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TV 3.0: Irwin Gotlieb Says TV Is Not Dead Yet

While Henry Blodget stirred things up in the media recently by saying the TV business may be starting to collapse, Irwin Gotlieb, Group M chairman and global CEO, loudly denounced Blodget's assertion.

Speaking at the TV 3.0 event at the Paley Center, Gotlieb said he'd not read the essay in question, but noted that the Blodget family, and their admitted practice of skipping through commercials in recorded programs, was hardly indicative of the rest of the country.

"With all due respect to him, he's totally wrong," said Gotlieb, a member of the B&C Hall of Fame. "One should never do sample-of-one research."

High-earning, type A sophisticates may skip ads, said Gotlieb, but much of the country still watches live TV -- and the commercials.

In a lively interview with CNN anchor Erin Burnett, Gotlieb said the increased penetration of the DVR is normalizing viewing habits. More people are watching in real time, he said, while ad skipping is down considerably from the early days of the TiVo.

"The audience position in television is still quite healthy," he said.

But Gotlieb said the traditional broadcast model, with the networks shelling out major bucks to fund programs, and hoping to make back their costs through advertising and later syndication, is changing rapidly toward more of a broadcast-YouTube hybrid.

"I think you'll have a very different content model," he said. "It will be an interesting combination of snacks [short videos] and full meals."

Thanks to the "huge potential" of addressable ads ("it's just on the horizon") and mobile advertising, Gotlieb felt the future is bright for the media.

Mobile usage will increasingly replace traditional computer usage, he said, and its consumption patterns will resemble that of web usage too.

Ads geo-targeting users on the go, he added, spells big things for the media. "I think it will be highly monetizable," Gotlieb said.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.