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What next for the media industry? 2017 revealed

What next for the media industry? 2017 revealed

In the second of two parts, media leaders reflect on the year gone by - and offer their thoughts on what 2017 will have in storeViews from: Thinkbox | Radiocentre | IAB | News UK | Quantcast | InSkin | Sky Media | Undertone | Media iQ | RadiumOne | Magnetic | AOL UK | DCM | Read part one here


Lindsey Clay, chief executive, Thinkbox

For TV, some outright certainties: more addressable; more programmatic; more interactive; more mobile; more of the highest quality content on earth; more collaboration by TV as a global industry; and even more effective for advertisers as its exciting future unfolds with new tech innovations and creative partnerships between broadcasters and brands.

For the industry, some sincere hopes: more emphasis on long-term brand-building, less obsession with activation; more focus on proper effectiveness (things like profit and market share), less championing of ROI (a useful efficiency measure, but it only tells part of the story); more scrutiny of online video, fewer questionable and unaudited metrics; more insight into how different media work together, fewer attempts to knock each other.

For me, a simple prayer: that I'm not still hoping these hopes when I write an outlook for 2018. And maybe for my netball team to minimise the number of defeats by teams less than half our age.


Mark Barber, planning director, Radiocentre

Will 2017 be the year that brands finally take audio seriously? The speech-controlled Amazon Echo, launched in the UK this autumn, is predicted by many to be the best selling technology gift this Christmas. If you're unfamiliar with it, Echo is powered by a voice assistant called Alexa which allows you to request information, services, and entertainment hands-free. It's an impressive piece of kit which opens up a world of audio possibilities in your mind.

Echo could be the catalyst that boosts voice-activation across all devices to critical mass. The paradigm shift being that in the absence of a screen Alexa can only respond to requests using audio. Now imagine a near future when search is both triggered and fulfilled with audio: how does your brand sound on Google?


But this isn't just about coping with technological disruption. In How Brands Grow Byron Sharp describes the value of distinctive brand assets for building mental availability. Thinkbox research highlights the importance of sound in attracting attention to and optimising effectiveness of TV commercials. Radiocentre studies demonstrate the benefits for brands in using music and other audio assets consistently in advertising.

Distinctive audio branding may come to define successful businesses as audio-driven technology prospers but forward-thinking advertisers can gain advantage now. Propelled by those that do, 2017 could be the year that radio comes of age as a strategic brand-building medium.


Alex Kozloff, director of marketing and industry engagement, IAB

Making predictions has always been hard, but 2016 will truly go down in history as the year that shook our confidence in the crystal ball. However; Trump, Brexit, and Ed Balls on Strictly are not enough to put me off committing my predictions for 2017 to print, so here are my top three.

Firstly, 2017 is going to be a landmark year for digital globally. Recent 2017 forecasts from GroupM, Magna and Zenith all agree on one thing: that digital will become the top media category in 2017.

Here in the UK, this has been the case since 2009, so it's fantastic to see marketers around the world investing in the uniquely smart and creative opportunities digital has to offer.

Secondly, in response to the challenges from both outside and within the industry, I foresee further collaboration between 'traditional' media and the digital industry to overcome threats. Many media owners are opening the doors to collaboration with companies that may have once been competitors, and it is in everyone’s interest to learn from each other.

Lastly, I think 2017 is going to be a bumper year for creativity across all screens. We're still scratching the surface of how digital can work with other media to make magic, and I think as the market continues to grow globally we will see agencies come up with ever more inventive and better tailored creative for all our screens.


Catherine Newman, chief marketing officer, The Times and Sunday Times

2017 is going to see a return to quality media for brand advertisers. With doubts setting in around fake news, questionable metrics from some social media platforms and wide-spread click-fraud, the attractions of high-quality media owners focused around original, unique content will become apparent.

