Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

The Simpsons Meet Steve Jobs, and Hulu Captures the Moment

Did you miss “The Simpsons” last night? Me too. Actually, the show’s been off my radar for a long time, which means I wouldn’t have seen last night’s parody of Apple (AAPL) and Steve Jobs unless someone pointed it out to me.

Luckily, we have the Internet for that.

Right now, you can find clips of the episode throughout Google’s YouTube, where they’re technically not supposed to be. (Though in truth, Fox’s copyright patrol has never seemed that zealous about getting Simpsons stuff off the site.)

More to the point, you can find the entire episode on Hulu, the joint venture between News Corp.’s (NWS) Fox and GE’s (GE) NBC (News Corp. is the owner of this Web site). And Hulu will also allow anyone–say, a blogger who covers the media business–to embed all of the episode, or a selected clip, on his or her site. (Per a reader’s gentle suggestion, I’ll note that this episode is also available at Fox.com. But Fox.com doesn’t provide embedding options.)

That’s the kind of flexibility that’s now old hat in the Web world, but it’s worth noting how far along the networks have come in a very short time: A few years ago NBC was still trying to stop YouTube from showing millions of people the “Lazy Sunday” clip from “Saturday Night Live.” Now all of us expect to see the networks’ best stuff online, with their blessing, just a few hours after it airs. And the networks are happy to oblige.

This still doesn’t solve the dollars-to-pennies dilemma that NBC chief Jeff Zucker and other media bosses fret about: The content the media companies can charge a lot of money for in its original state (on TV, on paper, etc.) is worth much less once it gets to the Web.

But that’s a lot to absorb early on a post-holiday Monday. For now, here are three minutes of “The Simpsons” at the Apple (sorry, Mapple) store.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work