The Battle for Late Night will be Fought on O&O Turf

Nick Bilton from the New York Times recently wrote a compelling article “ The Battle for Late Night Viewers on Screens of All Sizes ” - extolling the virtues of late night masters Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien, and Jimmy Fallon.   These next-generation, Internet savvy, and YouTube friendly jesters, according to Bilton, were outsmarting the likes of Stephen Colbert, whose content is merely confined to his website, http://colbertnation.com.

Outside of realizing that we now have two Jimmy’s on late night (is that a first?), this article made me think about how important an Owned and Operated video strategy is for YouTubers.

Commenter Peter gets it right:

"Both Colbert and the Daily Show are available online, in full, the next day, via legal means (and with fewer commercials). I think that’s a pretty great way to reach out to younger viewers.”

Few can argue that leveraging YouTube to reach fans, distribute short form clips and companion videos, and staying connected with your audience isn’t working for Kimmel and his cohorts.  Colbert may not have been able to leverage YouTube under his Viacom ownership on cable, and perhaps he’ll extend more content to YouTube as part of the Late Show.

However, while Kimmel and Fallon are rocking YouTube, Colbert truly owns his audience.  Both strategies are extremely important for success online, as YouTube is the primary sharing and discovery engine for video. But getting that audience - those fans that you connect with - on your own property, interacting with all your content and each other, will build Colbert Nation’s fan loyalty.

I’m betting on Colbert and his rabidly loyal audience to win this battle.

After all, only audience loyalty will get a space station or bridge named after you.

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