Power to the makers. Today, Larry King launched his new direct-to-the-audience show online with his new company with Jon Housman, Ora TV. (Larry’s first interview is with Seth MacFarlane…)
Larry joins Louis CK, Radiohead, and others who have taken their gig direct to the people…
Larry is already an established brand. He could have exclusively gone to his fans from his own website (as Louis CK did), but he chose something new. He’s distributing on Hulu. There are noteworthy aspects to that choice, which may be the best of both worlds of “going solo” and working with a gatekeeper.
- Larry’s distribution isn’t exclusive — he still controls his own relationship with his viewers through his website at Ora.tv.
- Retaining promotion — he still has the benefit of having millions learn about his new show when they show up on the homepage of Hulu.
- Format control — he isn’t constrained by rigid slots to fit into for an electronic program guide on TV. He retains the ability to adapt the show as it unfolds.
- Distributed distribution — what I mean is that Hulu’s participation isn’t limited to Hulu.com. Their video player is powering the experience of his new show on Ora’s website.
This should make, over time, for a more authentic experience where the content adapts to the flexibility of the web. But also one that’s instantly been exposed to millions — maybe millions more than he could have reached on his own. (And there seem to be more comments flowing to Hulu than to Larry’s own site.)
I’m a big fan of freedom for creators to choose distribution partners, when it suits them (and the distribution partner). I see the full range of choices in games: some, like Notch, choose to go direct to gamers. And then eventually they move their games to other platforms (like Xbox), once they have proof of a phenomenal product. Some, like Blizzard, remain exclusively on open platforms like the PC. Some, like Team Meat, choose the benefit of launching with a console distribution partner.
Over time, the openness of distribution means more creative experimentation for the makers. Will Larry’s show be better on Ora than it was on CNN? Maybe, time will tell. Was Louis CK funnier when he went direct? Dunno. But I’m a big believer that over time, more maker = more better. (It’s one of the reasons I invested in OUYA, a game console that gives gamemakers more choice over where they put their content…)
I’m excited to see, in TV, where Larry takes it. Congratulations on shipping your first direct-to-the-people show, Larry.