Getting to the Business of Interactive, Just as Television Begins to Lose it

Are we there yet? The just completed Ad:Tech provided an example of more questions, not answers to this question - at least to me. Now that our industry has graduated from its VC-charged stage, and companies who participate in these show are, by and large, making money the old fashioned way, we've finally shed our delusions of grandeur mindset.

I think.

By and large, any prosperity that Ad:Tech participants are enjoying these days is the result of their own revenue engines, not the result of seven-figure checks written by people investing others' money. And those companies that are doing well are leveraging the same tenets that make money in traditional media and any other industry - creating solutions to meet a need.

That's why, in June's Ad:Tech, the next big "need" thing was email. This week, it was search, local search, vertical specific search, and search me if most of the folks there knew what they were talking about. The business of search marketing is intuitively apparent to most of us, I think. That's one of its attractions. But, the technology that makes one site appear higher than another on a response page sort of makes me glaze over.



Which brings me to television - the medium that draws viewers by embarrassing female America with the "Bachelor," embarrassing male America with "The Man Show," and embarrasses all of us with "Survivor." Any one of these highly rated programs could be regarded by what the right calls "the cultural elite" as proof that the apocalypse is near. It's silly stuff that the networks and commercial cable outlets are throwing at us these days, which is all the more reason that we should pay attention to what happened at CBS this week.

The Network of Murrow and Cronkite had produced a short miniseries, which was to air during Sweeps Week on November 16 and 18. As we all know, Sweeps Week is when networks set their advertising rates. So, they place the programming that will draw the most viewers during this timeframe. That's why the Reagan miniseries was drawn up, to draw attention a priori and entice viewers away from other networks' programming.

It all seemed to be working well until someone at CBS parent Viacom realized that most of the advance criticism of the Reagan program was coming from the same folks who Viacom needs now. We're not supposed to believe that as Viacom awaits federal action on rules to restrict ownership of local TV stations, that they would let criticism from those making these rules sway their choice of programming.

Nah - just because Viacom needs help from Republicans in the White House and Congress who might not like seeing President Reagan portrayed negatively, that shouldn't have influenced their decision to banish the show off to Showtime, a corporate cousin of Viacom-owned CBS with about a fifth of CBS' audience.


It's an interesting juxtaposition between these two media. Interactive has gone from Bambi's wobbly legs to being able to stand on its own and nimbly change direction while growing as a whole. Television continues to consolidate, continues to provide dumb and dumber programming, and is increasingly bowing to influences that are to the right of what most of us regard as conservative. (Sorry if that seems redundant).

Oh yeah - TV's share of the audience is shrinking too. Is anyone surprised?

As interactive provides more and more quantitative proof that advertisers and marketers can make it work online, we continue to provide a counter to other kinds of marketing, especially that of TV. It's one reason our market is growing as it is - slowly, and hopefully, at a rate we can sustain. Big surges in ad dollar share will come when marketers see just how many more eyeballs are coming online from television. With decisions like that made by CBS this week, borne of consolidation that is bad for all of us (except Viacom shareholders), marketing dollars' trend toward online will be accelerated.

Next story loading loading..