Media owners had a significant set of advice coming their way on the last day of the Festival of Media 2009. The Media Agency Reprise session of the day saw Mediaedge:cia CEO Charles Courtier and MediaCom CEO Stephen Allan speak on what their expectations were from media owners to attain solutions for advertisers.
By his own admission, Courtier kicked off the discussion by stating that when he discussed with one of his clients about the session, the client said, “Media owners must be desperate for cash, so get it cheaper for me.” Courtier suggested that low rates would matter in the current economic situation, but the partnership between media agencies and media owners had to be deeper than that. “Let’s get back to the hardcore basics and together look at ways in which we can innovate for better solutions,” he said.
Allan’s advice here was that perhaps media owners should think about sharing the risk with the clients and that would send out a powerful message by itself. He further said, “It really is very basic and obvious things that we have to keep in mind. Media owners should sell their products and give confidence in their USP. You really need to dig deep in your assets and deploy research and also give access to your databases too. More importantly, never go to a meeting and ask how you can help; go to a meeting with a specific solution to a specific problem.”
Allan asserted that it was important for media owners to look beyond their own mediums, and that there were bigger opportunities with the more vulnerable media. “Get closer to agencies and clients; work with us, educate yourself on the clients’ business and put your money in right places, like talent. The situation is the same for us too. You have to find ways to generate revenue for your content,” said Allan.
Courtier explained that consumer behaviour changed in a recession, and that it was not necessarily related to the amount of money in their pocket, but how much they felt was in their pocket. Media and entertainment may have an opportunity here. He said, “We cannot help but think what is really good for the consumer and we have to be realistic – all businesses are suffering.”
Both Courtier and Allan admitted that agencies were not ready for the quantum and speed of recession too. The biggest threat is that there is not a boardroom in the country that is not talking the same problems, and so the road ahead had to be about collaboration.