New age marketers might flip this around: TV is easy; the Internet is hard. (So I guess this means comedy equals the Internet -- and death equals TV? Depends whom you talk to.)
Carol Bartz, chief executive officer of Yahoo, says TV still thrives for many reasons. But one advantage stands out: TV is easy for marketers to comprehend and buy.
The Internet must be more like an adolescent, awkward and hard to figure out its future, a current existence that is still complex and pimply. TV is more mature, like an older business executive -- easy to figure out, limiting in its growth areas, and with a better complexion.
Bartz says with TV, you have "upfronts and a couple of phone calls," and you're ready to go. Online is not quite there yet. But we all know the positive refrain after this: The Internet promises better marketing: richer, interactive and accountable. Promises is the key word here.
All this is interesting when Bartz lobs in "the upfront" association.
A couple of years ago. Yahoo tried to do some "upfront" presentations, and talked about original content and Web series. Then it surely seemed as if it was competing with TV -- at least for the attention of advertisers. Seems it had a heavier TV-like focus back then, when ex-ABCer Lloyd Braun headed up entertainment activity there.
Talking to lots of executives might give you a picture of an identify crisis at Yahoo: not quite a high-profile original Internet content provider; not quite a powerful Internet search tool; not quite dominant e-mail service. The positive spin might be that Yahoo is keeping its options open. But as one of the longest-running, ongoing big Internet consumer brands, you would think it would present a clearer picture of what it is to consumers right now.
Truth be told TV, as an aging, easy-to-spot business executive, is a nervous wreck. Fast new media platforms and technology are making its sure-footed walk on the way to the office less smooth. No matter. Consumer marketers can't see all the minor walking stumbles. They continue to flood TV programmers and networks with lots of money.
While everyone is looking for the next greatest digital thing, TV marketers -- new and old -- still head to television. Bartz is right: "The real competitor is [still] TV."