Chapter 63 – Rollo Returns/MCNs
by Leesa Dean
Another super busy week with meetings, writing, editing or, as showrunner/creator extraordinaire Shonda Rhimes would say, “doing.” Feels great to be in the midst of all of this with little time for much else.
And right in the middle of it all, Rollo called.
For those who’ve just started following this blog, Rollo is a guy who contacted me right after I launched. A former senior level exec, he’s been out of work (mostly) for a number of years and trying to figure out a smart direction. He wanted to be attached to Chilltown, be involved in the web game and I ultimately decided to move on. We’ve (more or less) remained friends. His stories of late 90?s/early 2000?s excess, if nothing else, are fun to hear. We agreed to meet at my new favorite ramen place in Hell’s Kitchen for beers and soup.
But he didn’t have any old school stories to entertain me with . He wanted to pick my brain.
Rollo had been approached to work as a consultant for a friend who was thinking of starting a new multi-channel network and he wanted to see if 1) I was interested in making a deal with them for Chilltown and 2) what I thought, in general, of the opportunity.
Without losing a breath, I told him I wasn’t interested in making a deal for Chilltown. At least not right now.
I get approached on a regular basis to have Chilltown be a part of MCN’s and, mostly, it’s not something I think is smart idea for the show right now. When I set out to get involved in the web community, I had a few goals and the main one was to build up my brand as a creator/writer/animator. I’m already on that path and it’s unnecessary for me to align with an MCN now to help with that. MCN’s are great if you’re vlogging. They really can help build you up as an online personality. But, mostly, the type of content that’s popular is geared towards tweens. And that isn’t my audience. Down the line, I might be interested, but not right now.
As for what I think of the opportunity: Cloudy with a chance of meatballs. The biggies (Maker, Fullscreen, Machimina, etc.) already have had huge offers. I think it might be a little late to jump into the party unless you have something truly unique and are filling a gap. From the way Rollo was describing it, the MCN that made him the offer is pretty standard.
Also, it really takes a ton of startup cash to get something like that off the ground. I already know a few people who attempted to start new MCN’s and failed. But, if it doesn’t take much time, isn’t a full-time gig, why not? It’ll just be another iron in the fire. After all, The Hollywood Reporter just predicated that within seven years, online advertising will surpass tv advertising. I look at that more as a plus for creators. And for creators, the time to get involved in web projects is yesterday, if not earlier.