Viacom Opens Door To Complete Daily Show Library
Also accompanying the launch of the show's own site is a host of new features intended to further enmesh "Daily Show" fare into the present Web culture of mashed-up, shared, and appropriated content.
Until now, the show's online home, ComedyCentral.com, has offered viewers samplings of recently aired "Daily Show" episodes.
"We thought it was time to change the way the 'Daily Show' relates to the world by making every topic and every theme ever mentioned instantly retrievable," explained Paul Beddoe-Stephens, vice president for digital media at Comedy Central.
Many viewers, until recently, preferred watching the show's pirated clips on YouTube. That was until Viacom demanded they be removed earlier this year--along with other Viacom-owned content--and subsequently sued YouTube owner Google for $1 billion.
Beddoe-Stephens would not comment on the ongoing litigation, but a Comedy Central spokesman said there was no reason why Viacom shouldn't be compensated for its own content.
Compensating the network for the new "Daily Show" site are AT&T, Hyundai and TiVo, among other launch sponsors. According to Beddoe-Stephens, advertisers are paying a premium for placement on the site, and keeping their messages short.
"We told advertisers, 'Tell [viewers] what you're selling and let them move on," said Beddoe-Stephens. "What's the point of a 30-second ad in front of a 45-second clip?"
For that reason, TheDailyShow.com is relying heavily on video overlays, which flash a sponsor's brand message--often transparently--at the bottom of a streaming video clip for about five seconds.
Encouraging consumers to have their way with the site, its designers have built in extensive tagging, themed playlists, specialized search tools and video-sharing capabilities.
Likewise, it is offering up correspondent profile pages, embeddable video, games, downloads, and mobile content, along with one-click bookmarking and link-sharing with community-centric sites like Facebook, digg.com, del.icio.us and Fark.com.
"The real value of all this content is not its size," said Beddoe-Stephens, "it's about presenting it in an interesting way, and then letting people create connections we never could have thought of."
Viacom's copyright infringement lawsuit against Google and YouTube is expected to remain bogged down by depositions for months. Just this week, Google released content-fingerprinting technology, which it expected would resolve the entire copyright issue. Viacom, however, said it was premature to try to determine what impact the technology could have on the litigation.
The video library available to viewers is now being expanded to include the show's entire history, or more than 13,000 clips. Encouraging fans to test the site's breadth, a "Wayback Randomizer" will randomly pick and stream old clips.
Shortly, the DailyShow.com's creators plan to release detachable video playback, which will allow users to view video clips while they continue browsing the site. Also in store is a wiki for fans to compile related information on the site, user-generated playlists, and a public forum.