When TV shows first started appearing online, some analysts predicted that heavy consumer migration to the Web would impact the advertising business model. But that has not been entirely the case. Writing for the New York Times, Stuart Elliott notes that there has been more synergy than erosion as marketers increase their presence online rather than replacing what they have been doing via TV.

Elliott highlights how Jim Beam is using a Web series on ESPN.com to promote its products. But excerpts of the videos will also appear on the ESPN cable channel.  Similarly, the Web series Pairings, sponsored by American Express and Constellation Brands, may soon be appearing on a cable TV channel.  And even Web-only shows such as Undercover, are using big companies like Starbucks and Anheuser-Busch In Bev to sponsor their productions.  Elliott writes, “[t]he pairings of Web video and television reflect a school of thought that the old and new media can coexist and perhaps even benefit from each other.”

In addition, younger consumers currently comprise the largest audience for online TV shows. To improve the current business model, networks are making changes to attract marketers. For example, the CW network, runs many of its shows online with limited advertisements. The current plan calls for the company to  increase the number of commercials shown per online hour from 10 to 30.  As Rob Tuck, CW’s executive vice president of network sales, puts it, “the young adult consumer sees no  difference, whether it’s the TV screen or the computer screen.”

As consumers shift their attention between the many video screens they have at their disposal, marketers and media companies will develop more complex plans to get advertising messages in front of audiences. If the recent recession has taught us anything, it is that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

[Sources: Elliott, Stuart. Old and New Media Coexisting Nicely, Thank You. New York Times. 18 Mar. 2010. Web. 29 Mar. 2010; Schechner, Sam. CW to Double Ads in Web Shows. Wall Street Journal. 26 Mar. 2010. Web 29 Mar. 2010]