A Tale Of Two Cities -- And A Maverick
First, there was New York City and the OMMA Video event in mid-May. In the Big Apple, a thoughtful and intelligent group of panelists debated whether or not online, Web-based video can really steal dollars from TV. This was on the heels of the just-concluded NewFronts, which had some amazingly well-attended events during six different days in New York, with Hulu, Yahoo, AOL, Digitas, NBC Universal, and Google’s YouTube leading the charge and announcing its own ventures into custom-made Web video content series.
While the concept of online video being able to steal dollars from TV was not universally agreed to by the OMMA panel (my friend Dave Morgan from Simulmedia was a notable holdout), I did leave this event with a pretty strong feeling that online video would really be successful in cornering a larger share of dollars at the expense of television.
Then, there was Dallas and the Videonomics event held at Cowboys Stadium in late May, where I was given the task of interviewing Mark Cuban. He is a tremendous entrepreneur, star of “Shark Tank,” owner of the Dallas Mavericks, with interests in HDNet, LandCuban Movie Theatres and Magnolia Pictures.
Dallas is where things got really interesting. Cuban has a different take on the battle between TV and online video. While he sees the benefit of marketers utilizing both mediums simultaneously, he definitely disputes the implied demise of television. I mentioned an analogy I heard recently: how online video is the shot glass to TV’s beer keg. Cuban would agree. In his eyes, TV is still the big gorilla, and will stay that way.
Cuban brought up a number of interesting supporting points, like the fact that one million views online does not equal a million unique views. Additionally, one million views on TV represents the average number of households for that time slot, which often includes family and or friends viewing simultaneously, so that could easily be two or three million actual views in total.
His second observation was an open-ended one related to the value of the delivery period. What’s more valuable, Cuban asked, getting four million views on a television show (like his “Shark Tank” series) in a confined one-hour block of time, or getting views spaced out over weeks and weeks through online delivery. to get to that same level of reach?
On Cuban’s blog, he made the following additional comments: “The TV business isn’t dead. It really isn’t even morphing. Sure people will watch video online. They will watch it on phones. They will download it. But the videos that online distributors pay the most for will be those that have been done the best on traditional TV. Which means more money for the production of shows.”
Cuban’s bet is on TV withstanding the charge from online video content.
On top of that, it appears that the TV upfronts were very, very successful for the key players. Hmmm …
I guess we’ll have to see who ultimately will win -- or at least get the bigger piece of pie.