Meme in a Box

By Deane Barker on December 21, 2006

NBC – Saturday Night Live – Special Treat in a Box: If you watch Saturday Night Live, you probably noticed that they finally matched Lazy Sunday this weekend with another Digital Short that — I’m embarrassed to admit — had me rolling on the floor laughing.

The short had a word bleeped out on TV, but in an interesting move, NBC officially posted the uncensored version to YouTube right after SNL signed off Sunday morning (it’s been viewed 2.6 million times, as of this writing). The New York Times has an interesting bit on the decision process NBC went through and how they think Internet viewers are different than TV viewers.

“Those people who go on the Internet will not be shocked by this,” Mr. Ludwin recalled thinking. “Obviously there are some people who will be offended. Those people are probably unlikely to go searching for it on the Internet. It’s just funny.”

What he’s trying to say is that TV happens to you, whereas the Internet is something you make happen.

Will this change with DVRs? With my DVR, I feel like I make TV happen more and more. This being the case, are we going to see standards get loosened up as we can control the TV environment more and more?

Still, the material was touchy enough, Mr. Ludwin said, that he sought final approval for the Web version of the video from the highest echelons of NBC, including Kevin Reilly, the president of NBC Entertainment , and Jeff Zucker, chief executive of NBC Universal Television Group. Both approved the idea, he said. Another executive suggested that a disclaimer be placed before the Web-only version of the video that warned of its explicit content, a proposal that was immediately accepted.

Another interesting shift: last year, Lazy Sunday was officially provided to iTunes (albeit free). This one went officially to YouTube.