Media Perspective: New media looking to traditional media for freshest talent

It's official. Bad weather is good for media. The rain has seen ITV's audience shoot up against last year's, as viewers tucked into Coronation Street and repeats of Midsomer Murders rather than face a day at the beach, people are still reading newspapers instead of doing the garden, and the downpours can't have been bad for online business.

Now the sun's back, and all the optimism (shown in the Forum opposite) is set to collapse. Appropriate, perhaps, given media bosses are better at doing gloom.

Aside from all this meteorological stuff, it's also been easy to spot an emphasis in reports on the comeback of "old" media against the rampaging "new" media giants. So we had Google on the end of criticism that its $925 million second-quarter profits were down on the previous quarter. Meanwhile, GCap Media is staging a comeback with a 14 per cent rise on its relatively tiny July sales revenues, and ITV1's ad revenue slump is slowing.

Of course, all this is relative and is based on lamentable revenue performances from GCap and ITV1 during 2006.

But just how relevant is it to label companies "old" and "new" anyway? This week, ZenithOptimedia's TV report suggests that ITV's digital channels will make more than enough to offset declines at ITV1. That's not very "old" media, something that those who argue that broadcasters are losing out to "digital" media would do well to recognise.

Looking at things from another perspective, the "new" media operators are doing their best to roll back the years to the days when men were men and media sold on quite a basic level. Everybody on the outside can't help but admire Goo-gle's lean, effective sales operation, which delivers massive margins on search marketing. Now that it's diversifying, though, the search company is hardly winning points as a world-class sales innovator.

Take the sales approach for its sought-after homepage offer on YouTube (where advertisers can place an exclusive ad for up to £40,000 a day). Google's approach here sounds on a par with TV trading in the 80s. Agencies hardly feel bullied into taking the slot, but at the same time it must be like printing money for Google, given that every client seems to want some association with YouTube. No criticism here, but this approach can hardly be described as "new" compared with some of the interesting sales packages and offers being developed by the likes of Channel 4, Telegraph Media and, a while back, Emap Advertising.

Now Google is apparently looking to sign up very senior people from the press market who can sell traditionally, but have also had to innovate during hard times. This points to a world upside down, where much of the "new" media talent is lurking within "old" media commercial operations.