Former AOL President and MTV founder Bob Pittman has lately focused on investments as head of the Pilot Group (he is a pilot). In an interview with broadband consultant Will Richmond’s VideoNuze on the eve of the NATPE show in Las Vegas, Pittman says he is bullish on small market TV stations — and their online prospects.
“In small markets, newspapers and Yellow Pages are getting wildly disproportionate share of the revenue, so we think there’s a great growth opportunity,” says Pittman. “In smaller markets the station’s coverage area nicely matches the advertiser’s reach goals. It’s also a fantastic free cash flow business.”
Online, Pittman’s stations are setting up “what are in essence ‘newspapers online.’ In our smaller markets, we’re not competing with Google or MSN, so we can get large local audiences, which allow us to better serve our advertisers.” But Pittman says there is only limited opportunity with such efforts. “I don’t think broadband is competitive with TV. Putting TV shows on the Internet is nice, but you’re talking about small audiences.”