meant to say was, ‘I didn’t know the internet existed until someone posted a few SNL clips on that You Tube thing; and that was after 500 e-mails before I bothered to visited the site, I think it was some time late 2008.’

    if there was any TV show that pushed You Tubes numbers up it was South Park and the Daily Show. Stupid was VIACOM for not monetizing on that choosing rather to crush creativity and shoot for the greed by suing and making everyone hate them and wanting to change the copyright laws, which will eventually happen. Inflexibility always gauentees a bad rap.

    Lawyers at the bottom of the sea is a good start has always been a warning to anyone who employs them. Your neighbor’s leaves may be a bother, but calling a lawyer to stop them from falling naturally only adds to the destruction of civilized society and like a banker’s fees the only ones who make out and get rich are the lawyers.

    I like having the day off how bout you?

  7. Whoa! Lots of aggression here towards traditional media.

    I’m no fan of Jeff Zucker, but I think you guys in the tiny (but long-tailed) niche of UGC are kidding yourselves if you don’t recognize the impact Andy Samberg and then FunnyOrDie has had on online video.

    @12 At the huge video sharing site that I worked at, it was Family Guy clips that brought the big audiences and they were left up a long time before the “requests for takedown” started coming in.

    YouTube existed before LazySunday, but Samberg et al legitimized the medium by bringing must-see, short-form content to computer screens.

  8. @13 this is what “traditional media” has planned

    and the evidence is building
    Soon, you’ll have to pay for Hulu

    I say, Andy Samberg is a blip (2M in 2Ys, hardly viral), FunnyOrDie will never outpace You Tube and it’s just not that funny.

    And if any one legitimizes the medium it was Ze Frank.
    Least give credit where credit is due.

    What video sharing site did you work for?
    I dispute your Peter Griffin over Eric Cartman 2006/7.

    The California Israel Chamber of Commerce? Really? heh

  9. on to hulu – I won’t go there anymore if they take this path – someone else will eventually host the programming or better and I guarantee bit-torrent downloads will increase once again. Then there’s China and the public library.

    hulu is getting revenue from regular commercials; having ads before a movie or in-between, it’s more than enough, but rather than build a solid loyal audience to keep the creativity and revenues flowing hulu is choosing to get greedy. Shame.

    Hey Hulu, it’s entertainment not education, housing, food or health care. I don’t know if you guys noticed, but at the onset of this economic crisis the first thing people cut was their entertainment budget. Rather than being nickeled and dimed most folks are now saving their nickels and dimes. Once this habit takes hold well… take a good look and read up on the children of depression.

    Now if you want to create a hulu HBO, that’s a little different, but then HBO could just create a full Internet HBO programming. In this technological new age the middleman is gonna have to provide a lot more than just the middle.

    The only thing hulu has over joost, besides GE’s money, is their interface and star studded ad campaign. Content varies.

    And frankly, I’d rather watch Peter Coffin, Zack Scott, Nalts and even sukatra over the A-Team or Fact O Life.

    I didn’t forget you marquis, your videos will always be a youtubes reality cult classic

  10. I am a much bigger fan of Family Guy than South Park, but neither one brought me initially to YouTube. Lazy Sunday didn’t either. I can’t remember what DID bring me to YouTube the first time, but I can almost guarantee that it was an amateur video.

  11. @16 The first you tube video I saw was round may/june 2006, it’s now sadly gone. it was amateur, 1 min, black and white, I bet I played it 100 times (at least) and sent it to everyone I knew, it was very special because not only did I enjoy this video I saw the potential this medium had and could provide. I’m certain everyone who reads this and participates has as well, but it was NK5000 that actually put me over the edge, made me sign up and give it whirl

    I know one thing, TV can not create that kind of content or experience. Though I haven’t achieved the acclimates many people out there have already acquired, yet, I’m just biding my time and waiting patiently for y’all to catch up 😉

    I believe everyone has an audience, it’s only a matter of finding them.

  12. correction – been reminded, first you tube video Jan/2006, specifically January 17, 2006 – which makes more sense I guess. boy oh boy the web and ‘some people’ just never forget! Isn’t too soon to start reminiscing?

  13. @14 It would be inappropriate for me to mention which site I worked for, but we paid out over a million bucks for UGC to people like Kevin and I know exactly what clips were being linked to, searched and watched.

    As with YouTube, an overwhelming majority of traffic to our site came from search engines and I promise you no one was searching for UGC. It was all about balls and bloopers and bikinis. Every time something like Lazy Sunday or Zinedine Zidane’s head butt hit the news, traffic spiked. Some of that audience stuck around to watch smart alecky UGC. Most really didn’t care.

    UGC didn’t create the audience, it was just there to fill in the gaps until the next viral sensation for an audience that is mostly too lazy to go elsewhere. I love that you guys think the online video audience is so much more discerning and intelligent about its choices than, say, a TV audience. Newsflash: it isn’t. More breaking news: it’s actually the same audience… only much much smaller.

    Don’t misunderstand me, I have mad love for zefrank, Michael Buckley and Nalts. I think those guys have risen because they’re super talented but they’re not culturally significant…yet. Samberg is, FunnyOrDie is, Buckley might be one day.

  14. @19: Sad to say, but I agree. I mention Nalts to any of my friends, and they are clueless. But talk about “American Idol” and they are all over it. I personally don’t see the allure of “Idol”, but to each his own.

    My biggest problem with TV is that everything I like dies, simply because my tastes tend towards the quirky, the spooky and the unusual. “Pushing Daisies” was a favorite of mine that is long gone, because most people didn’t “get it”. The only reason “The X-Files” lasted as long as it did is because Fox was in its infancy when the show first aired and needed whatever shows it could get to fill its schedule. As a result, “The X-Files” lasted long enough to find an audience.

    But I digress.

    While I love online video, I really don’t see it reaching the audience that TV has, unless the technology changes (and it certainly has the potential to) so that everyone’s TV is also connected to the Internet. TV is just too easy for the lazy.

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