A brand's campaign is only as good as the media on which it is hosted and marketers are increasingly realising that some aspects of modern media come with significant compromises. Brands want to align their campaigns with content and platforms that reflect their own ethos - authentic, high-quality, and trusted.

Fake news is a broader societal issue and one that needs to be dealt with - in the scope of the advertising world, however, it is simply a symptom of a market that's for too long been drawn towards high-volumes of cheap traffic.

In the longer term I believe that brands, agencies and consumers will recognise and appreciate media owners with a loyal, engaged, high-quality audience that has a real relationship with the brand.


Ben Murphy, managing director UK, Quantcast

With 2017 upon us there is a lot of conversation and buzz around the phrase Artificial Intelligence. At Quantcast, we are extremely pleased that A.I is now getting the attention it deserves.

It is inevitable that A.I will be integrated into most connected devices and systems in the future and more importantly into advertising.

2017 is going to be an exciting year where we will see a lot of innovation building on the progress the industry has seen in the last five years with programmatic.

If you look at a lot of the innovations and you trace them back to their origin, you will find at the root of it all is a question. A question of someone asking why isn't someone doing this or what if someone tried to do that?

Questions are often at the root of innovation. If we are going to innovate within the advertising industry, I would ask two key questions:

How can we move away from thinking about advertising technology as just creating efficiencies? Right now we might have made the industry 10% more efficient (which saves costs), however how can we transform advertising to make it 10 times more effective (to generate more return).

In order to do this, I would leave with one final question which is at the heart of making advertising more effective. What advertisers measure matters, it is the most important thing in the industry. Is the way you measure success of a campaign aligned with your business goals?


Steve Doyle, chief commercial officer, InSkin MediaTransparency

As 2017 rolls around the subject of measurement will continue to be a hotbed of debate amongst digital advertising types. The advent of all this wonderful technology gives so much more control and understanding to an advertiser, and while this means we have a lot more data and knowledge about the ecosystem we operate in, its variety lends to inconsistent measurement methodologies and discrepancies.

Consistent measurement, of the right metrics, across devices and media executions will become an even tougher challenge. JICWEBS has been instrumental this year in pushing a multi-trade body initiative on viewability, but bigger, braver decisions by trade bodies are needed, and 2017 should be their moment to establish meaningful, robust standards.

Beyond viewability, we've seen huge interest this year in our project around visual engagement, which cited that ads need to be in view for 14 seconds to be seen. Next year, the viewability debate will mature as part of the wider conversation around attention-based metrics, with discussion around how long an ad is viewable becoming more important than whether it only met the current thresholds.

While my LinkedIn feed is littered with people saying "CTR isn't important we know that but look at this case study (with great CTR's)", 2017 is the year that this mentality will inevitably change, lest its architects find themselves severely lagging behind the pace of the measurement debate.


John Litster, managing director, Sky Media

There was a lot of noise in 2016 about lack of transparency between media agencies and advertisers. Hopefully those issues, where they exist, are resolved in 2017 such that media agencies continue to give the best advice to clients on where they should spend their money to drive sales.

Everyone has their own opinion on media consumption - yes, we know it's changing but the consumption assumption shouldn't be based on personal habits but on data and insight.

Marketers are still underestimating the amount of time people are watching TV content. Research has found that assumptions of average TV viewing is 20% less than it actually is, with live viewing assumptions underestimated by nearly 40% (87% of TV is still watched live).

Whether it's I'm A Celeb, Westworld, Bake Off or Buster the Boxer, TV is still the talk of the town. It's the collective responsibility of all the TV companies in 2017 to better educate our customers about how strong TV viewing is and how robustly it's measured relative to other media.

I envisage in 2017 the three TV sales houses working ever more closely to market the continued fantastic brand building capability of television - this at a time when other media attempt to take revenue with products of lesser quality and dubious measurement.

As we go into the New Year, brands will be looking to agencies and media owners to remove the barriers between platforms to make campaigns more connected. This in turn will create more engaging experiences for customers and more effective campaigns for brands.


