The rumors of the demise of television advertising and the 30-second spot have been greatly exaggerated. The prevailing fear of the complete transition of television content to the Internet -- and the horrible impact this will have on television advertising -- is just plain wrong. On the contrary, new technological solutions and the digital deadline are going to double television advertising dollars.
Yes, content will be available on certain portals. But let's all step back and face reality. The wonderful thing known as the television, that lovely 30- to 60-inch box sitting right in the middle of the living room, is and will continue to be the main advertising vehicle for the United States.
The noise and the hand-wringing that have come because of the launch of companies such as Joost, and from companies such as Google, Microsoft and Apple claiming that your PC is the next television, are wrong. Television currently offers a huge, engaged audience, is a trusted medium and the basis of entertainment for most of the households in the country.
Television on the Internet currently offers accountability and better targeting and engagement metrics. On the other hand, it also offers security problems, a bad viewing experience, and questionable and unproven media buying and planning technology.
Thankfully, with the move to digital in 2009, along with the arrival of new technology systems that will build on the legacy of television advertising, the advantages that television on the Internet has for advertisers will evaporate. So, beyond security problems and having to pretend watching "Heroes" on a small computer monitor is just as good as watching it on an high-definition TV, new "television-killing" Internet portals have nothing that television will not be able to offer advertisers in only a short time.
These systems currently being planned will provide: Accountability through the ability to capture and track consumer responses to show advertisers a true return on investment. Precise engagement metrics. The ability to adjust and allocate ad spends appropriately, promoting automation, accountability and efficiency. The ability for viewers to interact with advertisements and product placements using their remote controls, without leaving the couch. These clicks will be recorded and sent directly to a viewer's Internet accounts, providing uninterrupted television viewing with the ability to manage their advertising responses later. The ability to make mass media buys (the ever popular 30-second spot) as well as targeted advertising direct to the individual. The ability to use any new digital advertising technology, including clickable ads/banners. The ability to insert advertising into every aspect of content. If viewers see a new song by the Dixie Chicks during the Grammy Awards, they will be able to simply click "OK" on a remote control and have the song queued for purchase on their Apple iTunes account. The line between content and commercials will no longer exist. The ability to match exact TV responses with consumers and their visits to advertiser Web sites for analysis and matching against future responses, Flexibility for media pricing, which will be determined by advertisers, advertising agencies and media outlets; Near real-time ad insertion (for example: The Red Sox beat the Yankees in Game 7 of the playoffs again this year, and Sports Authority immediately inserts advertising showing the availability of Red Sox shirts before the champagne is popped).
The ability to tie existing direct marketing efforts to target individual households and set-top boxes. The ability to push traffic to an advertiser's existing Web site via TV responses -- allowing marketing messages to be effectively coordinated between both mediums. The above are just the beginning of what will become the television advertising revolution. TV ad rankings based on number of click-throughs will become as important as Google rankings, and ultimately will become the measurement vehicle of choice. The future of TV will bring all of the possibilities and advantages of Internet television portals -- with none of the drawbacks.
The television advertising market will not shrink. It will double. And while these newly launched Internet television portals will find a niche, and I am sure will be a decent advertising investment for some groups, they will never really challenge television as the most reliable and effective advertising format.