As Seen On TV

There’s more confirmation of the link between TV and the Web in the latest monthly audience numbers from Media Metrix.

The company has changed its methodology, aggregating all hits to a company’s sites, so it’s no surprise that AOL is number-one and Microsoft is number-two. The real news isn’t even Disney’s Go Network, which is fifth. It’s down on page two, where NBC’s Snap.Com is 19th, with 6.433 million visitors, right behind C|Net.

This fact proves a trend we’ve seen for some time. To get big Web ratings, you must be seen on TV. Snap has not gotten into the rankings because it built a better mousetrap. Snap has gotten into the rankings because NBC is giving it tons of free advertising.

Now, don’t lose heart entirely. There are some Web-only companies on the Media Metrix lists. GoTo.com, which is suing Disney over its logo, is a member of the top 500. So are RealAudio’s RealSite, InfoSpace, eBay, Excite, Amazon and AltaVista. But for the most part these sites are only holding their audiences, not gaining substantial share. It’s TV that’s driving the biggest Web numbers.

While TV broadcasters have succeeded in building an audience, it’s still unclear whether they’re driving commerce, or gaining profits from their efforts. My guess is that profits and sales will come with time. If the product or service you sell has any relation to any of these networks, and if you can show positive cash flow, now might be the time for you to knock on a network’s door and offer a deal. Based on the raw audience figures, however, expect some hard bargaining. The network suits know now that the idiot box drives the herd, which means they may think you can be replaced.

What do you think? Let’s talk about it.

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