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What next for the media industry? 2017 revealed

13 Dec 2016  |   
What next for the media industry? 2017 revealed

In the first of two specials, VCCP, MediaSense, Blackwood Seven, Posterscope, Videology and Newsworks reflect on the year gone by - and offer their thoughts on what 2017 will have in store


Sam Fenton-Elstone, chief digital officer, VCCP Media

2017 will see technology continue to develop at an aggressive rate. Advertisers, brands, publishers and broadcasters are finding ways to better target audiences in a mobile-first world.

Google has already lifted the shackles of their customer data, up until now restricted between advertiser and user profiles. This is key in enabling advertisers to connect with people across all the devices they use.

Facebook, having already made the profile-targeting leap, is looking to monetise personal messenger services WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Of course, none of this is a surprise, but it does signal their confidence in breaking that final taboo, that opaque wall between our use of their services and our role as a commodity in their business.

But the problem is that even with all the leaps in targeting audiences, people are still switching off. They are blocking ads and disengaging with brand messaging. The focus has been too much on the 'how' and 'who', and not enough on the 'why'. To be frank, advertising hasn't been good enough.

To be frank, advertising hasn't been good enough"

And that's where I think things are going to get a bit retro in 2017. Whilst I am still hankering after a corner office with a bottle of whiskey in my desk draw, it's creative storytelling (rather than Mad Men-esque agency set-ups) that will be core to a brand's marketing success. The platforms and technology are there. It's time brands started to make use of it.

Campaigns will take advantage of new interactive communication channels with audiences wanting to actually have a conversation with brands and the people behind them (or at least bots and intelligent assistants that appear to be people!).

Targeting and personalisation has progressed so much that in many ways it's actually made our worlds smaller. We become defined by our past online behaviours, our interactions with brands and our legacy view of the world. You only need to see how our micro views of the world have shaped political debate to see the impact this can have.

Brands need to create campaigns and messaging that can achieve cut-through. It goes without saying that broadcast and traditional media will continue to play a vital role in achieving this but digital is crucial to amplify the impact of these channels and create deeper, lasting consumer relationships.

And there you have the crux of it. To really take advantage, you will need to build media into the creative process from the outset. Treat it as a unified process, media integrated to form part of the story.

To be honest, I can't wait.


Andy Pearch, co-founder and director, MediaSense

2016, the "annus horribilis" for media agencies. Reputations were battered, commercial models criticised and trust undermined. Agencies must grasp this bull by the horns in 2017 and focus on four ingredients.

Purpose. An agent is "a person who acts on behalf of another". Agencies must convince they are working for clients, not for themselves. This means fighting miscreant behaviour; opening up trading desks and vendor deals to clients; accepting responsibly in contracts, not inserting escape clauses.

Integrity. The industry urgently needs a code of ethics - conflicts of interest must be policed. Agencies must demand better data integrity from walled garden media suppliers, and set higher standards in their own data provision. Be honest about why they are investing in a platform, and be prepared to walk away from delinquent media owners and clients.

Capabilities. Marketers want to work with competent, efficient, transparent and collaborative agency partners who ride with change. Agencies applying technology to improve operational productivity will win. To keep up agencies need more CTOs, CIOs and Data Scientists in the boardroom.

Performance. It's a results business. Agencies must align with clients' KPIs, not self-serving auditor metrics. Agency brands will step out of the shadow of their holding companies and negotiate KPIs directly with their clients.


Carl Erik Kjærsgaard, CEO and co-founder, Blackwood Seven

From Deepmind beating the Go Grandmaster, to self-driving cars taking to the roads, this year has been a landmark year for AI.

2017 is set to bring with it ever greater technological developments in this field, especially within the media industry. The greatest wealth of data is created by human behaviour - especially as we spend longer and longer online - giving marketers some of the biggest data sets in the world to deal with.


In fact, a media plan requires around 55,000 decisions to be made as a result of this. So it's no wonder algorithms are being brought in to do the heavy lifting and quantify uncertainties, so that planners and their clients can act on known truths and reap the rewards this offers.

This will elevate the media industry from dealing in what is often an outdated and time consuming process, and in turn free up human minds to focus more on the creative processes.

At the same time the position of marketing within business will be elevated. For years the C-suite has demanded transparency as to how media is bought and how it delivers results, and as AI increasingly drives transparency and efficiency, marketers will find themselves increasingly able to quantify the business value of advertising.


David Brennan, Media Native

To misquote Negroponte, the future of media research will be to no longer think of it as media research. It will be about creating smart insight from big data and applying innovation to audience measurement.

It will be part of a confluence of research, insight, intelligence, analytics, futurology and strategic analysis, hopefully the part that coheres the data and creates sense from chaos. It will be far more about effective communication of often complex insights and relationships.

It will be about seeking the universal truths at a time when 'fact' becomes conflated with 'opinion'. It will be about persuasion as much as reporting and inspiring debate far more than closing it down. In the future, media research will increasingly move from the rearguard to the front line and from the pragmatic to the creative.

In short, media research will require a special kind of skill set from its participants. If this vision excites you, you're in the right job. If it doesn't...have you ever thought about accountancy?


