NATPE 2013: Online Players Make the Case for Digital

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Miami - In one of several back-to-back digital panel sessions on opening day at NATPE, a handful of major online players made the case for their ever-expanding reach. They also acknowledged that questions linger about whether they can yet be considered true rivals to ad-supported television networks.

“It’s funny, when the Lance Armstrong interview happened, OWN was crowing about 3.1 million viewers being a game-changer, but we do at least 3.1 million every day,” said Barry Blumberg, executive VP of Alloy Digital and president of Smosh.

Each panelist made a strong case for the growth and ubiquity of digital video. “Existing brands, including all of the broadcast networks, have no choice but to be represented on YouTube,” said Allen DeBevoise, cofounder and CEO of online video producer Machinima. “There is just too much scale to ignore.”

Similar affirmations of the larger online shift followed. But Dan Weinstein, chief content officer of Collective Digital Studio, paused to offer a cautionary note.

“The real question is whether we will arrive at a standard metric for engagement,” he said. “We talk about views, but where are those views, are they domestic? International? If we can settle on that standard, we’ll have a much more compelling story to tell advertisers.”

Complete Coverage: NATPE 2013