I’ve never ranked my five screens. But according to CBS boss Leslie Moonves, my television is definitely No 1. That makes sense. CBS is, after all, in the television business. And when it comes to watching TV content, Moonves is right — I tend to watch it on my TV. But his phrasing – first screen – puts a spotlight on just how chaotic things really are out there. From The New York Times:
Yes, the CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves joked about having a page on Pinterest, the social Web site, but the real take-away from his Carnegie Hall presentation on Wednesday was the phrase “first screen first.” As the image of a flat-screen television was projected above him, Mr. Moonves said, “We love social media enhancing our product but most importantly, with all of this, everyone is still talking about the first screen.”
So far so good. But what do the buyers have to say?
But newer — and sometimes, smaller — screens had to be brought up at all the television presentations, if only to satisfy advertising buyers and sellers who spend a lot of time thinking about how to incorporate the Web into their media plans. As the “newfronts” demonstrated — those were digital versions of upfronts held by YouTube, Hulu, Yahoo, AOL and others earlier this spring — TV and the Web are slowly looking and sounding more like each other.
Wow! What an interesting turn of phrase from Brian Stelter and Stuart Elliott, who wrote the Times coverage. “Smaller screens had to be brought up… if only to satisfy advertising buyers and seller [emphasis added].”
Yup, that pretty much nailed it. Networks are changing. But don’t confuse change with excitement. TV stalwarts like Moonves are now selling a one-two punch. First, TV is number one – so don’t forget that! Second, they’ve got a lot to offer on all these other platforms – so don’t complain or call us out of touch!
The funny thing is, I don’t disagree with Moonves. TV is still the leading screen and networks are making their biggest push yet to engage with their digital future. But so what? The future is still coming, no matter what you say. And I’m by no means convinced that the future has to be TV-centric. Honestly, reading between the lines, I’m not sure Moonves believes that either. After all, when was the last time you heard a TV CEO remind advertisers that their medium was No. 1?
Frankly, these worlds are coming together. But even as that happens, paradigms can, and do, shift. When I started writing about digital, the Portal model was not only the present, it was the only future many of us could envision. Of course, some of us were working on search, which changed everything. And a few years later, we shifted to social, which changed everything again.
I’m not rooting for TV to fall down or lose its place at the center of the media universe. I’m just not so sure thinking that way really helps anyone.
Certainly, brands aren’t thinking about a media universe with an all-powerful center. Sure, brands still need TV. But TV isn’t enough anymore. Just ask Nike. It’s latest
ad content is clearly way beyond anything we’ve seen on TV.