The latest episode of “This Week in Google” on Leo Laporte’s TWiT network is worth a listen. It includes a discussion of the continuing shift from traditional TV to the web.
At the heart of the conversation is money. What kind of production value can we expect as the audiences continues to shrink? Can local television stations continue to support the infrastructure that creates local newscasts?
Networks have a tough choice. Google TV is now in the wild but some programming is being blocked. Can we still expect all users to come to the TV set to watch? Certainly some would prefer to watch on their computers. The move to bypass the local affiliate continues and the trend can only increase (see the ABC app for the iPad).
Here is the heart of the problem. The old system of ratings is built on “maybe”. A couple hundred meters in a market suggest, by extrapolation, that a large number of people are watching, but we never really know how many. Away from TV we can get a much better count of who is using our product. Same thing with newspapers. You can load up a paper with hundreds of ads, and “maybe” some percentage of readers will see the ad in the lifestyle section, but advertisers pay for closer to the total reach. One story on one web page can only hold a few ads and fewer people will see it. Advertisers are going to continue to demand more accountability for their dollars.
The path for us seems clear. If users are going to disburse to other platforms, with no hope of stopping them, shouldn’t we go an meet them there…and there…and there…and there…and…