The Shrinking Stage of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report

“Short-sighted at best.”

I believe I said this in today’s New Media / New Marketing segment on (embedded below) and Marc Andreessen, one of the originators of the Mosaic web browser that ignited the Web in 1995 and co-founder of Netscape, says it also, further below.

Big media companies just don’t get it. Being truly successful on the Web means being practically ubiquitous. They still want to control things. A shrinking stage is easier to control, and in some cases may be easier to monetize; but ultimate success comes from reaching your audience and your potential audience with as wide a reach as possible. At least that’s my expansive view.

Yes, sure, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report are GREAT shows. I’m a fan, especially of Stewart’s; BUT Comedy Central’s decision to pull these hot programs off of the commercial TV, online video hub site is a short term mercenary move that shows that Viacom (old media company & owner of Comedy Central) doesn’t know how to leverage the popularity of these programs in order to really build their brand in an even bigger way. They are limiting the size of their stage in order to harness what they think is the best possible payday.

Yes, their network may well capture more advertising dollars in the short run, but how many more clips would end up being spread virally if they let them run free on the web? How much would this exposure be worth on an on-going basis, in terms of good will as well as exposure amongst the web hordes? We’ll never know because rather than decentralizing distribution and going wide, they have opted to “centralize” availability of online video of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report exclusively on the Comedy Central website in order to optimize return on their advertising avails.

Here’s my video opinion from the, and more Marc Andreessen comments are further below:

To further illuminate this perspective, here are Marc Andreessen’s comments on TechCrunch, entitled Andreessen’s Advice To Old Media: “Burn The Boats.” Among other things, he said:

No matter how many iPads the Apple sells, the Web will always be the bigger market. “There are 2 billion people on the Web,” he says. “The iPad will be a huge success if it sells 5 million units.” Despite trying time and again, Andreessen’s observation is that media companies have no aptitude for technology, nor do they really understand what technology companies do. The one thing technology companies do really well is deal with constant disruption…

(Andreessen) believes that all the talk once again from big media companies about erecting paywalls or somehow charging for news, articles and video online is shortsighted at best. He comes back to the simple fact that the open Web is where the users are.

Bottom line, as far as I can tell for the foreseeable future, the Web is where the real audience lives. We are global. We are the Web. We visit many, many websites. No one site, not even Google, can control the flow. Some can dominate for a while.

So, if you have a red hot property, like Mr. Jon Stewart for example, you can make some bucks by demanding the video viewers come to you, rather than putting your program in as many places at once as possible. But, how can I say it? That would be short-sighted, at best.

What would you do, if you were Viacom?

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  1. Jon
    Jon says:

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