Madison Avenue And Television Execs Debate The Future Of The Medium

At the TV Forecast panel in Manhattan on Monday, four Madison Avenue and television industry executives debated the future of the medium and attempted to evaluate the impact of personalized programming innovations such as TiVo, VOD, addressability, broadband video, and nanocasting on the traditional form.

"The greatest risk for a broadcaster or advertiser is to get too far out in front of the consumer," said Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) President Chris Rohrs, sounding a note of caution.

Recent TVB figures show broadcast television ad revenues flat in the second quarter of 2005 when compared with the same period last year--a reflection, many say, of the absence of political and Olympic dollars.

"The measurement issue is right at the heart of the entire discussion," warned John Billett, founder of Media Performance Monitoring America. "No advertiser is going to spend money if they can't measure something coming out of it...In the move to digital, you now have a medium where you can get immediate measurements."

Some participants saw a melding of the new technology with what they contended has always been a paid media creature, and said that participants should not be afraid to use the new tools at their disposal.

"There's no such thing as free television--it's either subsidized by subscriptions or through advertising," said Invidi CEO David Downey. "Television advertising is going to take on a lot of the characteristics of the Internet, where you can monitor your campaign on a day-to-day basis."

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