ITV still struggling to “get” new media


Most people realise that an “internet sensation” can happen overnight, spread around the world in 24 hours, and be over within a couple of weeks. Most people, but not ITV, who are struggling to come to terms with the success of Susan Boyle on YouTube. According to estimates in this Observer article, ITV have missed out on about £1.5 million in YouTube advertising revenues, because they dragged negotiations with Google out for so long.

Still no deal has been done. Meanwhile, the wired world is already hungry for the next overnight sensation. Snip:

Yesterday ITV seemed to be moving towards rectifying a situation that has dragged on for two weeks and left experts amazed. What observers cannot understand is why the broadcaster has failed to take advantage of the millions visiting the Boyle sites – money that is now lost forever.
An ITV spokesman confirmed the company was in discussions with YouTube. He said: “ITV, Talkback Thames and Syco are exploring the options for monetising traffic on YouTube. We are delighted that Britain’s Got Talent has been such a success across all of ITV’s platforms. Obviously any deal would have to be something that worked for all parties concerned.”

On the other hand, to paraphrase another TV talent show’s title, any deal would do, if it meant capitalising on the success while it was a, you know, success.

ITV’s outgoing chairman, Michael Grade, once called YouTube a “parasite”, living off the fruits of Old Media’s labours, which of course it is. So ITV have been beavering away, trying to build a parasite-free internet presence, and failing dismally. They announced a loss of £2.5 billion, and were forced into selling their once-successful social networking site FriendsReunited. What they should have done, of course, was accepted the rat in their foundations (YouTube) and tried to find a way of living with the parasite.

Which they might do, now that Michael Grade has announced he is to step down.

Meanwhile, ITV is a classically slow-moving Old Media beast, missing opportunity after opportunity to alleviate its pain. For example, they completely missed the boat on registering URLs (web addresses) to potentially drive traffic to their sites, which cybersquatters have already done.