An article by Louise Story in yesterday's New York Times provides an interesting account of Google's plans to launch further into traditional advertising to secure its footing in the advertising world.
According to Story, "Google has been leading the way, building on its online ad strength by striking deals to sell advertising in traditional media like newspapers and radio." This is being echoed by plans for eBay to include an ad-buying system for television spots and Yahoo's deal with newspapers to include offline ad sales.
There's some degree of concern, according to the story, among traditional advertising firms that Google and its competitors have gained such a strong footing in the online worlds that they may be able to offer cross-platform ad deals that will steal substantial business away from more traditional advertising routes. Gene DeWitt was quoted as saying, "The fox is in the henhouse and it's going to gobble a good part of this business up before anybody realizes they're history."
While these types of deals provide the synergistic market we're looking for when we talk about convergence and transmedia, there's no doubt that some more traditionally structured companies will suffer as companies better able to adapt to a shifting media environment provide bridges among multiple meida forms.
According to Story's story, "Next month, Google plans to sell radio ads through the online auction system it uses to sell Internet ads. And it has indicated to analysts that it is considering moving into TV and direct-mail ads."
As Google leads the charge into traditional advertising bastions, traditional firms better suit up and be prepared to offer innovation and services that Google can't or at least compete with what eBay and Yahoo! and Google can do.
Be sure to check out the article, which admittedly may contain a high degree of hyperbole, for more on this transition period. Even if the presence of these online companies becomes somewhat overstated, the fact that this is a major transition period for the advertising industry can't be denied.