free html hit counter Well, Sorta, Bob... - John Battelle's Search Blog

Well, Sorta, Bob…

By - February 02, 2009

Speaking at a business school, former AOL honcho Bob Pittman said:

“Television is still America’s hobby. … I don’t think there’s a chance that the Internet is going to replace television,” he said. “It’s not going away, it’s still the most persuasive of all media.

“Internet video is usually about three minutes long and is either wildly entertaining or wildly informative, but it’s not doing the same thing as television.”

Well, no. The Internet won’t kill video. It’ll just eat it entirely, assimilate it, and turn it into a function of the web. Once television becomes an application of the web, it’ll be much, much better. I for one can’t wait.

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15 thoughts on “Well, Sorta, Bob…

  1. Television is still America’s hobby, internet just another product for people.

  2. Sampad Swain says:

    …and that makes us two for Internet gobbling up old media 🙂


  3. Alx Klive says:

    The Internet is just pipes at the end of the day. When TV’s are sold with Wi-Fi connections the convergence with online video will truly begin.

  4. TUWD says:

    Hey Bob Pittman, your statement about 3 minute long videos is as outdated as AOL. Try Googling “Hulu” & “bittorrents” and then see if you’d like to revise your statement.

  5. Albert Francis says:

    I don’t understand where this whole “TV will go away” thing is coming from?

    Did books go away when radio came? No.
    Did radio go away when TV came? No.
    Will TV go away now when we have the internet? No.

    Each technology just adds on another. Sure, TV as we know it will change, but will it go away? No, not any time soon… Get over it already!

  6. Timothy Post says:


    Always the diplomat )))) Way to bite your tongue…. sort of. There’s a reason that his name is prefaced with the word “former.”

  7. dizi says:

    thank good share

  8. LaRon Carter says:

    Hope this quote wasn’t taken out of text. Things get so messy when that happens. In all fairness I’m not up on Bob’s AOL departure from leading the Internet Giant. But, to compare TV with Internet video to usually being about three minutes long is scare fully novice in depth. Just take a look at how CNN creatively partnered with face book to make history on inaugural day. Don’t sleep on Current TV and it’s schedule of real television networks. And once online TV companies master interaction with the viewer for tailored made entertainment, marketing, and education as Permission TV’s Smart Player is proposing, leveraging traditional TV will tilt. John, I’m digging assimilate. | @laroncarter

  9. Liz Hover says:

    John – I love your pithiness. I largely agree with you. But caution us all not to write off TV as per LaRon Carter’s comment.

  10. mike says:

    I was at AOL when Pittman briefly ran the show. I remember him standing on the stage in the Seriff Auditorium proclaiming that broadband usage wasn’t going to gobble up our dial up business “any time soon.” Within two years BB usage eclipsed dial up usage and by then he was long gone and AOL was well on its way to irrelevance. So, he may know some things, but he doesn’t seem to have a good grasp on how people consume media.

  11. TV’s going to be delivered via the Internet. “TV” vs. Internet video is only going to differ in the format length, and interactive options. This guy doesn’t see the potential the Internet has for “television”as he’s defining it.

  12. fred wilson says:

    he should put boxee on an appletv or mac mini connected to his big screen TV and then think about that statement again

  13. Why is it that when a new technology evolves we are so quick to proclaim that the old way doing things is over?
    Yes, the internet is quickly changing the media landscape, but as far as I can tell the near future is not a world without TV but rather an integrated hybrid of many different media.

    I.e television may evolve (much as the movie business has) to be the medium of choice for people to share in a live, communal viewing experience. The web, in turn, has the ability to add depth and texture to content in a way a passive TV experience does not.

  14. nmw says:

    You should take a look at “metacrap” — have you heard of this guy (Cory Doctorow)?

    😛 nmw

  15. Cory O'Brien says:

    Hulu and Boxee and NetFlix are just the beginning. Soon, TV and the Internet will be one and the same, and a whole new world of entertainment possibilities will open up. (We’re already starting to see it with Twitter on CNN and interactive New Years Eve celebrations, but again, it’s only the beginning.)