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Funny how the “old media” industries rush to absorb new upstarts.  Case in point is an article in today’s NY Times on David Lehre, who achieved success by directing his own comedy spots that were posted to YouTube.  Fox has signed him to a development deal.  Of course, the question on everyone’s mind is: Will this work?  Will he be able to make the transition from down-and-dirty YouTube videos to the high production values (not to mention the pressure!) of the 30-minute television sketch comedy format?

But this is less about David Lehre.  Rather, it’s about old media’s approach to new media.  It seems to be the entirely wrong approach to think that by simply putting more money behind David that his success on the Web will translate to success on the Fox TV network. 

Seems to me that a smarter move would be to house him under the Fox Interactive banner.  This way, he’s not being taken out of his element.  His audience isn’t used to seeing him on TV.  They find him on the Web.  What about new audiences?  They’ll find him on the Web, too.

Note to the TV people: You’re not really doing anyone any favors just because you can throw money at them.  People like David have created content and amassed their own audiences long before you showed up.  They’re doing you a favor by being in business with you. 

Content is not king.  Attention is.

Posted by Rob Fields