PERSPECTIVE: Wide acceptance of new media is a generational thing

Cynics among you might interpret this column as a shameless plug for Revolution magazine (which launches next week), Revolution being a Haymarket title about new-media marketing whose birth - conception even - I have been intimately involved with. Well, yes, this is a plug and shameless with it. But I say what’s the point of being editorial director of Campaign if you can’t give something the odd plug?

Cynics among you might interpret this column as a shameless plug

for Revolution magazine (which launches next week), Revolution being a

Haymarket title about new-media marketing whose birth - conception

even - I have been intimately involved with. Well, yes, this is a plug

and shameless with it. But I say what’s the point of being editorial

director of Campaign if you can’t give something the odd plug?



Now, new media is still a subject that provokes furious debate above and

beyond whether you need to hyphenate new media (you don’t, unless you’re

using it adjectivally). Witness a long letter (page 26) from Victor

Synott of TSMSi, a new-media sales house.



Victor is cross because, as reported by Campaign (9 May), people as

important as George Bull of GrandMet and Nicholas Coleridge of Conde

Nast don’t appear to take the medium as seriously as he does.



I have news for Victor. Don’t worry too much about it. By and large most

people don’t take it that seriously - yet. To imagine, however, as

Victor does, that this is a slur on the medium itself (not to mention

evidence of the short-sightedness of the critics) is over the top. When

ITV launched in 1955 there were many who believed TV advertising would

never work.



Pretty much the same has applied to most media innovations at the time

of their launch.



One of the reasons why new media has been slow to take off has less to

do with the medium itself than it has to do with the fact that, up till

now, it has been largely the province of corporate IT departments, which

is not surprising given the nature of the medium. But these are people

who speak a language comprehensible only to themselves and so it is

therefore quite natural that others have been slower to share their

enthusiasm.



However, according to a survey by NOP for Revolution, this is beginning

to change and responsibility for new media is at last falling to the

marketing department. Not before time, you might say, and I would

wholeheartedly agree. Having spent the best part of the past three

months on Revolution, I can tell you that finding clients who genuinely

understand the marketing implications of new media is hard work.



Two factors, however, will soon make new media an irresistible topic for

marketers. One is the advent of digital TV, which will put new media so

firmly on the media agenda that nobody can afford to ignore it. The

second is a generational thing and will occur when marketing departments

are full of staff who have grown up with new media and are as personally

comfortable with it as today’s marketing directors are with TV.



A number of smart-asses have asked us whether, when that time comes, we

will have to think of a new name for Revolution - Evolution, say? I

doubt it. I suspect that when that time comes, marketing will be in a

state of permanent revolution. Thank you for paying attention during

this commercial break.



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