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Networks See Changing Landscape

Execs discuss how they might benefit from technological change.

Emerging media platforms were front and center during the McGraw-Hill media confab Wednesday, with network TV executives and media buyers discussing how ads can stay relevant as technology changes.  

"Our distribution systems are second to none," said

ABC's

Mike Shaw, the

Disney

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-owned television network's president of sales and marketing. "More people get

ABC

in their houses than have phones hooked up. I don't think the Internet or any other emerging media will ever equal that." 

The debate about reach vs. effectiveness across media is an ongoing one these days, with the Internet and other so-called platforms giving audiences more control over what they consume and how they consume it.  

Tim Spengler, director of national broadcast for

Interpublic Group's

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Initiative, asked whether broadcast network television would continue to attract younger audiences. "As younger consumers grow into the

key 18 to 49 demographic, the networks might see ratings decline," he noted. 

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But Shaw argued that the networks recapture audience as teens grow older. He also pointed out that networks spend $12 billion per year on content generation and rights fees, which in turn allow

ABC

and others to produce the best content and ask top dollar for programming.  

David Poltrack,

CBS's

research and planning guru, says that hot new shows are displaying some stickiness. "The hot new shows are concentrated on network TV," he claims. 

That advantage will stop neither

CBS

or

ABC

from putting their popular content on new platforms, of course. "You will see our content migrate to any new platforms where consumers watch. I hope there's always ads at the intersection of those new environments," said Shaw.  

Poltrack followed suit, saying that the network TV model between studios and networks and affiliates is a great opportunity for the networks to "re-purpose our content" within the existing contracts with suppliers and that the emergence of new platforms will depend on "establishing new revenue sharing models" between various entities.  

Shaw, similarly, pointed to the fact that for the moment, contractually

ABC

can only put six hours of prime time on other platforms per affiliate agreements.