Tag Archives | YouTube

A Brief History of Defunct Electronics Chains in the Form of Old TV Ads


Today’s news that Circuit City, American’s second-largest electronics retailer, has filed for bankruptcy left me sad. And, oddly enough, nostalgic. The City isn’t going out of business, but as I reflected on its woes I thought about all the electronics chains I’ve shopped at over the years–the vast majority of which are no longer with us. (If Circuit City were to close its doors, it would leave only Best Buy and RadioShack as truly national chains focused solely on consumer electronics of all sorts, right?)

Once I got nostalgic, I did what I often do in such situations: I headed to YouTube. Which is rife with old commercials for defunct electronics retailers. Many of these chains basically did themselves in through poor management or inability to change with the times, and I thought some of them were shabby even when I did business with them; But it’s fun to get reacquainted with them through the miracle of streaming video.

After the jump, a look back, mostly in chronological order sorted by the year of the chain’s demise (click on the year for more details on the circumstances of its death).

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YouTube Gets MGM Content–This Time With Permission!

mgm-youtubeLooks like it’s all but official: The New York Times is reporting that YouTube will announce on Monday that it’s struck a deal with MGM to put movies and TV shows from that studio’s library on YouTube in legal, full-length, ad-sponsored form.

The examples that the Times gives make it sound like MGM isn’t exactly uploading all its crown jewels to YouTube in one fell swoop: They include the feature films The Magnificent Seven, Bulletproof Monk, and old episodes of American Gladiators.

The content may not be transcendent, but the arrangement is a meaningful moment of glasnost between YouTube and Hollywood, which have spent far more time making war with each other than making nice. The current-day MGM is a struggling shadow of its former self, but perhaps its move will lead bigger studios to consider striking deals with YouTube rather than demanding that their stuff be taken down.

YouTube’s interest in MGM content is presumably in part a defensive move to gird itself to compete with Hulu, the all-professional-content video site that’s best known for its scads of TV shows, but which also has some movies. Like, oh, for instance, Moby Dick:

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.1749104&w=425&h=350&fv=]

(Okay, we’re back. Sorry–I’ve always wanted to run a John Huston movie on my site.)

It’s inevitable that all video content will eventually migrate its way to the Web in one form or another, but nearly all of the details remain fuzzy–most importantly, how quickly it’ll all happen, which sites and services will get the content, and whether ad-support and fee-based venues will both thrive. I’m not making any predictions about how things will play out, but I’m glad to see even baby steps in the right direction. And hey, I’ve never seen The Magnificent Seven in its entirety…

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YouTube Quietly Adds Search to Embedded Video

While searching for videos on today’s election happenings, I stumbled upon a feature which must have just recently been added to embedded videos. The functionality allows for a search box to appear at the top of the video when users are finished watching the video, or during the video after clicking the embed/url information option.

After the search query is typed, the search results appear in-line, meaning the user would never leave the page where the video was embedded. This has to be seen as a postive by website owners, since they will retain that set of eyes. On the web, that is as good as gold — and when you lose eyes, there’s a good chance they won’t come back.

I’m still not seeing any announcement from YouTube officially announcing the functionality, and I’m not expecting anything either since its relatively minor. However the implications for those who embed videos into their sites are obviously much more significant.

Pictures of the search option are below the fold.

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Is the YouTube-CBS Deal a Sign of Reconciliation?

YouTube said late Friday that it would begin to offer full-length television shows through the site, initially partnering with CBS. Among the shows now available are select episodes of Star Trek, The Young & The Restless, Beverly Hills 90210, and Californication, among others.

The TV shows would be provided at no charge and would include advertisements that would play before, during, and after the videos. CBS will sell the advertising for the show, and YouTube would get a cut of the revenues.

Here’s hoping that this deal is a sign of improving relations between the video site and the entertainment industry. As you may remember, CBS was formerly a part of Viacom, the company who sued YouTube for $1 billion in March of last year.

While Viacom no longer has anything to do with the production arm of CBS any longer (it only retains rights to MTV Networks, BET Networks, Paramount, and Paramount Pictures’ home entertainment operations), the ties are still there. This move could wrm Viacom’s heart ever so slightly, and may give YouTube a slight edge in any negotiations.

It also seems to be a bit of a concession on the part of the entertainment industry that it needs the leading online video site. While industry-backed sites like Hulu are doing okay, they aren’t even close to touching YouTube.

Maybe its time for the two sides to bury the hatchet, as it would be financially beneficial for all. As the old adage goes, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

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