Commentary

Maybe TV Should Sell More Than Shows

TV station groups are finally getting the message: Get closer to your viewers. Much closer than just giving them the news. Give them consumer product deals.

Tegna, the big Virginia-based TV station group, is doing that with DealBoss, a business for TV stations digital platforms. It gives viewers special product prices, discounts, product information and all sorts of products and service promotions.

Now there are plenty of other TV stations group that have invested in retail connected companies, including Tegna, which once owned Cars.com. But it hasn’t gone far enough.

It’s all well and good for companies to work on addressable and programmatic efforts -- or focus on a new TV tech standard -- to broadly help themselves or TV marketers. The next generation of media companies will do much more.

This is where Amazon comes in.

The big ecommerce digital company is now dipping its toes in TV and movie production, when it comes to its new digital subscription video service, Amazon Prime.

Amazon looks to spend $4 billion on TV/film content this year. Some are saying Amazon is a sleeping giant -- pairing its overall retail business with TV and movie consumer revenues will be the next phase of truly integrated marketing plans.

The originator of all this is Walt Disney. For years, analysts looked at its parks and resorts as the real mothership of the company. Disney’s movies and TV shows were there to support and drive attendance to its theme parks and resorts.

Legacy media of all types needs to find the next big thing. And they could be heading in the wrong direction.

AT&T thinks that comes with DirecTV and now Time Warner. Walt Disney believes international business from Fox and a controlling Hulu service might be the answer.

Nearly two decades ago, we had AOL buying Time Warner -- which many believed would be the model for what new media companies should become. A few short years after this marriage failed, we had the rise of Google and Facebook.

And where is AOL now? And Time Warner? They are both with communications companies -- Verizon (for AOL) and AT&T (Time Warner).

Is modern media thinking really focused on what consumers need? If so, it needs to stop phoning in ideas. 

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