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Who Needs TV Networks?

Who Needs TV Networks? Mattel Grabs Whitney Port and Goes Right to Hulu

In what I think will become the dominant trend, Mattel are creating their own programming and going public with it via Hulu. Traditionally Advertisers/Brands rented the eyeballs that Networks and Cable aggregated (in a neat bait and switch to the viewer).

But why should Brand “rent” an audience when they can buy their own? It’s generally cheaper and more effective.

The real story here is the end-around the brand is playing here, bypassing a large spend on traditional TV with a non-trivial spend sent right to an online network (Hulu) for an original web series. Hulu and other online networks like YouTube have proven they have the scale of audience to deliver on what the brand wants to reach. So why bother with bloated TV budgets? The significance of this isn’t lost on Hudsun Media’s CEO Michael Rourke.

“What we are doing with Mattel and Genuine Ken is a complete game changer, ” said Rourke. We have created a wildly compelling, network-quality reality show that, for the first time, can be distributed directly to the viewer in a non-traditional but very effective way.”

All those charts that get marched out in board meetings about how ad spending for online video is shooting up, have projects like this to thank for such lofty forecasts. With some $70 billion spent by brands on Television, the measly $1.4 billion or so in online video seems marginal, but the shift is on.