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Michael Wolff Starts A Meaningful Debate

By Amy Caplan, SVP - Sales Strategy & Communication

This summer, journalist and media provocateur Michael Wolff released Television is the New Television: The Unexpected Triumph of Old Media in the Digital Age opening a much-needed dialogue around the real versus perceived value of digital media in comparison to Television.

Whether you whole-heartedly agree with Wolff’s assessment–where TV is king and digital media only wishes it could be– or find his theories to be baseless, at least everyone can agree that the topic makes for a great media industry debate.

With that in mind, we invited Michael to join us in November as a keynote speaker at Leading The Change, Univision Communication Inc.’s annual two-day gathering of marketers.

His opening: “In the clash between new media and traditional media does someone have to lose in order for someone to win?”

Want to start a debate at your own corporate holiday party? Below are 4 memorable points from Wolff’s presentation sure to elicit a passionate response– even from Janice in accounting.

  1. He who owns the content has the power. The most important change in the media business is not the advent of digital, but the changing definition of TV from a 100% ad supported “piece of furniture” to a business with multiple revenue streams, from licensing to retransmission fees, all based on the extraordinary value of owning content people love.
  2. The sky is not falling. According to Nielsen, TV viewing is down.  But what Nielsen is measuring the piece of furniture in the living room, not the same content consumed on other screens, which is consistently growing. In fact, “75% of the bandwidth that’s used in the U.S. is used to watch television on computer screens.”
  3. Audience matters. Traffic does not. “Buzzfeed now brags of traffic close to 200 million unique visitors a month.  That’s twice the size of the Super Bowl audience.  But the Super Bowl, does almost $1 billion in business on its 100 million size audience, whereas Buzzfeed with traffic 2x the Super Bowl makes $10 million.”
  4. Digital media wishes it were in the TV business. “Netflix, the theoretical disrupter of the television industry will pay the television industry $6 billion in licensing fees this year.” This fall Hulu signed a three-year $200 million dollar licensing deal for the South Park library. YouTube’s launch of Red, an ad-free paid service, signals their desire to “get out of the cat video business and into the actual television business.”

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