But Tuesday, NBC publicly reversed course with a deal to become the first major network to partner with the burgeoning YouTube.
The agreement calls for NBC to create an "NBC Channel" on YouTube to promote shows including "Saturday Night Live," "The Office," and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."
New NBC content will be uploaded weekly, and the network will also host a competition for user-generated content, inviting YouTube users to submit their own 20-second spots for "The Office." In yet another twist of old and new media platforms, NBC will broadcast promotions for the contest on air, and will also air the winning submission during an episode of the show in August. NBC is providing signature graphics and music from "The Office" for the contest. For its part, YouTube will promote NBC's content throughout the site.
YouTube has been advocating such a deal since at least December 2005, when the two media companies collided head-on over the posting of a popular "SNL" spoof rap, "Lazy Sunday," on YouTube in violation of NBC's copyright.
Julie Supan, senior director of marketing at YouTube, told OMMA magazine earlier this year that the company tried to head off the earlier conflict, approaching NBC in late December about a possible partnership, but didn't hear back until NBC's legal warning arrived in February. YouTube immediately removed "Lazy Sunday," Supan said.