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Media It's funny.  Laugh. Television

Monty Python Banks On the Long Tail Via YouTube 222

JTRipper writes "Monty Python seems to have done the right thing. Instead of issuing take down notices of their videos on YouTube, they are doing it better themselves with their own YouTube channel. They are putting all their clips (including snips from their movies) up in a decent resolution, with the only caveat being a link to buying the movies and TV episodes from Amazon."
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Monty Python Banks On the Long Tail Via YouTube

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn @ g m a i l . com> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @03:31PM (#25822995) Journal

    They are putting all their clips (including snips from their movies) up in a decent resolution ...

    Um, that's kind of misleading. There are 24 clips as of this posting. That's not to say there isn't more to come but the channel description clearly states:

    What's more, we're taking our most viewed clips and uploading brand new HQ versions.

    Their announcement video shows more video clips than they have up right now (man with a recorder up his nose from And Now for Something Completely Different, etc) so hopefully there's more to come. I'm a bit disappointed the general populace doesn't watch The Flying Circus more often ... it's a shame every time I see a banana at a corporate function I have the urge to hand it to someone while instructing them to "come at me with that banana like you really mean it!" And they just continue to treat me like I'm insane.

    And where's The Crimson Permanent Assurance [youtube.com] (opening feature to The Meaning of Life)?! That single skit was probably more expensive than all other Python works combined--and a gold mine for office humor to send to your coworkers!

  • No problem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Drakin020 (980931) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @03:36PM (#25823061)
    I had no problem getting a few ads to watch something online. Much like Hulu's service. If they want to start something like this, go for it! This is how it should be done.
  • by Reality Master 201 (578873) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @03:37PM (#25823081) Journal

    That's just a link to amazon.

    A caveat would be a warning or proviso indicating terms of use, like that you have to pay them $1 million if you don't buy the video from Amazon.

  • by ivanmarsh (634711) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @03:39PM (#25823119)

    All your old business models are dead... it's time to find a better way and stop treating potential customers as the enemy.

    (I have the entire flying circus on DVD bought and paid for... what a wonderful waste of time.)

  • Nooooobody expects the Monty Python clips on Youtube! Our chief weapons are . . .
  • A shrubbery!

    • That's the easy part. I'd like to see you perform their next request: cut down a tree... with a herring!
      • by idontgno (624372)

        Dude, you're getting this completely wrong.

        1. A shrubbery
        2. Another shrubbery, placed to make a bi-level effect with a path ("A path! A path!")
        3. Cut down the tallest tree in the forest with a HERRING!
        4. ???
        5. Profit!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Who is Monty Python and why should I care? Is it a band? From what I can tell they're just a bunch of fat Australians who need shaves.
  • Who ordered this? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @03:46PM (#25823207)

    I wonder who had the power to make this decision since most artists sell their work to a label/studio. According to Wikipedia for example, The Holy Grain is currently produced by Fox and EMI in the UK and Cinema 5 in the US (who I've never heard of). But the others seem to have other distributors. It's strange that they would upload portions from the entire collection when it seems that different parts are owned by different companies....

    But it's welcome news. Maybe it will set a precedent for others to do the same.

  • the penguin on top of your YouTube will explode.
  • by AmigaHeretic (991368) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @03:49PM (#25823249) Journal
    Sir Lancelot: We were in the nick of time. You were in great peril.
    Sir Galahad: I don't think I was.
    Sir Lancelot: Yes, you were. You were in terrible peril.
    Sir Galahad: Look, let me go back in there and face the peril.
    Sir Lancelot: No, it's too perilous.
    Sir Galahad: Look, it's my duty as a knight to sample as much peril as I can.
    Sir Lancelot: No, we've got to find the Holy Grail. Come on.
    Sir Galahad: Oh, let me have just a little bit of peril?
    Sir Lancelot: No. It's unhealthy.
    Sir Galahad: I bet you're gay.
    Sir Lancelot: Am not.
  • Good to see that they've finally figured out how to port carrier pigeon technology to swallows.
  • Can anyone explain the summary title to me? I don't understand what any of this has to do with the "long tail" as I've heard it explained. I mean, it might apply to youtube ... if youtube were selling it's videos.

    • Re:Long Tail? (Score:4, Informative)

      by alexander_686 (957440) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @04:02PM (#25823439)
      The "Long Tail" is a retail concept. Normally, business make 80% of their profit/sales off 20% of the items that they sell. Which is why "Big" retails are well stocked with the latest Hollywood film, but not that obscure DVD with British humor. The Internet is supposed to change this. Because adding an additional piece to inventor does not take up an additional retail "space" a store can offer unlimited holdings. So one would expect that fewer sales of the "Big" hits and more sales of the more odd titles. It's is a nice theory, but it not true. 80% of Amazon's sales come from just 20% of their inventory. I mean, sure, they have a much larger inventory then most stores, but they don't expect the long tail. The numbers are bigger but the ratio stays the same. I have always wondered if Apple's Itunes has escaped into the long tail.
  • by duckInferno (1275100) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @03:52PM (#25823285) Journal
    A man with twenty-four Monty Python clips!

    'es watching youtube

    Oh.. uh... a man with three legs!

