The vibe was strange at Ad:tech in New York last week: on the one hand, the election instilled a state of delirious euphoria on the crowd (and left no doubt as to where new media stood); on the other hand, economy-induced fear could not be suppressed, and for many was clearly triggering flash-backs to the beginning of the decade. As a result, many reassuring words could be heard, like “at least this time we’re not at the epicenter,” and “although we’ve revised our projections, we’re still forecasting double-digit growth for online advertising in 2009” (this from Geoff Ramsey, CEO of eMarketer, whose free white paper well captures the zeitgeist of hope and fear).
A few things are clear:
Some examples: Google’s announcement it will sell ad placement on YouTube search results pages, in an attempt to replicate its most successful revenue strategy to-date on the difficult-to-monetize video site. This is part of an overall strategy to make the site more attractive to professional content owners, such as MGM and CBS which recently agreed to license some of its catalog material to the site. Then there’s Fox’s MySpace, which has taken a number of recent steps to shore up revenue by featuring more professional content, including featuring Hulu videos on its Primetime lineup, and working with MTV networks and Warner Bros. on a new monetization scheme (see our Gartner first take).
Still, there are some hold-outs. At the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco, executives from Twitter and Facebook both insisted they were focused on growth and that money would come later. How much later? They didn’t say.
Meanwhile, mainstream media has troubles of its own. Viacom, for example, just saw its Q3 earnings decline 37 percent, and they, along with Time Warner, Disney, and other conglomerates (especially the ones that own newspapers) are also looking at their lowest valuations in years. The question now is, can old media and new media put their cards together and, between them, come up with a winning hand?