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YouTubes / Beeb / Crazy: this week's PR Business column

It's been an insanely busy week this week, expect catch up posts over  the next couple of days, but int he meantime here's this week's column from PR Business magazine, with links:

YouTube: TV ad love-in or DIY Watchdog

PRs checking up on their clients' reputation online are urgently adding YouTube to their list of must-search websites.

A favourite of office slackers and new media revolutionaries everywhere, YouTube is a video-sharing website that has shot to prominence in the past few months. The firm took pre-emptive action last week to head off attacks from TV networks and Hollywood studios by limiting videos it hosts to no more than ten minutes. It hopes this will stop people posting pirated copies of TV shows and movies on the site.

Following the rule that on the internet good content will out, brands have found the site turning into a global popularity contest for their best TV advertising efforts. According to YouTube's chart, the Sony Bravia ad has had well over two million viewings by YouTubers, while Volkswagen's "Unpimp Your Ride" series of ads is also racking up millions of downloads.

But there's more to concern brands about the YouTube phenomenon than potential intellectual property infringements and free advertising.

Sitting alongside some ads are sometimes less than flattering spoof versions, which can be almost as popular as the originals among visitors to the site. See the Australian Tourist Commission's "Where the bloody hell are you?" campaign - or just search for "commercial spoof" - on YouTube for some examples.

Search deeper and you will find anything that people visiting the site have "tagged" with a given brand name.

Enterprising YouTubers have secretly filmed poor customer service at fast food joints* and even created snappy multimedia presentations describing their ire at holiday firms and posted them to the site.

There is no bounds to the creativity of people or the ire of a spurned customer - combine the two and you can have a headache…

BBC Global

Already one of the most referenced sites on the web, the BBC has decided to launch a global version of its website which will contain ads.  The BBC's new media division is experimenting with new ways of making programmes available over the web, and has already made almost 50 of its radio shows available as podcasts.

The announcement follows hot on the heels of the announcement by the its director of new media and technology, Ashley Highfield, that the Beeb would "completely redesign" the website "for a web 2.0 world". It will be interesting to what new delights the Beeb service up online, but for a sneak preview have a look at their Backstage and Innovation Labs websites.


Big online music news this week: Gnarls Barkley became the first artist to reach number one in the UK singles chart based on purchased downloads alone. The tune hit number one with 31,000 downloads of the track Crazy, most presumably from iTunes, which has by far the latest market share.

While much was made of the feat in the media, the story no record industry PR wanted to see out there was how many copies of the song were illegally downloaded. But the BBC made no secret of its pleasure at having broken the track [on Radio One] - perhaps keen to show that it's not only myspace.com that sets trends - and presenters reminded listeners that they heard it there first at a ratio of four times for every time the track was played over the weekend - which was a lot.

Rumours abound that its over-play has led to the track being banned from the sound system in some trend-setting PR agencies.

* See also this McDonalds after-hours dance off video - hilarious, and probably not that brand-damaging.


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I watched the Channel 4 music news/chat show, Popworld, this morning. I really like the show (it is possibly the one stand-out music show on UK television) but I haven't seen it much since it was switched to Saturday mornings. [Read More]


I experienced mixed emotions catching up on my feeds today... first I read your timely post about youtube: some of us in our office have been enjoying Youtube's vids for a few months thanks to Popbitch.

Only last night I was thinking of ways to exploit the website for a friend's band and some of my clients. Reading your post made me pleased to be up to speed.

But then I read Tom Murphy's post about Bebo.... I've never even head of it. I check out the website and feel lost (and equally as old) and out of touch - I'm only 26 for god's sake!

Perhaps I should get out more....

or perhaps

Bebo scares me so much I haven't written about it. Luckily I have 15-year-old brother who is able to give me news of what gives in the land of yoot.

Filming a poor customer service at a fast food joint? I hope they improved their services.

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