    'es run away

    ... oh come off it!
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @03:55PM (#25823343)

    I was a huge fan of the way id released their games back in the day, first episode is long and free, the next two will cost you something. Now with Monty Python, the last show went in the can years ago and they're not likely to produce anything new. But for newer shows, I think the PBS model would work. Give the content away for free but let the fans who really like it become direct patrons to support the arts. Let's face it, stamping out piracy is pretty much impossible and not every pirated copy is really a lost sale to begin with. Better to support the culture of patronage and count on the real fans to help you turn a profit.

    One thing the networks are struggling to contend with right now is gaining an accurate measure of just how popular a show is. We know about Faux's surprise when Family Guy was canceled for poor ratings and the DVD set went on to become the #2 selling show ever. This sort of performance gap is continuing with geriatric-targeting CBS having great Nielsens while shows skewing towards younger demographics seem to be under-performing but this does not reflect the interest on p2p sites. ITunes only depicts a portion of the overall success online. And DVD sales aren't figured until long after the current season is over.

    I'll be happy when the middle-men are completely done away with and first-run shows are produced with no need for networks. We're already seeing quirky comedies doing well on Youtube but those are extremely low-budget. It'll take some bucks to put together something like Firefly on a fan-funded basis.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @04:18PM (#25823671)

      The PBS model doesn't really even work for PBS. When I worked at WGBH in Boston, I got to see the budget numbers - about 90% of the budget comes from the corporate sponsors. Those commitments are arranged and planned for years in advance.

      The remainder of the budget comes from "viewers like you," and since it's impossible to predict those donation amounts in advance, it goes only into a discretionary spending fund. Every project plan has a few "would be nice" items in case there's enough in that discretionary fund to build them by the time the project is being produced.

    • by genner (694963)

      . It'll take some bucks to put together something like Firefly on a fan-funded basis.

      And there's the problem...expensive shows like that will never happen on a fan-funded basis.

  • by thewils (463314) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @03:56PM (#25823357) Journal

    Why did you have to tell me that. Bang goes the rest of the week...

  • If only MTV would do this with The State.. Along with creating a DVD they could link to to buy. You know, so, even if I had to pay, I could watch the funniest show ever.
    • by oodaloop (1229816)

      You know, so, even if I had to pay, I could watch the funniest show ever.

      No kidding. That's my favorite show of all time. Reno 911 is pretty damned funny too though.

      MTV has been working on a DVD for The State for years, but it's hung up on copyright problems with all the music that's in it. Same thing for WKRP in Cincinnati.

  • by timothy (36799) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @03:57PM (#25823369) Homepage Journal

    I hate laugh tracks.

    No, scratch that -- I am annoyed by laugh tracks. Partly because I'm used to them, and when I notice a laugh-track it's often too late.

    Please, Pythons -- your sketches are funny (on albums) without the degrading use of laugh tracks. Do you still have the masters from which to make better video clips, without them?


    • by skwang (174902) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @04:03PM (#25823473)
      I'm no expert, but many of their Flying Circus episodes were filmed in front of studio audiences. In addition, there was a laugh track that was inserted in post-production.

      I'm afraid you'll have to do with the laughter.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        I'm sure with the right amount of effort, it could be removed.
        Laugh tracks are annoying because there are exactly the same. Actual laughter tends to varies.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by St. Alfonzo (1393181)
        Actually I believe that Python was produced at a time when the BBC was opposed to using any canned laugh track. The exterior shots laugh track were presumably recorded while playing back the tape to the audience as a prelude to the interior, live filming.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      I hate laugh tracks.

      You must understand that these shows were produced almost four decades ago, when producing a comedy without at least a live audience was not only unheard of, but unthinkable.

      That said, I always hated laugh tracks too, even back when Monty Python was new (and I was young); particularly LOUD laugh tracks. Monty Python doesn't seem to be a particular offender here. But if it's funny it doesn't need a laugh track; there isn't any laugh track to my stupid slashdot comments but I regularly hav

    • If you've watched any of MP's sketches then you'll know that they don't use laugh tracks. You'll notice that many of the jokes bomb with the live audience.
  • by xav_jones (612754) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @03:59PM (#25823393)
    YouTube will be inundated with spam.
  • Oblig XKCD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AdamTrace (255409) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @04:02PM (#25823445)

    Going WAY back on this one...

    http://xkcd.com/16/ [xkcd.com]

  • "We're sorry, this video is no longer available."
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Monty_Python_Instant_Record_Collection [wikipedia.org]

    Next they should release the instant video collection that fills your hard drive with a collection of dummy video files that makes it look like you have a large collection.

  • south park (Score:5, Interesting)

    by qw0ntum (831414) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @05:04PM (#25824517) Journal
    I think the best model that any show has come up with is South Park's. Every episode from every season posted online, full, without commercials. The newest episodes are posted the week after they air.

    This policy has encouraged me to watch South Park. And what do you know: I even watch it on TV sometimes. +1 viewership by enlightened understanding of digital distribution.
    • I don't know what site you're talking about, but the official site [southparkstudios.com] has three (short) commercials in each episode:
      Then again, it might be region-related.
      • by qw0ntum (831414)
        Shrug, all I know is that when I watch it at my US university, there are no commercials. That would definitely be less awesome if there were.
  • by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:23PM (#25825865)

    Under the original terms of US copyright law (14 years with optional 14 year renewal if author is still alive, and zero copyright protection for foreign works), most monty python material would already be in the public domain in the USA.

    Just something to think about...