By Robert Davidman

For as long as I can remember I have been telling people that a medium doesn’t die but rather gets augmented. People still listen to radio, they still watch TV, and they still read the newspaper. What’s changed is how they do these things. 

For all the advances in technology the one thing that has yet to be invented is an extra hour in the day. Out of the 24 hours in a day, 16-18 of our hours are spent awake and the remainder in pursuit of sleep. There are so many media choices that we can’t possibly fit them all into one day. By nature, we humans are inclined to diversify our activities and spend less time in any one particular medium, spreading ourselves out across the spectrum of options.

When the marketplace starts buzzing about the TV upfronts being soft this year what they are leaving out is the fragmentation that is constantly occurring with media consumers. The big media companies will definitely see a decrease in “linear TV” spend this coming year. How could they not? As more people shift their viewing behaviors from linear TV to online, mobile and other on demand platforms, it stands to reason that linear TV advertising will take a hit. Marketers have to use the same budgets to reach the same people, albeit across a variety of media.

As we look to the big companies during this upfront season, it will be interesting to see where they see the market going and to see how they plan to adapt. The challenge to the big media companies is to embrace the changes. Linear TV isn’t the clear media leader that it once was. Immediacy of data and marketers need to optimize makes buying upfront harder to justify.

So net/net, if the big media companies look at how they can embrace the modern augmentations of their business they will see increases over last year in total dollars to them. It’s when you silo the linear TV that we will see decreases.