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User Submitted Video Not Yet Killing The Television Star

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If you've yet to see the video of Zinedine Zidane's spectacularly inexplicable, utterly transfixing head-butt from yesterday's World Cup final (editorial aside: congratulazioni Italia!), you're part of an ever-shrinking group. At last check, the Youtube video is nearing 1 million views, replays and mashups are already all over the Internet (Deadspin has my favorite), and – oh yeah – I guess some people saw l'attaque on TV. As Huffington Post notes, the popularity of the head-butt video goes nicely with Howard Kurtz' piece today on how YouTube may be becoming a political "campaign game-changer" thanks to user uploaded videos. Writes HuffPo: "YouTube lets stuff like this go viral, reaching exponentially more people and letting them all in on the reference, which effectively flattens and broadens the common-knowledge landscape by providing easy access to information."

And speaking of Kurtz and Youtube, Ian Schwartz has video of a discussion between Kurtz, Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, Jeff Jarvis of Buzz Machine, and Molly Wood of CNET on CNN's Reliable Sources, where they talked about viral video Web sites. (What, it's not on Youtube yet?) Let's go to the transcript:

HOWARD KURTZ: So are these web sites just harmless fun or a new kind of citizen journalism in the making?…

Jeff Jarvis, 60,000 new videos every single day on YouTube. What explains the amazing popularity of these web sites?

JEFF JARVIS: Because we can, Howie. We simply can.

There's a huge opportunity for big media here. I think, with all due respect, CNN is a fool not to put this very show up on YouTube, because then it would get distributed. I would get to watch from my iPod or (inaudible) it on my blog.

When Jon Stewart came on "CROSSFIRE" on CNN to kill it -- bless his little heart -- he got 150,000 viewers on CNN at that time. The segment then went on the Internet, where I estimate it's been seen by 10 million people, all by the way, a lot younger.

KURTZ: CNN, like the other networks, is in the business of making money. Why would it want to give away for free its contest on some of these other sites?

JARVIS: So put an ad on that clip, and count the -- you can't even count it all. Fine. You're going to get a hell of a lot more with 10 million than you get with 150,000 on CNN. You will make money this way. It's a new way to distribute.

And networks aren't just wary of distributing their content on sites like YouTube. They also aren't welcoming "citizen journalists" into their broadcasts. As Broadcasting & Cable notes, networks are "Cool on Viewer News Video" in spite of the predictions made after many of them relied on amateur video in their coverage of the London subway bombing.
…a year later, none of the major TV news organizations have included citizen journalism as a major part of their newscasts. The news networks' hesitancy to embrace content from viewers on-air has less to do with concern about video authenticity than with a desire to keep a certain level of quality and control.
Some networks have made the leap, at least in a limited capacity – NBC, for example, inked a deal to have YouTube host clips of some of its series, and digital news service ABC News Now is launching a daily program featuring user-submitted content called Seen & Heard. ABC also lets people upload video to its Web site.

What about CBS News? Well, there's "Assignment America," in which "Evening News" viewers vote on which of three stories they want to see featured on the program. But that's about it, and it's still far, far from the vision of people like Jarvis. "As a news organization, we have to verify the authenticity of any video before using it on our site," a CBS spokesperson told B&C.