Convergence of TV and PC here to stay: Isobar's Fay

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NEW YORK - Like it or not, consumers already have control of the brands, so putting control in their hands is the best way to get them to interact with the message.

According to panelists at ad:tech New York's keynote, "The Online Video Revolution: A Marketer's Dream or a Consumer-Generated Mess?" online video is the future of television.

"The convergence between television and computers is here and consumers will choose the media that they prefer," said Sarah Fay, president at Isobar Communications. "With better online video capabilities, marketers will get better at reading consumer behavior and targeting appropriately."

With this convergence of television and the Internet comes the melding of user-generated content with produced media. According to Suzie Reider, chief marketing officer of online video giant YouTube, the entertainment world has been turned upside down as musicians and filmmakers have the tools to entertain in their own hands.

"Content distribution has been revolutionized," Ms. Reider said. "The talent agent in Hollywood is not going to own that actress who waits tables at night."

YouTube is certainly the current online video leader, with 65,000 videos uploaded daily and 100 million viewers watching each day.

But there is still a role for more traditional television brands in the future of online video, according to a senior CNN executive. The news station receives 3 million video downloads a month from its Web site at www.cnn.com.

"One thing that we can offer is certainty and reliability of the news," said Jonathan Klein, president at CNN's U.S. operations. "We were threatened by the Internet because we were all news all the time, which it offered. But our brand was strong enough to be an important news site on the Internet."

In fact, both channels influence the other: online video influences program directors' decisions for airplay and the Internet drives viewers to the TV.

As the online video revolution continues to grow, the backend technology is an important factor to consider.

One of the challenges is the time of day. If too many visitors interact with the site at the same time and the system cannot host them all, a site can be shut down. But these tools are just technological issues that will be worked out in the long run.

"The tools for video are growing exponentially," said Paul Sagan, president/CEO at Akamai Technologies Inc. "In five to 10 years we will be watching DVD and hi-def quality videos online."

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