The 2013 Grammy Awards were definitely among the top trending water cooler topics this past Monday. From Kelly Clarkson’s acceptance speech, to Taylor Swift’s odd ringmaster performance, to LL Cool J’s shameless Twitter promotion, many of these moments are worth re-watching. However, your search may leave you a little more than frustrated when you head to the hosting channel’s website, CBS.com. CBS’ library of videos from the event is sparse, to say the least. All it takes is a few clicks to navigate through the site’s entire selection, and most of the videos are backstage interviews with the artists. But you’ll have an entirely different experience at Grammy.com. Grammy.com has the same videos as CBS, and much more: a large video library of unique Grammy experiences, including Grammys on the Road, Grammy’s Re-Imagined, Five Questions With…, and even acceptance speeches and private performances and interviews. I wasn’t able to watch Taylor Swift, but I was able to find Kelly Clarkson’s bubbly acceptance speech, and I had quite a variety of other videos to choose from. But this got me thinking. Why couldn’t I access all of Grammy.com’s videos at CBS.com?
Why sharing makes sense
Music rights aside (which I address later), why hide all of the good videos on Grammy.com? Wouldn’t it make sense to share with CBS.com, since they have a larger audience of regular returning visitors and were front and center during the entire event? The audiences watching the live stream on Grammy.com certainly couldn’t beat the 28.4 million CBS pulled (the highest viewership of any broadcast network during the week). Even with Grammy.com’s marketing messages during the event, the first place audiences are likely to head for Grammy-related content after the event is going to be CBS. Yes, by having more of the videos on Grammy.com, the show’s producers get more of the initial online ad revenue (from the SAME Microsoft advertising running over and over and over), but this seems short-sighted. With audiences returning to CBS.com for Grammy-related content, the Grammy’s should have tapped into these audiences and offered as much content as possible on both sites. I did notice that Grammy clips are searchable on VEVO – and I commend that. I just don’t feel as though VEVO is enough. Whether through ad revenue potential or branding exposure, the Grammy Awards benefit wherever audiences would and will consume Grammy content.
There’s still not enough content
Beyond the discrepancy of content between the two sites, I have an even bigger bone to pick. Firstly, even between these two sites, there just aren’t enough Grammy-related videos. Yes, “Five Questions With…” the performers is interesting, and maybe there’s a flub in one of the acceptance speeches that audiences will want to re-watch, but most audiences probably watch the Grammys for the live performances. These performances can’t be found on Grammy.com or CBS.com. Sure, performance, broadcast, and music rights could likely be coming into play, but we should begin to move beyond these limiting constraints for the sake of the audience. People don’t want to just watch a bunch of acceptance speeches. But, that’s the majority of what CBS.com and Grammy.com are offering. If broadcasting the full recording of the event was tricky due to rights and advertising rules, clips of performances would help fill in the gaps. And if content is about revenue anyway, why not make this content accessible so that the new impressions can be filled with advertisers crying out for quality inventory?
Someone else will post it anyway
If you don’t put content everywhere, the audience will find a way to post it up themselves. Here’s a simple example of why limiting access is a problem. This video posted by “Finditonyt,” of Frank Ocean’s much-talked about performance was running on YouTube for several days, and was only just taken down for copyright infringement as I write this (I literally had just searched for it, found it, watched it, and linkedin in this article minutes before). And this isn’t just happening on YouTube. On Rihanna’s official fan site RihannaDaily.com, there’s a video player from Dailymotion, with pre-roll ads, but the content is a performance uploaded by MrWorldPremiere.net. Unless this Mister works at CBS, Grammy, or Def Jam, it doesn’t look like this video is rights cleared. Maybe Dailymotion should pay up some money for that revenue they just earned. Besides monetization, user experience hurts badly when videos on this site have embed codes that end up being deactivated (likely for copyright issues), such as this Vimeo player that warns “Sorry. This video does not exist.” Even on Rihanna’s own site Rihannanow.com, there’s an announcement for her Grammy win, and a link to watch a video, but it’s not her performance from the show, it’s just a music video on VEVO.
I can understand Grammy.com or CBS holding back on content so that users who DVR recordings are still counted in Nielsen’s C3 (and maybe C7) ratings. But, it’s already been more than 3 days. Where is all the content? In addition to Grammy.com, CBS, and VEVO, Grammy content should be everywhere – the properties of the broadcaster, producers and rights owners, record labels, artists and more, and yes, even on MrWorldPremiere.net (let’s just clear the rights for him first). Media companies, producers, publishers, and advertisers alike have a big opportunity in front of them. Maybe it’s a logistical problem or maybe it’s a rights problem that needs to be overcome, but nobody is winning the way things are now, especially the audience.