The Media Agency Reprise series at the Festival of Media 2009, currently on at Valencia, Spain, made discussions more interesting when the CEOs of media agencies delved on the points emerging from the previous panel. Steve King, Worldwide CEO, ZenithOptimedia, and Maria-Luisa Francoli, CEO, MPG, discussed their views on the first set of discussions, stating that not only was the road ahead about growth in markets like India and China, but also in mediums like television.
The duo decided on a Q&A format, with Francoli guiding the discussion. In the beginning, King was on the replying end and took the audience through some of the findings of ZenithOptimedia’s ad spends forecast and pointed out that there was a mixed picture on the road ahead. He said, “Unlike markets like the US and the UK, there was growth in China and India. We are seeing a split even in the mediums and it is interesting to see that television will grow this year. The rich media forecasts are also dramatic.”
King further pointed out, to which Francoli also agreed, that even the US was a more positive economy today. The duo referred to Jean-Charles Decaux’s views in the previous session to speak on how OOH was one of the mediums in the more evolved markets that was on the forefront of innovation.
The abilities to measure return on investment was discussed. Another point that King and Francoli debated on was that there was a crossover and connectivity between TV and online. King said, “The amount of time spent on the Internet is increasing, and television is triggering time shift in viewing. More importantly, both mediums are drawing more eyeballs, and in both cases, the consumer has more control. This is a positive situation.”
Monetise Content, Rethink Biz Models, Break Silos
The discussion then moved to free content and whether the debate that content monetisation is important to grow was realistic. King stated that it was true that consumer were developing, owing and distributing content, but the point was how was this impacting the advertiser’s business. Francoli replied that it was creating a sense of uncertainty and doubts on clients and on media service agencies.
She said, “Combine this with the good news from outdoor, and there are new opportunities to learn from. At present, there is a significant amount of stress in our business models.” King also reiterated on the need to rethink the media service business models. Francoli added here, “Economy is management of scarce resources. Technology is the secret for us, and it supports our day to day transactions. We have to see how we manage the right type of discussion and dialogue – we are all under pressure after all. We want media owners to deliver more valuable ways to communicate, but the new business model has to be about more collaboration.”
According to King, “There has to be more collaboration internally as well. For instance, at present, digital is a division within an agency. It cannot be a separate silo. Media has to be creative. The future has to be about sustainability, a clear guideline that helps develop future ready structures.
Both media agency CEOs reasserted that consumers and companies were aware that the present model could not continue; the recession had turned out to be a good thing because in a sense it was forcing a change in the system.