NewTeeVee Live: How traditional media companies approach new media

VCs predict an uncertain future for Internet TV startupsQuincy Smith, president of CBS Interactive, gave a fast-paced talk at NewTeeVee Live in which he whizzed through a description of how traditional media companies like CBS approach new media opportunities like video and social networking.

He acknowledged that herd mentality rules the day for traditional media, so the objective is to try and get at least a couple of companies to move in the same direction. In general, Smith did his best to bridge the gap between old and new media, though he did defend traditional media execs by arguing that they’ve made more of an effort in recent months to understand the new media space than the other way around.

So what has Big Media learned?

More than 80% of the volume in video today is clips, not full-length episodes. Even in Asia where broadband penetration and speeds outpace the U.S., the trend is still toward viewing clips. In CBS’ case, 80% of visitors to its Web site do watch full episodes, but the focus is on bringing in new customers by getting CBS content out to the masses where ever they are on the Net. Which is why CBS has over 285 partners helping to syndicate its content online.

What Smith is looking for now is an effective way to “complete the circle” — to get people who find a CBS clip online to then turn on their TV set or click through to TiVo. He cites CBS’ success with fantasy football as a great example of this media nirvana . . . TV, mobile and PC usage all spike during CBS sports broadcasts because users are tracking the games on all three.

According to Smith, the worst mistake would be to think that the future of online content is going to just be TV regurgitated on the Web. He’s got a much bigger picture in mind.

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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