Media Trends + Strategy: The State of Play


Media Trends+Strategy magazine (click on the link to access the magazine in interactive format) includes a piece titled Media: The State of Play – Expert Analysis which features edited interviews with a variety of participants in the media space, including John Sintras, CEO of Starcom, Belinda Rowe, CEO of ZenithOptimedia, Collin Segelov, Executive Director of the Australian Association of National Advertisers, and myself.

My interview is below. You can also read it and the other interviews by going to the magazine from the link above – my interview is on page 30.

Further context on some of my comments is available from the Seven Driving Forces of Media and Creating the Future of Advertising.

What does the ongoing consolidation In the industry mean for marketers?

The first thing to understand is that the most powerful broad trend in media is fragmentation and while mass media remains, it is becoming a smaller and smaller proportion of the overall media landscape. So within that context, what we see is that there is consolidation within particular segments and in some of the larger players. We have seen more and more cross media ownership as regulation has eased. One of the implications for marketers is that they are increasingly being offered media packages across different segments from the same owner. This is obviously not a new trend, but as we get more and more cross media ownership, more and more marketers are being presented with these offers to access an audience through a multiplicity of different channels. From a marketers or media buyer perspective , these can only be judged on their individual merits. It really needs to be driven by the media buyer as to what is the appropriate set of media channels to reach their audience with the right message, and that may or may not tally with what is being offered by some of the larger media owners.

What does this mean for the independent media company?

There are increasing opportunities because of this world of fragmentation and the proliferation of media channels. I think that one of the key points is to look at the mechanisms to meet this fragmented media landscape. The ad networks are an increasingly important issue. They started out with Google as the first in the internet space offering their advertisers the ability to access many thousands of online sites and in the last year In the US Particularly, we have seen the growth of ad networks driven by Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!. In Australia, this is really yet to be significant, and that is partly due to the market scale –It is a much smaller market, but it means those global ad networks are able to make inroads into the Australian market. This means that the independent media company can prosper in a fragmented media landscape with the proliferation of media channels, because increasingly there are mechanisms for the media buyers to find the most appropriate outlet. If you are a large media company, you have a dedicated sales force. If you are a smaller company, you can’t support the same sales force, however the ad networks are making it easier for smaller outlets to access the most relevant advertisers whatever their industry, approach or where they are located.

Has the rapid growth in the industry been handled well by agencies?

It varies tremendously. We are seeing a number of the existing agencies that are doing very well, either through having the right strengths, hiring the right people, or positioning themselves in their clients’ eyes effectively. There are many traditional agencies that have not, so far, been so effective making the transition. Overlaid on this, we have a proliferation of new players. Some of them have literally emerged in the last year to be significant players. Others have come out of web development or similar areas, and because of their digital skills, have transferred that into an advertising or marketing context. We are also seeing consulting firms moving into this space. We are seeing a wide variety of agencies that are very competent but there are many that are significantly lagging and are going to find it increasingly challenging unless they make changes in the future.