Just when most critics of TV were convinced online platforms had nailed the TV coffin shut, a resurrection of sorts is happening. And of all places, that TV resurrection is happening because of the online platforms we thought would would kill it. This year alone, online companies like Vice Media, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post and others are moving into new territory: traditional broadcast television.
Why in the world is this happening? There’s a handful of reasons:
1) TV has a more stable and lucrative advertising business. The online world still struggles to figure out how to be profitable, and although some have cracked it, there’s not a common model that works everywhere like it does on TV.
2) Partnerships between media sources. For instance, BuzzFeed is benefitting from a reported $200 million investment from NBCUniversal, which opens the door for cross-over programming opportunities.
3) Less expensive failures. Online platforms can test short form and experimental TV ideas faster and cheaper than the production of full TV pilots. Online audiences have proven to be good indicators of success or failure.
4) Licensing deals. TV has licensing systems that allow programming to live on various platforms for decades and continue to make money.
The founder of The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington has said, “The changes happening in the television business, and digital media now resembles in many ways what cable looked like in the 80s. There are tremendous opportunities to reach audiences in new ways.”
If you have a message to share with a big audience, it’s too early to give up on television as an option.
Look for more online platforms to debut on broadcast TV and we’ll see if the two formerly competing media platforms can work out a truce for the benefit of the audience.
Here’s an interesting look from The Wall Street Journal: