With the Democratic Congress just coming into session as well as the FCC’s AT&T merger decision last week, there has been endless editorializing on the prospects for Net Neutrality regulation this year. The rhetoric of those arguments aside, there are other elements of the internet with great potential to be regulated- namely content.
A few weeks ago, Saturday Night Live aired a skit called “Special Treat” on NBC. The skit contained some offensive language, which was bleeped for television. Shortly after the skit aired, an uncensored version was released on the internet- by SNL. The un-bleeped version quickly became one of the most popular videos on YouTube.
SNL’s viewership has been steadily declining for over a decade, and utilizing the web to increase the show’s popularity is beneficial for SNL itself as well as for NBC. But the show’s decision and the network’s permission to release an uncensored version of the skit online was a blatant slap in the face to the FCC and its regulation of television content.
I think there is a great future for networks who offer their content on the internet- although questions about ad revenue still abound. I personally don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t watch Grey’s Anatomy online every time I missed it at 9 on Thursday nights (yes, I’m the only person left without DVR). But I think that NBC’s move, and others’ that are sure to follow, to offer content online that couldn’t be aired on TV are just provoking the FCC and Congress to step in and regulate.
What do people in the Diner think?