Rob Garber, managing director EMEA, Undertone

2017 will see a continued rise of consolidation within the martech/adtech space. Those who will succeed will most likely do so through merging with or acquiring existing other experts in the field.

We've already seen this recently with the likes of Adobe (TubeMogul) and Accenture (Karmarama) who are buying creative/advertising agencies - and this is just the start of that activity over the coming months. Creating an established unit, through which every aspect of advertising can be covered to a high standard, will be key to success next year.

This should be good news for marketers and media agencies.

Being inundated with a plethora of potential partners offering unique capabilities, content or audiences can create confusion and can be time consuming. The benefit of consolidation will mean that marketers will have a smaller, more comprehensive set of media and tech partners to work with, focused on longer-term roadmaps and better aligned to marketers' needs; which in turn will lead to better business results and an improved consumer experience.



John Goulding, global product director, Media iQ

If 2016 was the year when we began taking ad-blocking seriously, 2017 will be the year of responding to it with a more user-oriented approach. In other words, we'll be creating ads that don't obstruct user journeys or eat unnecessary amounts of mobile data.

The shift will come from industry bodies, publishers and from innovative tech companies who identify opportunity within threat of adblocking. We've already seen hints of this trend emerging - through the IAB's shift away from rising star units, intrusive expandables and auto-play outstream video - and this is likely grow to as the industry continues to see the light.

The other category of companies which will drive this shift are the publishers and tech companies which create new incentives for users to consume advertising - for example discounts on your mobile phone contract - in order to create a more symbiotic relationship between advertiser and consumer.

Whether it's a change led by our industry bodies, or forced upon us by disruptive tech providers, the days of driving "engagement" through intrusiveness are likely behind us.


Craig Tuck, managing director UK, RadiumOne

Blue chip brands and leading agencies have spoken out in 2016 about their frustrations and expectations around the major issue of ad fraud. Significant progress is being made by the industry across all parts of the supply chain to improve the situation, led by JICWEBS, their independent auditors, and ad verification vendors like I.A.S, MOAT and DoubleVerify.

Bots are sophisticated networks of non-human actions carried out without a brand or user's knowledge. However, the human action of content sharing cannot be falsified. In 2017 we will see fraudsters kept in check by deploying smarter tracking that ensures human connections are all that matter.

Meanwhile, the creative industry will emerge stronger and more intelligent by harnessing the power of data. Programmatic enables marketers to connect the dots between different forms of consumer behaviour so the end result of joining this up with better, high quality creative will be help improve consumers' experience with online ads and make the process far more efficient and effective for advertisers.

This improvement is something brands, agencies, tech businesses and, most importantly, consumers will all benefit from in 2017.


Sue Todd, CEO, Magnetic

2017 is set to be a defining year, when many of the consequences and opportunities from the turmoil of change that has been 2016 will be determined. We will have some serious choices to make as an advertising and media industry about the future we are creating for brands, consumers and future generations of talent coming through our doors.

2016 has been a year of rhetoric and consternation. 2017 will be the year when we better understand the consequences of our actions and look to really redress some of the imbalances that exist. The year when we are more honest about our bias and make a more conscious and collective effort to break them.

Magazine mag

From diversity and digital citizenship, the fight to save quality journalism and content, to resisting the dominance of the digital duopoly and protecting children from adult content, 2017 will be the year when more businesses in our sector break from the pack and lead the way on doing things differently.

From a magazine media perspective we will step up the fight to remind advertisers to invest in channels which create meaningful connections with their customers, drive long term brand equity and offer the opportunity to be highly relevant to audiences.

We will see more dynamic distribution strategies to get print content into the right hands, and there will almost certainly be more live audience engagement opportunities allowing brands to connect in new ways with consumers whose core passion is a defining factor in determining what they do and how they spend their money.

It's going to be awesome.


