TV As Mature Business Executive; The Internet, A Pimply, Promising Teenager

The saying goes: Dying is easy; comedy is hard.

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."

3 comments about "TV As Mature Business Executive; The Internet, A Pimply, Promising Teenager ".
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  1. Ron Stitt from Fox Television Stations, September 27, 2010 at 3:55 p.m.

    Correct. They real competitor is still TV. When you say though that "internet is hard and TV is easy", you manage to simultaneously overstate how difficult the internet is and underestimate how complex the TV business is. The real reason TV is still the first option is that as a practical matter, it reaches the most people, who spend the most time with it, in what remains the most effective communications medium going. It's really not very mysterious. Generally speaking, of course.

  2. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, September 27, 2010 at 6:17 p.m.

    Unfortunately for marketers, TV reaches fewer people with higher CPMs because the target audience has too many competing choices. Hardly the halcyon days of ABC-CBS-NBC. And attracting a large audience is not the same as getting viewers to watch the commercials, especially when DVR penetration is 37 percent. We can be nostalgic for how well the system worked years ago, but it's time to move on.

  3. Terrance Burzynski from WWSB ABC 7, September 30, 2010 at 3:56 p.m.

    DVR penetration is approximately 37% but usage is still at about 5% depending on the source. The fact is that people watch more television today than ever before and the trend is not going to stop any time soon. Google is working on new ways to integrate the web into our televisions, not the other way around. Audiances are much more spread out now, but the networks still hold a vast majority of viewers.

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