I just wrapped up my report on the future of television: “Digital Disruption Rattles the TV Ad Market.” And, while I was interviewing and exchanging views with advertisers and senior TV industry executives, a clear and surprising find emerged…

I wasn’t surprised to hear visions of dynamically targeted ads to deliver the right message to the right household. Neither was I surprised by the dream of synching messaging on the living room screen to the screen in people’s hands. Nor was I surprised that many in the industry still want to shoehorn these new ad opportunities into the old Nielsen rating model of the TV ad market.

What surprised me was the general optimistic outlook that these new developments will bring even more dollars to the TV ad market.

For decades, talk of the impact of cable television, VCRs, DVRs, online advertising, etc. has usually predicted the end of TV’s reign as marketing’s most powerful medium. New technologies would sap advertising effectiveness and splinter the audience. New advertising opportunities would be more engaging and measureable than the soft branding of TV.

But the fact is, the opposite happened: TV is stronger and more important than ever. Even as prime time TV audiences have shrunk, fragmenting across hundreds of channels on the cable spectrum, the rest of the media landscape has fragmented and faded even faster.

But perhaps I should amend my statement that TV is more important than ever: something like “video entertainment content originally created to be broadcast on television networks is stronger and more important than ever.” As these programs find new audiences, on new devices, at new times in viewers’ lives, it creates opportunities for video advertising to draw more dollars and more advertisers to it.

But the box we call a “television” is not the only device on which people view video entertainment content. And broadband Internet is rapidly joining coax cable and satellite connections as the superhighway to bring this content to viewers.

As a result, live viewing audiences are declining, and new kinds of viewing and engagement – along with opportunities to get high-impact marketing messages in front of the audience – are emerging. But current responses like pushing for a C7 measurement standard or simply bundling online views into packages with live views are only short-term reactions that ultimately must fail.

It is fascinating to watch as programmers, cable and satellite providers, and advertisers try to catch up to this fast-moving change in consumers’ viewing behaviors.

Join me at the Forrester Marketing Leadership Forum “Create Brand Advantage with the Perpetually Connected Customer” in Los Angeles April 18-19, where I’ll be presenting details of my new research.

Where better to talk about the future of television than in LA!