TV, The Beast That Won't Die

Internet video executives are tired of waiting for traditional TV to die.

It wasn't that long ago (at an OMMA Global Hollywood 2009 event, actually) when Jason Calacanis, CEO/founder of 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.

11 comments about "TV, The Beast That Won't Die".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. John Maher, April 28, 2010 at 1:13 p.m.

    Thank you for this article. The grating refrain of the neo-dot.comers that ”Television is dead” has gotten very tiresome. It's time they accept the fact that 15 years in makes "New" media

  2. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, April 28, 2010 at 1:17 p.m.

    It's hard to be optimistic as I watch my young kids avoid the TV set and camp out on the laptop watching YouTube. The number of choices available to young viewers simply didn't exist 15 years ago (nor did converged TV sets and STBs), so let's not be sanguine about the future of plain-old-TV. If the tube "skips a generation," then it's game over.

  3. Millard Younts from EnVest Media, April 28, 2010 at 1:19 p.m.

    Thanks for your observations on the early demise of TV. If the "internet undertakers" were to place a mirror under the nose of traditional TV, it would be proof enough there are a few eye balls still out there in the vast wasteland glued to the tube....

  4. Christopher Geer from Mitchell Media, LLC, April 28, 2010 at 1:29 p.m.

    Wayne, thanks for pointing out some key facts! And I too wonder what traditional TV viewership will be at in 5 years vs. digital. 1 thing is certain, there seems to be a lot of people talking about this subject. The Hulu pay subscriber model will be interesting to watch, people who I know that use it say they are not willing to pay for it...time will tell.

  5. Jim Thomas from Frank N. Magid Associates, April 28, 2010 at 1:51 p.m.

    The race for the eyeballs is hardly over and television, despite the predictions, continues to serve an audience with news, information and entertainment. Congratulations to TV. The winners are the users and viewers who get more choices every day. The smart media companies connect with the people and provide content on their terms. Keep the flat panel TV and bring on the smart phone.

  6. Karl Meisenbach from HDNet, April 28, 2010 at 2:29 p.m.

    The NEW MEDIA in TV Land -

    HDTV's = BIG W i d e s c r e e n Images, getting less expensive and Bigger

    HD-DVR's = installed with New HD set top box.

    1080P = Better picture quality being delivered now for HH's with 1080P HDTV's (blu-ray quality)

    Home Theater = Inexpensive and Fantastic Surround Sound systems

    It's up to us to figure out how to deliver advertisers messages to our viewers watching HDTV's with Surround Sound and DVR's.

  7. Marina Mcqueary from St.Claire Group, April 28, 2010 at 2:39 p.m.

    Why does this NOT make sense? 3D TV's? DVR's that can record anything anywhere anytime interacting with mobile settings? We are NEVER going to NOT have TV - the experience is too big for even hot shot media know-it-alls across the country to think they can predict. Get over your 2" screens - you will have to when you need bifocals.

  8. Mickey Lonchar from Quisenberry, April 28, 2010 at 5:59 p.m.

    The definition of the word "television" has changed. No longer is it a 'medium.' Instead it is an appliance. A screen that can access video content. Not THE screen. A decade ago 'portable TV' meant an applicance you could take with you. Today, it is the medium itself that is portable. Great example: Comcast's Xfinity ON DEMAND which lets you watch anything on your home's ON DEMAND anywhere via a computer log in. -

  9. Stanford Crane from NewGuard Entertainment Corp, April 28, 2010 at 7:43 p.m.

    It's all about content and getting paid for that, at least if you are a producer. It seems to me that as the Ophraizing of America continues, cable is becoming increasing the destination for the fragmented audience. Unfortunately, with a few exceptions, they don't have much to spend on quality production. As for Web programming, I dare say USA spends more on original production than the entire internet. If the VCs ever pull their heads out of their...well let's skip that, they might just see the light. Content is king and delivery should be a vehicle to pay for that creativity. BTW, don't count on that happening any time soon. They'd rather to continue collecting their 2% and waiting for a monetization strategy, even though a perfectly good one exists - TV.

  10. Jerry Foster from Energraphics, April 29, 2010 at 4:28 a.m.

    For most of us, the moment hasn't arrived when the TV screen and remote control can be switched to see websites and email. We tend not to want to boot up our PCs and notebooks when they are off and we simply want to unwind. Windows XP takes 43 seconds to boot while TVs take about 5 seconds or less to boot.

    It is only the 38 second boot delay for computers that keeps me watching the Disney Channel via satellite on TV in the half hour before I sleep rather than checking a few cool blogs or a video on demand streaming site.

    I guess the cable and satellite companies are deliberately withholding Internet because they will lose control of the content. But we also know that Sony is only now working on an Internet TV.

    So I give it another 2 or 3 years before TVs allow people to surf the web (and before they understand the words Up, Down, Right, Left, Click).

    TV Stations will still have an advantage for being all video all the time...but even they will start offering viewers the chance to watch certain shows on demand and not continue with the current regime of forcing the same content stream on everyone.

  11. Betty Chambers, May 4, 2010 at 10:05 a.m.

    I thought the television set was just one piece of the entertainment distribution channel? I've noticed that I cannot escape Iron Man 2. The marketing people know how to touch everything, everywhere to get the message out.

    I don't own TV set. I gave it away over five years ago. The only time I catch a show is at the gym, or I've watched it via DVD or the internet.

    Aside from sports and some news - I cannot think of anything that needs to be viewed in "real time."

Next story loading loading..