It wasn't that long ago (at an OMMA Global Hollywood 2009 event, actually) when Jason Calacanis, CEO/founder of Mahalo.com and Internet business veteran, said, "We could kill, kill, kill mainstream media today."
But Dave Morgan, CEO of Simulmedia, reminded us during MediaPost's Outfront event this week that the Internet has been around for 15 years and, like Superman, the bullets just bounce off it.
Television has grown 4% in usage during this time. This may not seem to make sense. What does make sense is that print and radio have suffered and lost share at the hands of digital media. After spending years on the digital side, Morgan now has lots of TV clients with this realization: The old media has plenty of life in it.
All this should make television executives a happy bunch, especially going into the upfront. While TV executives realize the upfront market of a year ago generally "sucked" -- as a number of them said at the Outfront event -- looking at the broader historical perspective, they also said it wasn't that bad, by way of comparison to other recessionary periods.
One big reason for the cautious optimism: This year's scatter market, which came back not just in price but in volume as well.
And yes, there is a growing digital piece of the traditional TV equation. For example, last year Donna Speciale, president of investment & activation and agency operations for MediaVest USA, said the agency had made the first-ever upfront digital deal with Hulu.
No matter. The fact remains that digital still has only 1% to 1.5% of the viewership that traditional TV has. And it might not stop there. What if critics are wrong again -- and n five years time, with more HD television sets and new 3D TV sets, traditional TV grows another 4%?
Internet undertakers cruising around town yelling "Bring out your dead! Bring our your dead!" will need to drive around a little while longer.