TV/Digital Convergence Lags, But Key To Future

LAS VEGAS - Convergence of traditional TV and digital media is still hard to come by.

“We are not dealing with convergence anywhere that we should,” says Irwin Gotlieb, global chairman of Group M, speaking at a Consumer Electronics Show panel. “Business practices have always been different. TV in each country is different.” He says that legacy problems remain. “We have to work around those issues.”

But newer video technologies like the one Videology sells, including online video platforms, have a different point of view: “We don’t have a legacy business,” says Scott Ferber, chairman/CEO Videology. “We can start from scratch.”

He says this can be effective for “challenger” brands — spreading video impressions around different digital devices can improve results. “Incremental research and frequency is better than keeping all on one device.”



Debra OConnell, president ABC National TV Sales, says ABC stations are making convergence progress with its Watch apps. She says that ABC urges stations and clients to continue to pursue convergence issues.

All panelists agree that measurement remains a troubling issue, hurting the convergence of buying and selling TV media. Media sellers and buyers continue to work around these concerns. Says Gotlieb: “To quote my friend Erwin Ephron, who passed away, 'We want laser accuracy, but we’ll settle for a blunt pencil.' ”

Ferber wondered why data from Nielsen, Rentrak and others could not be merged in some sort of framework for better, deeper viewing metrics. “Keeping all the stuff in silos isn’t acceptable anymore,” says Gotlieb.

Regardless of measurement, premium TV is still a major attraction. For its advertisers, OConnell says: “We are selling their products. We are making a return on investment for them.” She adds when some marketers leave -- for one reason or another -- “we wind up seeing them come back.”

Even with all problems, Gotlieb believes convergence is coming — moving from selling spots to buying impressions, as well as seeing some real synchronization of advertising with the second screen. “The next seven years is all about systems integration.”

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