"Super Bowl numbers on an internet show" Seinfeld on branded entertainment

Jerry Seinfeld called youtube a "giant garbage can", according to the Hollywood Reporter, when he spoke at Crackle's Upfront in NYC on Tuesday, making it very clear that he wasn't interested in thousands of re-uploads of kitten videos, shaky baby-cams & vloggers news shows. It's best to leave entertainment to the professionals, he thinks.

"The less the better," Seinfeld said when asked about less-professional content. "I don't want to see this crap. We have a giant garbage can called YouTube for user-generated content. We're trying to generate a little higher level. I think showbusiness is for talent, that's who should be in it. But let's keep it in its hierarchy. And I like being at the top of the pyramid."

He makes for a very interesting point further down in the article, when he speaks of his show which now runs on Crackle:

Seinfeld said Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, in which he does exactly what the title implies, with stars like Tina Fey and his old buddies Larry David and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, reached 100 million viewers this month. "[People don't] expect quality programming [online], and we feel like we're ahead of a lot of places," he said. "You can be in the same world as cat videos and still deliver a great demo for the advertiser. Acura is pretty excited because they get Super Bowl numbers on an internet show."

That's the key right there, branded entertainment in many forms has existed since the dawn of soap operas, the Texaco Theatre radio hour, and the Michelin Guide to road trip food tour guide. It's only to be expected that it will continue to grow on the web as well. But do you, as a brand, want to be seen after pre-roll ads, next to countless remixes of blurry kitten videos? Do you want to be seen as the pre-roll, on someones gazillionth reupload of "kitten vs a scary thing". I've been saying this for years, the html web was a bit like the dawn of cable. Local scrappy channels with unbridled creativity and no professional experience soon evolved into giant brands, and I wondered from the start why already established Ad agencies didn't want to won their own channel. Why pay others to show your clients work, why have so many middle-men as you turn into a date-maker between the content creators and the brands? As Crackle becomes more like traditional TV running a constant stream of content already next month, you should be paying attention. Acura got in early with "Comedians In Cars...", a wise move that I'm sure is paying off.

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