Web the New TV Brand Builder: NAMIC Panel

The biggest and best new brands in telecommunications may not come from cable and broadcast television, but from the Internet, according to several industry executives speaking at a recent National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications event.

Tanya Van Court, Nickelodeon’s senior vice president of pre-schooling and parenting online, said during the Dec. 6 NAMIC New York Digital Media panel that the days of having to build a television brand through broadcast and cable-operator gatekeepers are over due to the explosion of broadband video.

She added that the growing mass appeal of user-generated sites like YouTube and MySpace have provided a pipeline for anyone to reach millions of eyeballs without having to knock on the door of cable operators or established television brands like Disney and Viacom to showcase their wares.

"In the old-media world, television was the place to create brands," Van Court said. "In the new-media world, the Internet is the place to create brands, and those brands will be moving from the Internet into the television space."

But Walter Delph, Verizon Communications and FiOS TV director of content and programming, said it’s too early yet to write off the traditional cable or television model, adding that user-generated sites are just another genre choice for consumers seeking to find the best video content in the marketplace.

He said most viewers will inevitably migrate to professionally created content developed by recognizable and trustworthy brands, whether it’s the major Hollywood studios, music labels or cable and broadcast channels like Nickelodeon and The Weather Channel.

"I think the user-generated platform is another genre like sports and news -- it something different for people to watch that they didn’t previously have access to," Delph said. "Do I think traditional TV is going away? No. Do I think people will watch TV in different ways? Absolutely."

On the employment side, Branden Smith, manager of mobile-business development for TWC Mobile, told attendees to take courses on new media, adding that today’s online environment is an up-and-coming industry that could be lucrative for people of color who educate themselves on the new technology.

In other NAMIC news, the organization announced that Alicin Reidy-Williamson, senior VP of corporate responsibility and public affairs for MTV Networks and Viacom, will serve as chairman of the NAMIC board of directors, replacing outgoing board chair Manish Jha, senior VP and general manager of Mobile ESPN. Jha will continue his board affiliation in his new role as immediate past chair.

New appointees to the NAMIC board include: James Brown, senior VP of field sales for Disney and ESPN Media Networks; Lino Garcia, GM of ESPN Deportes; and Liz Janneman, senior VP of cable ad sales for TWC Media Solutions.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.