Traditional Media Companies Answer Internet Wake-Up Call — After Sleeping In

After hitting the snooze bar one time too many, traditional media companies are waking to a game of catch-up with entry fees in the billions. News Corp. is buying traffic as it forms a unified digital strategy. Time Warner, no stranger to spending online, is changing the way it spends as it looks for ways to take advantage of widespread broadband access. Viacom is trying to protect its youth franchises. And they’re all trying to do it without cannibalizing the viewers/listeners/readers they already have.
News Corp. CEO Peter Chernin told WSJ’s Julia Angwin the wake-up call for his company came from Yahoo: “We’d been reading all these comments from Yahoo about getting into the content business.” In the last three months, News Corp. has made deals that will bring its traffic to a more-than-respectable 70 million uniques a month; more important, many of those uniques will be in the coveted youth demos because the traffic builders include MySpace.com, IGN and Scout.
Also from Angwin’s story, this gem of a comment from Mike Dolan, CFO-MTV Networks: “Last year’s MySpace was Friendster. Now it’s about as cool as yesterday’s newspapers. You have to be really careful and you don’t really want to plunk down blank checks, and new things are always coming down the pipe.” That would be the same Viacom that vied for MySpace.com but was outbid by News Corp. A similar scenario played out over IGN. The stance since then — Viacom was being prudent by not spending as much as News Corp.