Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Future of TV Remains Bright

While the buzz remains on how to successfully converge the web and TV, the financial state of television today remains healthy. The growth of large HDTV screens, the consumer preference for a "sit-back" experience for longer content, and the social elements of families viewing together, means that the ad dollars continue to be effectively spent on TV viewing, live as well as on-demand. And as Reuters suggests, "TV advertising sales are weathering the current economic storm better than media categories like radio and publishing, and perhaps even the Internet."

The writers strike may have hurt broadcast TV today, but once they get their machines running effectively again, good content should return. In the meantime, cable TV continues to offer a diverse listing of content appealing to unique audience segments. Clip viewing may be ideal for the computer, but most viewers would rather watch a half hour or longer program on a big screen. As web shows are easily downloaded to the big screen, the viewer will only have more choice to confuse them. It will then take a great on-screen navigation device and an expert or list of recommendations to help find relevant and targeted content based on the individuals likes and dislikes.

TV uniquely brings a multimedia experience to the consumer that other media do not. "For advertisers, the big advantage that TV holds over other media is that it still allows them to reach the biggest audiences at any given moment in time. It's also familiar to advertisers, who have decades of experience with 30-second spots and vast research about audience behavior." Its no secret that newspaper and magazines have seen advertising and subscription revenue fall. "Other traditional media have not held up as well, with radio and publishing both hard hit by the downturn, continuing trends that were evident even in a healthier economy. Local advertising has been the culprit, deteriorating faster than national advertising across media, even TV."

How content reaches the TV screen, from the cable company or directly from the web, may matter to the technologists. The average viewer seeks a plug and play device that simply delivers the content to their ideal screen, simply and in a straight forward way. That convergence will also enable a more accurate measurement of usage. The content that attracts the largest audience, relevant to a target demo, will appeal to advertisers, regardless of the device they view it on. And advertisers will embrace a more targeted approach to effectively reach its core demos.

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