A&E Exec: Having Fewer Ads Online Was “A Huge Mistake”

Viacom’s decision to pull The Daily Show off Hulu was on everyone’s mind at InteractiveTV Today’s TV of Tomorrow Show that began today in San Francisco. Mark Garner, A&E Television’s senior VP of distribution, marketing and business development, expressed sympathy for the move, saying that it was a clear sign of the space being under-monetized. “There is probably a critical mass of users,” he said, “but there is certainly not a critical mass of money.”

Hulu announced yesterday that it won’t be able to carry The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and other Viacom shows anymore and that existing shows will disappear off the site next Tuesday, March 9. Viacom apparently wasn’t happy with the ad revenue Hulu was bringing in; the network is going to exclusively distribute the shows through its own web properties going forward. Garner said that advertising on over-the-top delivery platforms like Hulu would continue to be a problem going forward. “We conditioned people to expect fewer ads, which I think was a huge mistake,” he said, adding that over the top was leading the charge on this.

Boxee CEO Avner Ronen struck a more optimistic tone, saying that the industry should stop holding on to existing models. He called the current move to online delivery “the best thing that happened to the media business,” adding that many of the existing problems like ad skipping on DVRs would disappear with online delivery. “The DVR is dying,” he said, “but that’s good news.”

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