Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

AOL CEO says broadcasters should ‘let go’

May 17, 2007

AOL LLC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Randy Falco Former NBC chief Randy Falco has some advice for TV and advertising industry bigwigs: be more experimental and mindful of the opinions of your viewers and customers.

Falco, now Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AOL LLC, told the Reuters Technology Media and Telecoms Summit that TV and advertising decisionmakers must have the “guts” to listen to the opinions of their customers, especially as the ways they experience media change.

I came from a business [where] you were a one-way publisher. And so are advertisers by the way. They came up with a show… and you just published it. You didn’t expect to hear back from your customers (or) your viewers. It was a supply economy, and we are so much now into a demand economy.

[Consumers] are not just going to sit there and take it. They are not just going to sit there and watch a 30-second spot if they have an alternative. They are in control. What’s great about the Internet is that it is a constant two-way conversation, and if you have guts enough to listen, you can iterate your way to sucess.

The broadcast side of the business has to open itself up to its customers. Advertisers have to open themselves up to customers, and they have to let go a little bit. Everybody wants to hold to everything and the Web is telling them that in order to be successful, you have to let go. You have to get it out there and let people play with it.You have to let people tell you what they think of it. And you actually have to listen.

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