A view from MediaWeek at 30

MediaWeek's 30th anniversary edition

In the spring of 2015, Media Week celebrated its 30th anniversary as the leading source of news, insights and opinions of, and from, the UK's...

Editorial contents


Kings and Queens of the wild frontier

Arif Durrani, editor of Media Week

Putting this milestone 30th anniversary issue of Media Week together has been something of a career highlight for me. It’s been strangely cathartic too: some of you may remember that we missed out on an official "goodbye issue" when the print edition closed in 2009 – a testament, no doubt, to the opinionated, passionate team at the time.

Since then, the brand has soared to new heights with its events businesses, while an alignment with Campaign (such a move would have been unimaginable back in 1985) has ensured that it remains the leader for the sector’s news and biggest interviews.

To have tracked, and provided a platform for, such a dynamic industry for an entire generation is no mean feat. The launch editor, Tim Brooks, recalls Media Week’s inception was born out of the proliferation of media channels and the rise of specialist media agencies. Both trends remain highly pertinent and continue to define our remit today.

The year 1985 was significant not only for Media Week’s birth but also for the transformation of a little-known group called Wire and Plastic Products, led by one Sir Martin Stuart Sorrell. Now with a market capitalisation of £21 billion and the biggest marcoms group of them all, it’s notable that almost half (£5 billion) of WPP’s £11.5 billion revenues last year were attributed to its media operations. True to form, Sorrell makes time to celebrate with us and offers his thoughts on how the business has changed over the years (p5).   

Among those on the frontline of the evolving landscape have been the media trade bodies. In this issue, we ask the biggest ones to explain how they have responded to the challenges, and then have them scored by agency specialists (p20). The marks are sure to divide opinion but, whether they hit the target or were wide of the mark, the debate must be welcomed and is what Media Week is all about.

It is not only the media industry’s remit that has changed, but its make-up too. The better representation of women in the business has been a welcome shift over the years. Half of the UK’s top ten agencies are now led by women and, while more needs to be done in the most senior roles at media owners, the direction of travel is set. We have an interview with four pioneers who helped pave the way in their own indomitable fashion (p8).

There’s plenty more in this issue worth making time for (see above), and I really hope you do. On a personal note, I’d like to thank everyone listed below, with special mention to the production editor, Sami Shah, and art editor, Tania Shishkin, for helping me bring this much-expanded magazine to life: in style and on time. I want to thank Maisie McCabe too – the last of the team to have started with me seven years ago and a truly tenacious hack.

It has been an absolute privilege to have played a small part in Media Week’s story. Photos from our 30th party can be viewed here. Thank you for all your support. Here’s to the next 30 years of forging new frontiers together.

Arif Durrani is editor of Media Week and head of media for Campaign