Panel debates future of television

Discussion puts focus on TV, Internet

They have looked into the crystal ball of television’s future. Their verdict: cloudy.

What kind of content will continue to work on TV and what will migrate to the Internet was an underlying theme during a panel at the OnHollywood conference Tuesday.

NBC Entertainment co-chair Marc Graboff believes the two mediums will continue to co-exist. “Our research shows that the Internet is not cannibalistic,” he said. “There will be network TV, but not exactly as we know it now. Big events like the Oscars will be its purview.”

BermanBraun co-founder Lloyd Braun believes that there’s a financial discrepancy between TV and online content that’s hard to bridge. “Some content works well online, but when you try to apply a TV business model to that, it just doesn’t pan out.”

Graboff agreed, citing the web series “Quarterlife” created by Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick in 2007. When it migrated to NBC, “there was massive rejection,” he said.

Braun said that the very definition of a hit needs to be revised for the Internet. “People are conditioned to think of hits as single programs,” he said. “That’s not going to work online, where Hulu is a hit, Twitter is a hit.”

Panelist Patrick Barry, veep of Yahoo!’s Connected TV, recalled that during Braun’s brief stint at Yahoo, sandwiched between his ABC career and his new shingle, Yahoo! had more original content than it does now. “It was an idea whose time had not yet come,” he said.

Speaking separately at the same event, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington warned that attempts to protect TV content by controlling access to it simply won’t work. “Promiscuity is the new exclusivity,” she said.

The key to monetizing online content, she told Variety, is to embed sites with links to video content. “These drive traffic to your site, which in turn drives advertising.”

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