TV stations’ current focus of streaming existing content and selling banner ads isn’t going to cut it in the future, according to panelists at BIA’s Winning Media Strategies conference. Instead, broadcasters should be focusing on developing new ways and means of engaging users, using new technologies and dedicating sales people to new media.
Despite the years-long hoopla about the Web’s potential, the majority of broadcast companies still don’t have a clear plan about how to maximize their use of new platforms — meaning only the most forward-thinking companies are making real money from their digital endeavors, according to experts.
“Most businesses don’t have a vision for the Internet,” said researcher Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates. “There is no company statement or vision, in many cases, about what the Internet represents.”
Borrell was one of the three industry experts who explored ways broadcasters can make the most of the Web on Wednesday as part of the BIA Advisory Service-sponsored conference, Winning Media Strategies 2009. The conference, being held in Washington, continues today.
The other panelists — Ray Mena, co-president of Emmis Interactive, and Daniel Anstandig, president of McVay New Media — echoed Borrell’s comments, saying that broadcasters’ won’t make money on the Web unless they dedicate resources to developing and selling on-line endeavors.
In 2008, on-line revenue accounted for an average of 3 to 5 percent of TV broadcaster’s revenue, according to Anstandig. That number is expected to increase to rise to 5 to 8 percent this year, he said.
To rise about that, however, broadcasters need to look creatively at how to use the Internet as a new and innovative platform, rather than merely an extension of an existing TV or radio station, panelists said.
Doing so, they said, means investing time and money in developing new business strategies including content, dedicated sales forces and wooing both users and clients who may otherwise go untapped.
“Broadcasters have to ask themselves if they are going to treat [digital endeavors] as a hobby or a businesses,” Mena said, explaining that broadcasters’ current focus of streaming existing content and selling banner ads isn’t going to cut it in the future.
Instead, companies should be focusing on developing new ways and means of engaging users, using new technologies and dedicating sales people who know how to sell new platforms to new and existing clients.
“The problem now is that companies are putting so little resources into the interactive area that it’s hard to monetize it,” Mena said.
Using the Web in a strategic way also gives broadcasters concrete means for learning what does — and doesn’t — work, he said.
Unlike spot ads, the success of which can be measured only anecdotally, on-line endeavors give broadcasters concrete means for tracking usage.
“Your success is measurable, your failures are measurable,” Mena said.
“At the end of the day, it’s about creating a profitable outcome for the station,” he added.