Stuart Flint, managing director, AOL UK

In the past, most technology platforms in the ad ecosystem have been developed as advertiser-first. However, in 2016 we saw stronger tools emerge for publishers, giving them more flexible platform technologies, more consumer-centric formats and advanced targeting capabilities. This has helped them move from being largely direct response-focused. Now, they can deliver on the KPIs that advertisers want.

Header bidding and automated price floor optimisation (PFO) have both become more prevalent in the last 12-18 months, helping publishers boost their own yield through programmatic. In 2017, technology platforms will become ever more important in solving the monetisation piece for publishers as they continue to improve how to actually get paid fairer prices for their own content in the coming year.

Meanwhile, data will continue to mature. Brands and publishers have stepped up to improve consumer touch points by creating quality ads and content that audiences find valuable, personal and relevant. This is a trend that will continue as creatives will move more quickly to fully embrace data as a guiding force to develop concepts that directly align with the value audiences seek in their content.

New technologies will reshape video, mobile advancements will unlock personal touch points, and an emphasis on the consumer will drive the industry forward.


Karen Stacey, CEO, Digital Cinema Media

After another phenomenal year for cinema with ad revenue and box office figures up again year-on-year, everything points to more success in 2017.

Advertisers are really starting to believe in our medium as a key component of wider AV media plans and they’ve shown it with innovations from the likes of Airbnb, Leffe and Xbox leading the way. Three and LG also won the Grand Prix at the second annual DCM Awards in September, showing that cinema is the ideal destination for impactful branded content.

As we continue to prove cinema's value and contribution to our customers, it will become impossible to ignore what the big screen can add as part of integrated campaigns to drive long-term business growth.


Times have changed and, with emerging technology, so have viewing habits. But cinema is becoming even more relevant - as the last medium where people actually pay to pay attention.

We can now prove what adding cinema to a plan can deliver through our Building Box Office Brands research study. We can also provide granular econometrics for every individual campaign, so next year we'll be encouraging brands new to cinema to test and learn what our medium can deliver.

But don't forget the incredible film slate, with a new Blade Runner, Guardians of the Galaxy, Kingsman and Trainspotting sequels all due for release, as well as Dunkirk, the live action Beauty and the Beast and Star Wars: Episode VIII on the way in 2017.


Alex Packham, Founder & CEO, ASTP

The winds of change have swept across the social world yet again. As 2016 draws to a close, the winners and losers of the year have made one thing very clear - it is the end of crap content.

For businesses, this means the demise of the 2013 ideology that online success can come with little investment, that tweeting can be left to office juniors, and that social calendars should be filled up with everything and anything.

Decreasing returns on social channels isn't the only sign that a new content approach is needed in 2017: top social media channels are waving big red flags too...

Earlier this year Instagram updated its news feed algorithm to one similar to Facebook's, placing popular posts at the top of its feed. This was a brave decision as a lack of linear content had the potential to destroy the 'storytelling' platform.

In a similar move, Zuckerberg vowed to end fake news on Facebook, despite a top-down entity deciding what people should believe seeming extremely unappealing to its users.

Why did these channels risk so much to ensure good content?

Unfortunately, Twitter showed us why.

Twitter's Achilles heel is that is it built around real-time engagement, meaning its algorithm update like those above could only be slight. This means it is still battling to rid spam and poor-quality content from the 350,000 tweets posted every minute on the site, resulting in declining engagement and a mere 3% year-on-year rise in accounts.

Key takeaway: the days benefiting from 'follow for follow', link-farming and now crap content, are well and truly over.

Part one: A retro future | A new skillset | OOH evolves | A code of ethics | Rise of the machine | Programmatic TV | Death to adblocking

Mediatel operate two essential services for the OOH industry. SPACE is a collaboration between IPAO and Outsmart and is the most comprehensive and up-to-date list of inventory in the UK. The RouteAPI is a SaaS solution that enables easy integration of Route audience data into client's systems. See for more information.

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