How Television Has Become the Newest New Media

Viewing via IP addresses takes the tube 2.0

As a salesman, I get the pleasure of having conversations with marketers on a daily basis. And, as marketers should, you're asking many questions to ensure your campaigns are getting the best results and your brands are reaching the right audiences.

Every day, we are asked questions like "What is Hulu's median age?" (it's 33), "How do we index against millennials?" (we index at 159), and "What are your most popular shows?" (what's popular on TV is popular on Hulu). And, those are all really interesting questions that I'm sure I'll field during our NewFronts presentation next Wednesday, May 4.

But those questions and answers come from yesterday's play book. Hulu's median age really doesn't matter. What matters is that we can pinpoint any age group advertisers are trying to reach. It doesn't matter how we index against millennials or any other audience segment. Why bother with indices? What matters is that we can deliver 100 percent of an advertiser's target segment. And while popularity of programing is directionally interesting, what's more interesting is the ability to buy against both heavily streamed shows and shows that are heavily viewed by your target audience.

In other words, we need new questions for this new media called "TV." Wait, what? "New media" was what everyone called that whole content-in-a-browser-dial-up-internet thingy about 20 years ago. TV on the other hand is traditional media. Some might call it "conventional media." But I assert that the most conventional of media—TV—is new media.

Here's why.

The entire definition of TV is changing, and the ability of viewers to watch TV through an IP address is the biggest driver. The opportunity to device- and place-shift viewing on digital platforms and internet-connected TVs has been rapidly adopted by consumers. Nielsen, comScore, Symphony and others are racing to paint the most complete picture of these shifting viewers—viewers who are way ahead of all of us, by the way.

We're well underway in the transition from a one-to-many broadcast model to an ever-expanding addressable advertising market. Addressable TV represents a huge opportunity to use media automation and data-driven targeting to serve with unprecedented precision. Data and advertising have been like peanut butter and jelly for a long time in areas like direct response mail. But the surge of data use for targeting TV? That's new media.

Another example of TV's shift to new media is that brands have more freedom with their creative. When TV is delivered via IP, where we are not anchored to a programming grid, we can experiment with new creative types and lengths. Sure, 15- and 30-second spots are welcomed in these environments, but interactive ads and creatives of varying lengths—the ones that drive more viewer engagement—are all welcomed in this new media landscape.

With the arrival of TV as new media, to borrow a phrase, "It's time to think different and ask new questions."

Peter Naylor (@prnaylor) is svp of sales, Hulu and chairman of the Video Center of Excellence @IAB. Hulu's NewFronts presentation is Wednesday, May 4 from 9-11 a.m.