Glen Wilson, managing director, Posterscope

2016 has been the year of the individual - consumers have rejected being identified as an age, gender or affluence score, witnessed by the evolution of the traditional TV broadcasting model to include analytics-based streaming sites like Netflix. Brands are becoming increasingly aware of this and using ever-more sophisticated channels and targeting to ensure maximum relevancy to their customers.

In 2017, out-of-home's ability to broadcast to mass audience groups will remain a key strength of the medium and the addition of real-time audience and location data means OOH has the opportunity to be more targeted in its messaging while still delivering mass scale. Brands will be able to communicate to the masses, whilst also being capable of capturing a brand's elusive niche audience at a key time of the day.

Advancements in live data and DOOH will allow us to be even more predictive of changing trends and capitalise on unifying social moments and mind-sets that encompass all manner of audiences. Using this data we will be able to identify common mind-sets and target ads with effective, engaging messages to reach beyond traditional demographic groups. Understanding a real audience, as opposed to an aggregated survey, will help us target even better in OOH in 2017.


Jana Eisenstein, managing director EMEA, Videology


In 2017 we will see a dramatic rise in the deployment in ad-tech across all media channels, with a particularly speedy activation in TV.

Next year, in the UK, will be seminal in the development of programmatic TV as Sky, Virgin and BT all line up progressive ad-products utilising first-party data and set-top-box technology. These platforms will open up full, addressable TV, with cross-device measurement that is as effective on the main TV screen as it is across its digital cousins.

Elsewhere, there will be increased and more coordinated lobbying of the walled gardens from advertisers. While acknowledging the essential place of Facebook and Google on media plans, advertisers will increasingly argue that it's imperative that they are subject to the same third-party measurement as legacy media brands to provide holistic and comparable campaign reporting.

Facebook's recent relegation regarding dwell times on video is indicative of the need to create a universal metric and universal measurement standards that everyone can trust.


Vanessa Clifford, CEO, Newsworks

Well, it's been quite a year - to put it mildly. From Brexit to Trump to terror attacks, military coups and a raft of celebrity deaths, 2016 has been a big year for big news.

In this context, verified and trusted journalism is crucial and will continue to be so as we navigate what 2017 brings our way. The fact that readers flocked to newsbrand content following Brexit and the US election is testament to this. The rise of fake news and its social media breeding ground make newsbrands' fact-checking, investigative, analytical role more important than ever.

2016 was the year that effectiveness and long-term measures of success regained ground"

From a commercial point of view, effectiveness will continue to be a key focus. 2016 was the year that effectiveness and long-term measures of success regained ground, not just for newsbrands, but across the media milieu.

In 2017, the challenge will be building on this and breaking new ground. The role of digital newsbrands and the impact these premium brand environments have on ad campaigns is ripe for investigation and, with more of the right ammo, media planning will be able to take a fully-informed, longer-term view.

Overall, 2016 has shown us that we need newsbrands - the mediators, the informers - more than ever and that, from an advertiser's stand-point, they offer a unique package. In 2017, the value of quality content and context, to both consumers and brands, will come to the fore.


Clare Hill, managing director, Content Marketing Association

I predict that measurement and data will continue to be key focus points for the media industry, and in particular for content marketers, in 2017.

Measurement and the use of data are critical to content marketing strategies - drivers in the content marketing space are making the maximum possible use of data, not just to inform, plan and execute their content plans, but to iterate and optimise along the way.

The content marketing industry is divided over whether regulation around data protection should be stricter. Part of this is related to how data is accessed and utilised, who the data belongs to and how open brands are to share data.

However, what we do know is that there is also a real appetite to expand the boundaries of content marketing measurement around what can accurately demonstrate the discipline's return on investment. We look forward to working together as an industry to ensure clarity across the board next year.


Dallas Wiles, commercial director, JCDecaux

Right across the UK we've been digitising our inventory, but it's about more than replacing billboards with screens - perhaps the most profound change has been the shift in conversation from panels and frames to audiences.

Our investment in our planning and delivery tools as well as data partnerships and of course the digitisation of our network will continue throughout 2017. We haven't even come close to the boundaries of what's possible in DOOH.

Brands and agencies need to adapt their thinking to a new enhanced digital medium and open their minds to the possibilities, rather than re-purposing print or online ads. They now have the tools to create and deliver dynamic customised campaigns at scale across an already extensive digital network - we're on track to double our audience to reach one billion real eyeballs a week by the end of 2017.

Part two will be published on Monday 19 December - with views from Sky, JCDecaux, Thinkbox, IAB, Media iQ and many more...

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Ian Dowds, CEO, UKOM on 14 Dec 2016
“In one way it is sad that so much of each of the comments in the article (all excellent by the way) revolve around the erosion of trust, whether of the advertising, of the content itself, of the data or of the commercial models through which it all flows. In another way, perhaps it is now so blindingly obvious that the need for trust, transparency, independence and standards across every aspect of this industry is fundamental to its health, that 2017 will be the year of transformation to the benefit of all.”
Andy Sloan, Andy, All Response Media on 14 Dec 2016
“In the land of the blind the A-eyed man is king?”