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While Jerry Seinfeld’s latest rant won’t have many Youtubers laughing, is he only speaking a truth most of us already believe? Or is he just generationally out of touch and exhibiting a lack of forward-thinking?
Speaking at an Upfront for Sony streaming service Crackle yesterday, the 60-year-old comic legend called Google’s video-sharing site a “giant garbage can” for user-generated content.
When asked about whether such content would soon play a bigger role in online entertainment, Seinfeld said:
“The less the better. 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.”
Seinfeld’s hit online series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” which will soon be airing its sixth season, is distributed by Crackle and features the comedian talking with other comedians … in cars … while getting coffee. Seinfeld said his show had reached 100 million viewers this month alone.
When asked why he’d bring his show to an online platform at all, Seinfeld said:
“When you get to a certain point in the business, what a man is looking for in a network is the same as in his underwear. A little bit of support and a little bit of freedom. That’s exactly what Crackle offered … There’s nothing different about what we’re doing than what anyone else is doing on any media anywhere. TV networks are worried that you’ll figure out TV is over and there’s nothing special about it.”
Touting how the quality of his show means more to advertisers, he added:
“[People don’t] expect quality programming [online], and we feel like we’re ahead of a lot of places. 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.”
Simply put, on this matter, Seinfeld’s judgment is sound. While impressive for the inordinate amount of video views they pull in, the most popular Youtube creators generally still aren’t creating content that could be considered both appealing and “high quality” by groups outside the 12-17 age group — and that’s being generous (I’m not naming names).
Needless to say, Seinfeld probably won’t be sharing any “unboxing” videos with his network of friends anytime soon (OK, so there’s one name).