There was an interesting piece in The Wall Street Journal a couple weeks ago. Its central premise was one I can get behind: "the very fragmentation of modern media has made television all the more valuable." Turns out that the conventional wisdom is, for once, rather conventional. Television is still the biggest and best ride on the block for reaching audiences and creating awareness. Platforms proliferate and screens multiply, and television just gets stronger. Bold prediction: that trend will continue.
But it's about more than just scarcity. Television's strength isn't only in its continued ability to command big audiences. It's also in the power of TV content to drive media consumption and behavior. Social media? As my colleagues are fond of saying, social media is the phone, our content is the conversation. Online video? From our own sites to an increasingly crowded field including Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Dish and Blockbuster, TV content is the big draw. Tablets? A recent PwC report indicates big growth in viewing on tablets, and our newest apps connect TV to tablets with entirely new co-viewing experiences - with entirely new opportunities for advertisers, too.
Look at the 2011 MTV VMAs. The show attracted 12.4 million viewers - the biggest audience in network history. But it also generated more than 2 million online video streams, more than 2.5 mobile views, and about 10 million tweets. It was huge across Facebook, Foursquare, and Instagram. All of this activity is creating more value for our TV content and more opportunities to connect with our fans than ever. That's what's changing. The constant is content. And it will continue to shape the future of media in ways even the soothsayers and futurists can't imagine. You don't have to be Nostradamus to predict that.
Jeff Lucas, Head of Sales for Music & Entertainment, Viacom Media Networks