Movie Studios Pulling YouTube Videos is Asinine

I just don’t get it. Movie executives must have all gathered in a room and declared, “If there’s anything on YouTube that may entice people to go to the theater or buy our movies, we should make sure to pull those down.”

It started with random wanderings through some social media site when I noticed Cinema’s 10 Best One-Man Wrecking Machines. I love lists. I love movies. Sounds like fun.

There was a video embedded that I wanted to see. Pumped, I clicked play.

Copyright_YouTubeIn all, 3 of the 10 videos had been removed.  While I understand that fighting online piracy is important and I am one of the minority who does not support illegal downloads, YouTube is a different beast. People will spend more time watching videos online than checking emails in 2009. We like videos. We like previews. We like to see clips.

For movie studios, it’s advertising. Free advertising. In my situation, I would have probably been pumped up enough about the fight scene in Serenity to go out and rent or purchase this obscure (but strangely awesome) sci-fi film.  Instead, I’m annoyed.

For someone who hadn’t seen the movie before who saw it ranked in there with The Matrix, Gladiator, and Kill Bill, perhaps they would have watched the video and chosen to buy it.  Now, they can’t, at least not as a result of that particular article.

Recently the Alice in Wonderland Trailer hit YouTube. Disney deleted it. Are you kidding me? Were they embarrassed? Is it that bad that they wouldn’t want to take advantage of the tremendous buzz that it was getting? These types of actions make me weep for an industry that does not seem to understand what to fight and what to promote.

Leaving the videos up would have allowed millions of people to potentially get excited about it. Traditional buzz is great, but anyone who believes that traditional buzz is hampered by social media buzz just can’t see past 1998.

If it were me running the marketing for a movie, I would want every single stinkin’ eyeball imaginable to be watching every single stinkin’ clip available via YouTube, blogs, and other sites. If people made a mashup of it, I’d help promote them. If the trailer leaked, I’d push it. Heck, I would probably leak the trailer myself. YouTube can be shared. When you see a trailer on television, you can’t call your buddy and say, “Watch TV until the trailer for Alice in Wonderland comes on again!”

You can, however, tweet a link to the YouTube or blog post about the trailer to hundreds, thousands, even millions of people.

You can email it, IM it, blog about it, embed it, whatever.

I have a friend who runs a movie blog who will not post videos from certain movie studios because he’s been burnt too many times with copyright yanks.

Movie execs, if any of you are reading this (it’s the Internet, I know, so chances are slim that you are), please think about it. It’s a no-brainer.

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JD Rucker

+JD Rucker is Editor at Soshable, a Social Media Marketing Blog. He is a Christian, a husband, a father, and founder of Dealer Authority. He drinks a lot of coffee, usually in the form of a 5-shot espresso over ice. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

4 thoughts on “Movie Studios Pulling YouTube Videos is Asinine

  1. I use youtube for a range of things, for fun, to see a clip from a film or to find out how to use certain types of software. So what if a clip or two is put on youtube? as you say, it helps promote the film. and I think that music videos should all be online too… what’s the good of music if it’s not heard?

    I hate “Embedding disabled for this video” why do that? You’ve got someone out there who finds the video worth showing to others, so why make life difficult for them… and you.

    Wolfie!

  2. Absolutely. They just don’t understand that YouTube is a free advertising medium and taking advantage of every opportunity is a key to success.

  3. I would venture to guess that it’s not about not wanting people to see the clip. It’s more about control and benefiting from the views of that clip.

    The latest unseen movie leak clips are highly valuable to sites since they get to “break the story”. They can bring in tons of traffic to your site if you’re the first to get it up and ranked in Google. Studios want to keep all those eyeballs for themselves and show it exclusively on their channels (or their websites) to boost the popularity of their channel or website and establish themselves as the authoritative source for these clips.

    They spend lots of money on SuchandSuchMovie.com type sites and they want people to come to their site to see the clip. They gain valuable analytics data on visitors as well.

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