Digital should not try and go head to head with TV as it will never win the battle

Ben Shepherd writes: I was reading this in the SMH and was thinking that perhaps the publishers are fighting the wrong battle (or the journo is taking the wrong angle)

ONLINE publishers are moving to poach at least $100 million in revenues off TV broadcasters next year using new technology that allows them to run commercials made for broadcast TV.

This is ridiculous. FDTV and Platform 9 and pre-rolls are not substitues for TVCs running on TV.

“With the amount of time people are spending online, we should be getting 2-4 per cent [of the TV market],” said Fairfax Digital’s managing director, media, Pippa Leary. “We should be getting more than 4 per cent.”

This argument is flawed and I believe a big problem for online. It’s the ‘we represent x% of media consumption thus are entitled to more dollars at the expense of other media.” Forget about context, time of day etc … the pitch needs a bit more of a polish. Numbers are only one small part of a bigger equation.

Most media forms can mount a similar argument, the problem is it doesn’t win over new converts. Imagine if all the media forms – TV, online, newspapers, magazines, radio, sub TV – all based their pitch on comparing against other media rather than focusing on how they can answer the business objective … media would be a pretty boring place to be.

Paul Meischke from Carat: “All the publishers here are having a crack at it. I think it can work but the pricing should not be comparable to TV. I’ll pay for the size of the screen you give me. It has merit in terms of audience targeting but we’re not talking about a 52-inch plasma screen.”

Yes. TV buyers will be open to this format. why? Because they understand the idea of running TVCs – it’s not foreign to them like flash banner ads and expanding and new metrics and conversion funnels etc. The real challenge is to give them a reason to move the dollars away outside of mass consumption. Just like you can’t really track exactly who is watching a TV ad, the same goes for pre-rolls, uninitiated video, initiated video, Platform 9 tech etc as well. They are all as gray as eachother.

TVCs are great on TV. Are they great online? Maybe – depends on what you’re trying to do, how you re-cut the TVC … what destination you push to, what time you run them, what content you run them against and so on.


Liam Walsh writes:  I had to laugh about the paying for size of the screen idea. I bet the chaps in mobile would be more than a little worried if that were true.

I am right there with you Ben on the issue of usage and people bleeting that usage should translate to share of revenue. If this were true, buses and trains could charge more than channel seven in Sydney. It is a silly but pervasive argument.

But fundamentally I agree with Ms Leary that TV money can and will move online. It will be much slower than publishers would like (well at least the digital ones) and complaining about pace of shift is always unattractive. 

For the money to move faster, the online industry will need to get infrastructure in place. We are miles away from that point.


4 responses to “Digital should not try and go head to head with TV as it will never win the battle

  1. I think we are miles away from what an “ad on the web” will ultimately look like. We keep trying to push online advertising into the paradigms we know (a press add squished into a banner, a TVC playing in an MREC, etc).

    Must be like what the first TVCs looked like – a guy standing in front of a video camera reading a radio commercial. Can anyone talk about audience and context for a change and get away from the technology? It’s still a medium like any other

  2. How can you call something (FD) TV when it is just ads running one after the other? where is the TV part in that? I might go and watch Will and Grace tonight on FD TV, oh no wait, it’s just ads…

  3. I really think they are over estimating the role of video in online publishing models now and for the near future. (As distinct from peer to peer distribution of video.) Fairfax has previously said it thinks the inevitable march is towards TV on the web, and this FDTV strategy matches that rhetoric. But they’ve got their timing right out of whack.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s