Pittman: Broadband Video is “Fringe Use”

Bob Pittman gives a rare interview to our friend Will Richmond here, and some good insights into his thinking, on the investing side, as well as his view on video/TV/broadband. His investment firm Pilot Group has bought some stakes in local TV station groups, and his interview and his upcoming keynote at NATPE convention in Las Vegas next week will focus on him promoting the value of broadcast TV, counter to the prevailing wisdom in the digital media circles these days. “Broadcast stations are greatly unappreciated….There’s no substitute for TV advertising…It’s still wildly cheap – for the most part it’s a $7-8 CPM, compared with newspapers and magazines which are $25-30. [W]e believe national advertisers will slow down spending in economic downturns, whereas in local market when you’re dealing with a local retailer he still has to sell everything that’s on the shelf, come good times or bad,” he said.

Also, on broadband video, this will raise some eyebrows: “We have to be really careful about broadband video, it’s still a very small percentage of use for most people…we have to be careful not to talk about fringe uses as if they’re going to be major uses…I don’t think broadband is competitive with TV, putting TV shows on the Internet is nice, but you’re talking about small audiences.”

And then about Internet as medium: “What the Internet has really done is replace print – things like yellow pages, newspapers and traditional research books. It’s also replaced communications – phone calls, voice mail. So when you hear these stories about the Internet replacing TV, I think they’ve got it all wrong.”

Should make for an interesting NATPE speech, for sure…

Disclaimer: NATPE is a sponsor and a partner of our company. We’re also doing an evening panel and a mixer at NATPE on Jan 30th evening…more details in another post.