It's Not TV, It's Video: As the Third Annual Digital Content NewFronts Begins, Marketers Must Embrace the Transition into the Post-Television World

By Rothenberg, Randall | ADWEEK, April 28, 2014 | Go to article overview

It's Not TV, It's Video: As the Third Annual Digital Content NewFronts Begins, Marketers Must Embrace the Transition into the Post-Television World


Rothenberg, Randall, ADWEEK


Ad agencies, marketers and the media are awash with buzz about the competition between the Digital Content NewFronts and the subsequent broadcast network upfront marketplace.

But all the gossip and prognostication miss an essential fact: Digital video is not television. The NewFronts is not an assault on this classic medium. Rather, digital video represents a culmination of television and the start of a post-television world. Granted, it's clear how this misunderstanding came to be. There's little precedence for the unfolding of digital video--a medium that can appear so similar to existing, predominant media yet is such a dramatic evolution from its apparent kin.

Already in its young life, digital video can do everything that television can--it can easily deliver big brand, direct response and local advertising, just like the TV set in your den has done for so many decades. Its producers and networks can already create entertaining and culturally relevant programming that assembles valuable audiences. Premium video content is truly premium by the highest measure: cultural cachet. In 2013, Netflix proved its chops as an original content producer when it won an Emmy Award for Best Director for House of Cards.

To many, the trajectory of digital video may appear to mirror that of cable. In the early days of cable, naysayers questioned its reach and the value of its niche audiences, just as they do digital video today. Cable networks once relied on repurposing existing content, but as the competition for inventory heated up, cable networks began producing their own programming, similar to digital video.

Since the advent of the modern cable era in 1980, hundreds of cable networks have cropped up without decimating broadcast television's big networks. Rather, this multiplicity provided marketers with a trove of new opportunities to connect with their target consumers. Already this is the case with digital video, but at an even greater scale than cable has provided. …

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