Digital Media Overtakes TV In Ad Revenues

Much has been made about digital media overtaking TV -- at least when it comes to advertising revenues. But look deeper -- there are not clear battle lines.

Magna Global says digital ad spending will reach $209 billion worldwide -- 41% of the market -- in 2017. TV will total $178 billion for a 35% share in the same year.

While headlines talk generally about where the overall market is moving, it is a bit more nuanced. Which specific players stand to gain from those ad revenues?

The digital media heavyweights -- Google, Facebook and a growing Amazon -- continue to gain power. But they still envy the big traditional TV-media players -- Walt Disney, Comcast Corp, NBCUniversal and 21st Century Fox -- which command valuable brand-centric entertainment franchises.

Google, Facebook, and Amazon seek TV-related business efforts -- virtual services of live, linear TV networks, on-demand video platforms, as well as streaming big TV franchises, like the NFL.



For its part, traditional media sees the danger -- long-term.

While they still control much premium TV/movie content, newbies like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Apple are finally realizing that even with major risks in the creative process, it is necessary to get into the game in a big way.

And that means spending billions -- year after year.

Netflix, for one, looks to rival -- if not exceed -- traditional TV companies' production efforts.

Maybe that’s why Fox has decided to take a different path -- focusing on live TV, news and sports, as well as its big broadcast and cable networks. Maybe it’s an arena it can no longer play in -- especially when it comes to billions in entertainment TV production/programming.

For its part, Walt Disney seems to feel -- in the long-term -- that it needs to bulk up many different pieces of the entertainment puzzle. That means more studio content, regional sports networks and general-interest cable networks (FX Networks) to diversify from ESPN.

Ultimately, it’s not that digital media grows as a competitor to legacy media players, but how much of the digital media dollars will go to traditional media -- either through license fees to Netflix or in selling ad time on new digital platforms/apps.

Us versus them? Maybe just us.

1 comment about "Digital Media Overtakes TV In Ad Revenues".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 12, 2017 at 3:51 p.m.

    Same old story, Wayne. TV still leads digital media by a huge margin in branding ad spending. Consequentially, the overal "ad spend" stats have little significance as digital hasn't "overtaken" TV as the primary communications platform for TV-style advertising at all. It's got a long way to go---not that it's impossible as both media are in the process of melding together---but it's not a done deal---not yet.

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