By Gordon Patterson
Over the past 20 years or so I’ve always found it strange how the media industry is surprised by change. Yet change is the life blood of our business. The constant evolution and occasional revolution ensures that even the most established media platforms receive a wakeup call from time to time. 2014 will be a wakeup call for many and not only because of the elections but for many other reasons that will ultimately have far more reaching consequences.
- The power of digital engagement
We are in a multi-screen commercial environment, yet much of our industry continues to separate platforms. This myopic approach not only fails the commercial ambitions of the advertiser, but ignores the behaviour of a growing number of consumers. Perhaps this view is/has been perpetuated by media owners with the most to lose but wherever it comes from, I do not believe that this will continue in 2014. Global thinking, increased pressure on delivering even better ROI performance year on year will ultimately force common sense to prevail. Digital will assume its rightful place as a direct competitor/’complimentor’ to traditional television. As this happens we will however need to understand the value of the engagement. Personally, I feel the opportunity to engage will make digital more powerful, however I have some concerns about digital’s ability to deliver immediate commercial reach… given current digital strategies.
- The build-up to DTT in 2015
The arrival of (real) broadband, the pending switch to Digital Terrestrial Television (from 2015), will have an irreversible and positive contribution to the challenges of commercial communication. Convergence that was spoken about between devices will move to media delivering seamlessly between platforms. Titles will be liberated increasingly from the constraints of print. Radio will continue its exodus from being a broadcast medium to an intimate through the day medium with mass reach. Out of home will shift focus from exposure to engagement across all platforms. Television stations will as a consequence of self-inflicted fragmentation and increased competition (from within and from digital) will start its journey toward being little more than a conduit for content. This move will be traumatic as station differentiation will have more to do with what they broadcast, than station imagery alone. Ultimately, as I’ve indicated previously, FTA television will become a sampling platform for new content that can only be accessed somewhere else. Public Service Broadcasters will perhaps experience their biggest wakeup call as viewers (all viewers) will have increased choice and in multiple languages. The current cultural and language grip held by PBS stations on the advertising industry will weaken.
- Young talent steps up
Stepping up to embrace this exciting future we are seeing a new and talented generation of young media professionals. These young people are curious, energetic, fresh with new ideas and hungry for access to experienced (honest) people. As industry leaders we need to challenge this new generation, rather than shield them… a charge I believe we’re all guilty of in the past. We need to be constructive in the way we challenge them yet we must return to the standards (professional, work and ethical) set during our own formative years in advertising. Unlike previous industry intakes, I believe that this group will respond positively to the challenge and with our support they will exceed our expectations.
- Audience measurement momentum
Finally, throughout 2014 and increasingly towards mid-year we all will experience the “birth pains” of a new audience measurement survey. It will be critical (and mature) of all stakeholders to take the momentum created by the media owners and refocus it to ensure full client involvement and industry acceptance of the results. In 2013 we lost one of our industries greatest assets (and this is recognised globally), namely AMPS, a single source research study funded by advertisers and managed by all stakeholders. And while history will reflect the enormity of this loss, it is incumbent on all to ensure that we have in place the next best research solution… for all our sakes. It cannot be driven by a media sales objective.
In summary, these changes can be described in my opinion as the arrival of ‘You Universe’, where media platforms, like planets, rotate around the individual in a seamless state of conversation with the ‘You’ as well as between each other.
Source: TREND.spotter Gordon Patterson is Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG) group managing director.