Television’s future revealed online


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Did you catch James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke with Paul McCartney? McCartney goes back to visit his hometown of Liverpool, England. He stops at the home where he and John Lennon wrote some of the early Beatles’ songs. We hear the story behind the writing of Let It Be. He visits Penny Lane and the barbershop mentioned in the song. And then McCartney and his band are the live “juke-box” at a local pub. It’s some of the best television you’ll ever see.

It’s funny, heartfelt, up lifting, and like many of us, who’ve moved away from the town we were born only to return years later, something that can be very emotional. As McCartney says at one point standing in his boyhood home, “It just makes me realize how long the journey has been to date.” “The distance from here to where we went and where we are now is like phenomenal.”

When I first watched the video on Facebook it had around a million views. At last check it had over 89 million views just on Facebook. There are another 20 million views on YouTube. Almost 110 million views on those two social media platforms alone. There are plenty of other places the video has been watched too.


Carpool Karaoke is a wonderful and brand-defining benchmark bit for Corden, who is such a likable guy. The huge social media audience for Paul’s day back in Liverpool got me to thinking.

What is The Late, Late Show? Is it a network television show or is it a creative house that makes cool videos to be watched in other places at other times?

The answer is what is so troubling for traditional media like radio, television or newspapers. For all the money and time spent producing that hour-long show broadcast each early morning, few people, in the grand scheme of things, are watching. The show has become a place to create viral videos to be watched at another time. And that’s why Carpool Karaoke is so brand-defining for Corden.  He’s accessible to his current and new audiences when and where they choose.

Check out these facts and figures.

Today, the United States has a population of around 326 million people. Of that about 1.23 million people watch a portion of James Corden’s The Late, Late show each night on CBS. That’s not a lot of people.

The McCartney video online reached over 110 million people (albeit not all in the U.S.).

Which is the problem for media outlets and for media talent. Where are you going to get the bigger audience for your brand today? We all know time spent with traditional media is declining because of increasing competition from emerging digital media outlets.

Regardless of where he’s currently catching a paycheck, if you were James Corden, where would you be focusing your future creativity energies?

If you’re a media talent, is the future the limited amount of people consuming your brand with traditional media, like AM/FM radio or local TV and newspapers, or is it meeting an unlimited audience online and in social media at the time and place they choose?

Great content is great no matter how it’s watched. As they say, “Content (you can monetize) is king.”


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