TV isn’t dead.

It’s become a popular pastime to predict the demise of television advertising. While TV programming has undergone a renaissancetelevision advertising is in a mess.

TV advertising isn’t truly dying. It’s evolving. And that’s a good thing. No one is going to miss having to watch 18 minutes of irrelevant commercials for every 42 minutes of mediocre programming.

TV may not be too big to fail, but it is too important to fail. TV is the electronic heart of the home. Live event viewing is still tremendously popular. It seems clear that people want the content, they just aren’t sure they’re getting the value with a cable subscription. On-demand, streaming video is extraordinarily popular, as shown by the success of Netflix, YouTube, network sites, Hulu, Amazon, iTunes and more. Now you can get HBO GO without a cable subscription. And consumers are using more platforms than just a TV set – including video game consoles, smart TVs, Roku boxes, TiVo boxes, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and much more.

One lesson we can learn from the past is that audience fragmentation isn’t necessarily the end of the world. Life and Look magazines toppled under their own weight when they couldn’t buy the mass audience they thought they needed. But, they were replaced by special interest magazines that helped advertisers target more effectively.

Network TV is still trying to go after mass audiences, even though cable TV began fragmenting the target groups by special interest long before the Internet even appeared.

The opportunity—as it is almost everywhere for marketers—is in the data. Now we can speak to the right people without so much waste. Here’s what Forrester Research has to say (and it’s spot-on):

Advertisers’ biggest beef with TV isn’t its structure or content licensing; it’s the poor measurement available via traditional Nielsen ratings. Those ratings were fine when there were four TV stations and most people only had TV as entertainment each evening. Fortunately for advertisers, a big swing toward more useful and more complete data sources is already underway, as vendors like Rentrak, comScore, and even Nielsen, with the help of Adobe, are making it possible to target specific audiences rather than buy gross ratings points. The real power will come when you learn to connect to specific customers, whether they are watching Hulu, browsing YouTube, using your app, or connecting to your digital products. [Emphasis mine.]

Advertisers need to rethink how they approach messaging, as well. How can we captivate viewers? Is a shorter format more appropriate? Are there ways to create a more segmented—and, therefore, more relevant—strategy?

It’s clear that when TV is as addressable as email or direct mail, it has the potential to be more powerful than both.

Kristin Flor, Managing Director of Business Development, Marketing & PR, HackerAgency