Your Opinion Matters -- But Don't Be OVERYLY Opinionated

For many years, the people in our industry were myopic.  For far too long we spoke a rhetoric about how the Internet would supplant television as the primary medium in much the same way that Buggles sang about how “Video Killed The Radio Star. It was a rallying cry for our business, and it was foolish. 

I wrote last week about how audience-based TV buying was on the way, and the comment boards lit up with discussion about whether that statement was correct, incorrect or had already come to pass.  It reminded me that nothing ever really dies off, but instead evolves -- and evolution is not a clearly defined process.  It can be difficult to predict, and predictions are often destined to be wrong or, as I said earlier, foolish.

TV is not going anywhere, but it is evolving, as is everything else.  The “Internet Of Things” was not a topic on the table at the advent of the interactive ad industry, but it represents a natural evolution when you look at it in hindsight. 



As a matter of fact, most things tend to make sense when you look at them from a historical perspective.  Consumers define the use of media and the direction in media is that of more, not less.  Some call it fragmentation, while others may refer to it as diversification -- but any way you look at it, it represents change. 

Which brings me to my point: It was foolish to think the Internet would overtake television, because that would be another example of one medium surpassing another, when what’s happening is a merger of all media into a more seamless, unified experience. In an age of seamless integration, there are no winners simply because there are no losers.

So now we arrive at a stage of business where we are examining data and using it as our primary currency. Data signals from every media channel and every vehicle within those channels can be aggregated into a single location and used to define not only the placement, but the message that will be pushed forward.  Creative and media are being defined by data -- and more data is created when we examine the endless feedback loop of performance.

It’s  foolish to argue about one channel taking over another, but we do it anyway because it creates pageviews, and pageviews create data signals.   The discussion or debate provides us an outlet for our opinions. I get that better than anyone as I sit here and write this editorial, knowing full well that many people will disagree, while others will agree with me.  That’s human nature and the nature of debate.

So why should you be reading this?

My goal is to point out that any point of view regarding winners and losers in media is pointless and, to some extent, foolish.  When you take an extreme point of view, you do yourself a disservice because you neglect to see the other side of the debate.  This idea is applicable in politics and religion, and it is certainly applicable in the debate between television and the Internet.  The truth, and the value, always lies closer to the middle. In this case the evolution of media to become digitized in some form or another can define the middle.

So the next time you’re asked to have an opinion regarding a topic, take the time to learn about it from all angles or risk being foolish in your development of a POV.  Don’t make the mistakes our industry made at the outset: downplaying the importance of television, pooh-poohing the GRP, latching onto impressions as the primary measurement.  All of these were rash decisions that challenged the growth of the business. While we’ve seen dramatic success in spite of these mistakes, history colors us somewhat as fools for having taken such a hard stance from the beginning.

1 comment about "Your Opinion Matters -- But Don't Be OVERYLY Opinionated".
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  1. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, September 25, 2013 at 11:39 a.m.

    The internet did overtake television. That's why we're having this discussion on the Internet and not on the "Interactive Televisions" that people were pushing a few years ago. It just didn't "wipe out" television. But then media are very hard to kill - for example people still use one of the oldest media of all, tablets of fired clay, for specialist purposes:

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