Exploding TV: Breaking the rules

A wake-up call to broadcasters:

“Conventional wisdom, it’s an enemy at a time like this,” said Beth Comstock, president for digital media and market development at NBC Universal, part of General Electric. “In media today, I don’t think there is a single rule that can’t — and frankly, probably shouldn’t — be broken.

“This isn’t just about driving growth,” she added. “It’s about staying in business.”

Preach it, sister.

But at this same confab, there was a wake-up call to newspapers, from consultant Gordon Borrell. If they are not careful, they will soon lose not only their monopolies but their top perches in their markets:

Mr. Borrell discussed a new report from his company showing that local television stations more than doubled their Internet ad revenue last year compared with 2004, to $283 million from $119 million. And, he predicted, the figure would climb to $410 million by the end of 2006.

But ad revenue last year for Web sites operated by local newspapers totaled $2 billion, according to the report, or more than nine times what the Web sites of the local TV stations took in….

… “All media are in flux, and flux is a great time to institute change.”

As an example, Mr. Borrell cited the Web site operated by WRAL-TV, the CBS affiliate in Raleigh, N.C., that is owned by the Capitol Broadcasting Company. The ad revenue for the site (www.wral.com) exceeds the ad revenue for www.newsobserver.com, the Web site operated by the leading local newspaper, The News and Observer, published by the McClatchy Company.

CORRECTION: Just got email from Chris Hendricks, head of online for McClatchy, forwarding a note from Borrell, saying he was misquoted by The Times. Borrell said the station has more traffic according to Nielsen data than the paper — not revenue.