Comedy Central Throws Clips From Every ‘Daily Show’ Online

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MTV Networks’ Comedy Central launched a Web site hosting more than 13,000 video clips from The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, representing major segments from every episode of the program since Stewart joined in 1999.

The beta version of TheDailyShow.com, which went live at 12 p.m. ET Thursday, provides a searchable database of clips -- “powered by Google” -- and a timeline to locate clips by air date. The site’s “Wayback Randomizer” feature pops up a random clip from the archive.

A team of 16 writers and editors worked since June to tag each of the 13,000 clips with keywords, according to Comedy Central spokesman Steve Albani. In the future, the Viacom-owned network plans to allow fans to contribute to the process of categorizing video content.

The site also lets members post comments about the clips and to give videos a “thumbs up” rating (but not a “thumbs down”).

By unleashing thousands of segments from The Daily Show to the Web in a searchable format, Viacom hopes to not only attract hard-core fans to the site but also to provide a better way of finding those clips than video-sharing sites like YouTube, which Viacom claims has been a haven for pirated clips.

In March Viacom filed a federal copyright-infringement lawsuit against Google and YouTube, asking for at least $1 billion in damages, after the two firms could not come to an agreement on licensing terms. At the time, Viacom claimed, YouTube was making nearly 160,000 clips of its programming available without permission, including clips from The Daily Show. The suit is pending in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Earlier this week Google launched what it characterized as a test of the YouTube Video Identification service, which is supposed to be able to identify copyrighted material posted to the video-sharing site.

Asked to comment on the YouTube move, Viacom spokesman Jeremy Zweig said, “We’re delighted that Google appears to be stepping up to its responsibility and ending the practice of profiting from infringement.” He declined to discuss what bearing the copyright-identification technology would have on Viacom’s lawsuit.

TheDailyShow.com will offer different formats for on-screen advertising, such as initial 3- to 7-second spots that recede to clickable logos at the bottom of the screen while the show clip plays. Initial advertisers on the site included Hyundai, AT&T and TiVo.

The show first launched in the summer of 1996 with host Craig Kilborn. Albani said those earlier episodes will eventually be added to TheDailyShow.com, with the number of clips topping 16,000 in the next few months.

The Daily Show, one of Comedy Central’s most popular programs, has won nine Emmy Awards and received six nominations for the 2006-07 Emmys. It also has twice won the Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting.

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