There is an important lesson in this whole Conan vs. Leno debacle.
No matter how famous you are or how many fans you have, if you work for a huge corporation, they own you.
NBC wanted to put Conan’s show at 12:05am. Technically, that’s not even The Tonight Show. It’s The Tomorrow Show.
Sure, Conan could make $40 million over at Fox and probably kill in the ratings but you can bet someday, some rube network exec would move his time slot in favor of The Sarah Palin Variety Hour. Then Conan would completely lose his marbles and he would spend the rest of his days walking around Central Park mumbling like Rain Man…
“……should have had the 11:30 slot…..18 pigeons, definitely 18 pigeons……I’m an excellent comedian…….23 times funnier than Jay Leno……definitely deserved the 11:30 slot…….”
Here are 8 reasons Conan should go direct.
1) Full creative control over his own content
Now he writes a lot of his own stuff but imagine if he wasn’t censored at all. Look out.
2) Not working for Jeff Zucker
3) Not working for anyone
5) Never having to worry about ratings again
Let Leno have the “ratings” on NBC. His demographic is not Conan’s anyway, so why try to fight for it. It’s sort of like Newhart and Family Guy jockeying for position.
6) Any format, any device
Conan’s demographic consumes content differently. He could make videos of any length that his audience could consume and stream anywhere. iPhones, iPods, Droids, iSlates, other tablets. Design the content to be snackable and sharable and we will snack and we will share.
7) Watching a show at its original time slot is obsolete
I’ve seen plenty of clips of Saturday Night Live in the last few years, but never on Saturday night. My social network does the filtering and the best and funniest clips bubble to me on twitter and Facebook.
8 ) Your own channel means your own audience and unlimited bandwidth
You don’t see Chris Brogan and Seth Godin arguing over timeslots, do you?
It’s your world, Conan. Step out from behind the network execs and own it.