Speaking at the Borrell Associates Local Online Advertising Conference, Dave Morgan, now CEO of Simulmedia, which mines television viewing data, said, "After 19 years in online media, I got into television. Not interactive TV. I mean linear TV as it is delivered today."
Linear TV! That television reference means a straight line -- to somewhere. We know one straight fact right now: There are some 70% of U.S. households that still view TV this way. Not on digital, interactive or DVR-ed TV. Not even Hulu.
I'm sure in the 1940s, when TV was born, there were radio and motion pictures executives shaking in their boots. However, while they did lose share of U.S. consumers' entertainment time, for sure they survived.
The difference is that TV has grown in share -- despite the rise of Internet, video gaming, cell phones, and gazing into space (little data on the last, I'm sure).
Morgan isn't the first new-wave media executive to offer his support for the long-term future of TV. But it's eye-opening nevertheless, considering his history -- founder of online advertising company Real Media and behavioral marketing service Tacoda.
For some time, it may have seemed anachronistic for any cutting-edge media agency to focus on traditional media platforms when all the digital ones continue to have that cool spin.
The reason: It's all about TV commercials on TV screens. Not laptops. Not iPhones. Here's a confession: "I never sold a display ad that had the emotional impact of TV commercials," said Morgan.
That's why major media agencies Starcom Mediavest, Group M, and others, continue to push set-top-box data and addressable advertising opportunities from cable operators despite the continued slow pace of developing those services.
The value of TV continues to grow, said Morgan, with the likes of new TV networks and more HD channels. The problem: "Ad sales and services have fallen behind what's available in the market."
No one says traditional TV will go away any time soon. Still, Morgan offered an end-date: "People will watch TV for the next 2 to 3 decades."
After that? He didn't say. But no doubt at the time we'll be talking about how the valuable Internet is still being undersold, which will have a familiar ring to it.