The Tonight Show Starring YouTube

What a mess the NBC Universal changeover has been from Jay Leno first to Conan O’Brien and now finally to Jimmy Fallon.

Fallon’s ratings after two weeks are good enough for older skewing television.  He’s attracting 5.6 million viewers a night, which is higher than traditional late night numbers.

But the money demo 18-49 rating is a paltry 1.9 share and not likely to get better.

Media people are great at packaging shows, making stars bigger than life and promoting the hell out of them.

What we all need to learn to do better is discover how audiences actually consume our content.

Take The Tonight Show.

Is it a digital play or a network television show?

Are they thinking the popular YouTube video clips they do are going to attract younger audiences to traditional television screens?

If they are, they are wasting their time.

In the first week of Fallon’s new show, his YouTube videos attracted 37 million viewers – a lot more than his TV show commands.

Oh, no.

NBC Universal sees it as a branding effort.

Let’s try to all at once forget that dirty word branding and deal with the real issues.

Jimmy Fallon is funny.

His YouTube videos are more popular than the show.

What self-respecting young fan would watch Tonight when they could be binging on Netflix?

The young audience isn’t wired the way media executives are wired.

Same is true for radio.

Radio stations have zero digital products.


They have on-air brands (uh oh) and extend them online so that all those people who won’t listen on-air can participate online.

Bad strategy.

Step back for a second.

If someone walked into your office and said, I want your content so I can put it on the web so audiences don’t have to listen to a radio, you’d throw them out.

That’s what we’re all doing to ourselves.

So it’s time to rethink what we do on the air and what we are offering as digital.

On-air should be so compelling, unique and addicting that audiences should want to listen.  They should want to find a radio or demand a radio in their hands.

Online digital content should be so in the sweet spot of how younger audiences live that they are equally inclined to consume it.

I have to laugh when I see studies like the Borrell study that claims an average radio station did $166,000 in digital revenue last year?

If so, that number stinks.

And in the radio industry stations decide what is digital so there is no industry standard.

I have a video strategy that makes millions of dollars for Gen X entrepreneurs and I’m going to share it at my Philly conference in March. 

Now that’s a game plan we ought to learn about.

Here are some other critical things we should get ahead of:

  1. Disrupting radio – Pandora is doing it.  Apple is doing it.  Netflix has done it by feeding the binge-watching monster.  Social media is in disarray right now but it has become a radio competitor.  No format change is going to be enough to take them back.  Time to disrupt radio before someone else does it.
  2. Master digital -- Target solutions to transform both your radio and digital power into something that will attract big money advertisers.  Radio has only limited resources to devote to digital, we’ll drill down on the ones that can make them count.
  3. Starting your own social media – Facebook, Twitter and all the other social media sites are becoming unstable.  Learn about how to build a social media platform around you and your fans.  I’ll share the evidence.
  4. Reinvent radio for the digital age – I’ll be going over a list of things money demo listeners object to about radio and offer ways to address each and every one.  And together we will brainstorm ideas that can fix or replace the old reliable things that are not working for audiences any more.
  5. Getting into video -- The best route to starting your own radio station video business – one that will not need salespeople to unlock the revenue potential and that will more than make up for any on-air advertising shortfalls you may run into this year.  I’ll play video examples and reveal the winning game plans.
  6. Attracting younger audiences -- From my work as a USC professor in the area of generational media:  the four critical things Millennials expect of media.  Build the future around this checklist.
  7. Solving time shifted radio – Ways radio stations can get beyond real time broadcasting into the hottest media consumer trend of the last two decades – on-demand consumption of content. 

Less than a month until the Philly conference on March 26th and I’m getting excited to be with you and lead this seminar to transform the industry for the future.

This event will not be available by stream or video – only live and in person. 

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Check availability for staying on-site at The Rittenhouse Hotel where this conference is being held -- please mention that you’ve registered for the “Media Solutions Conference”.