Here’s Johnny … And The Spot!


For many cord-cutters and, in particular, Baby Boomers who miss their favorite shows, the programming seen on digital multicast offering Antenna TV is still beloved — and consumed regularly. Among the weeknight fare this Tribune Broadcasting channel offers are classic episodes of NBC’s Tonight Show featuring the late Johnny Carson.

The man who helmed Tonight from 1962-1992, for many of the show’s early years, offered in-show product endorsements, as did sidekick and announcer Ed McMahon. 

Now, thanks to Veritone, archival and licensing of these clips, in addition to guest appearances, is possible.

Thanks to a newly forged deal between Veritone and Carson Entertainment Group (CEG), Veritone’s digital asset portal Digital Media Hub will be used to archive and license clips from what is today branded as the Johnny Carson program’s 30-year history.

Veritone added Digital Media Hub to its product offerings through its August 2018 acquisition of Wazee Digital.

CEG is the television licensing company established by Carson in 1981 to control the rights to The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. As NBC still owns the Tonight Show name, Antenna TV must air Carson-helmed broadcasts with his name only in the title.

The entire Carson library of television episodes from 1962 through 1992 — 3,900 hours of programming that includes all episodes since late 1972 — has been cataloged, transcribed, and synced to timecodes for licensing through CEG.

Digital Media Hub will provide an online, searchable platform for licensing and distributing these assets through the cloud to anyone with permission.

“We have 30 years of late-night television in our library, and after being off the air for 26 years now, there’s still a tremendous amount of demand for it, especially from the broadcast industry,” said CEG President Jeff Sotzing. “Digital Media Hub takes large television and film libraries and makes them accessible — and will bring our company’s licensing operation into the here and now. The new platform will not only be great for our customers, but it will also make our business more visible and easier to find, which in turn will generate more sales.”

At CEG, Digital Media Hub will replace a 10-year-old online licensing platform.

“Being able to search a transcript of each show and find something very quickly is a major benefit of this search engine,” Sotzing said. “For example, if a client is doing a story about Michael Jackson, they can not only find the segments of the show that Michael Jackson performed on, but also go into the transcript and find out what people said about him during the show. For producers and researchers, that’s an invaluable tool.”

Veritone worked with CEG to configure the company’s Digital Media Hub to their branding specs and migrate 75 terabytes of assets from the current CEG website to the new Digital Media Hub site.

Robin Melhuish, Director of Customer Solutions at Veritone, commented. “Through our platform, CEG and similar rights holders get a branded licensing portal that can be configured to fit their business needs. It offers an intuitive digital asset management portal in the cloud that makes it possible for rights holders to control and monetize their most valuable video assets directly.”