The Emmys - Secret Online Streaming and Rights

Last night, the Emmys were on… including illegal online streaming before NBC glommed onto the fact.

As each stream was shut down, users complained they hated the fact the live feeds were being removed, mostly spewing vitriol directly at the broadcaster. “Hey NBC,” they’d say. “We’re watching the commercials! What else do you want?!”

Good question. What else do we in the TV and digital entertainment media want? Why aren’t broadcasters streaming live video more often? It happened, and quite successfully, during the World Cup – which I can only assume helped slow piracy. Why not the Emmys? Well, it usually comes down to rights.

PaidContent.org wrote a great post about how NBC had great opportunities to turn winning clips from the show into potential viral videos. Within seconds of the opening sequence with Jimmy Fallon singing Born to Run with some cast members of Glee, Tina Fey and Jon Hamm, NBC should have posted the video up on You Tube to catch the viral wave. But they didn’t – seemingly because of their inability to secure online rights. The rights for the show were cleared for TV, but not for online.

Looking back, a similar thing happened this season with an episode of Glee, where a potentially embarrassing video of Sue Sylvester singing “Let’s Get Physical” gets viral at the fictional high school. Sadly, that clip wasn’t posted to You Tube for it to get viral in real-life. Another issue with rights clearances? Or was it an oversight to not include social media in the experience?

Granted, rights clearances are more complicated and resource heavy than most people would ever understand. But as a user posted, what else do we want?  For live events like awards shows or big finales, do we want to fight for online rights or do we want the fans to post our stuff online to share between themselves? What’s the solution?