Media360 - the best views from the summit

From talent tsunamis to warnings of fraud, Gurjit Degun and Omar Oakes bring you ten takeaways from the annual media conference at the Grand Brighton hotel.

1. China fears could be as big a threat as Brexit

Robert Peston, ITV’s political editor, warned Brexit jitters have already hit the UK economy and argued that a narrow victory for the Remain camp could still be highly damaging for David Cameron. Separately, he suggested China’s high rate of lending is a major threat to global stability: "I don’t think the Chinese economy is going to fall but we will see a sharp shock soon that will not only have an impact on the growth and prosperity of the world but will also have a foul political impact."

2. Sky thinks the ‘online media gold rush’ is over

Andrew Mortimer, director of media at Sky, said brands were reassessing digital media and suggested the "online gold rush is probably over". He predicted that "we’ll focus more on a small number of the right partners and go back to traditional media, especially when it’s enhanced by technology". 

3. TV is the best at building brands

Kelly Williams, managing director for commercial at ITV, had choice words for those who thought TV is staring down the barrel of a YouTube-shaped gun. He insisted the direction of travel is not from TV to online, but from "static-based, tech-based display advertising to online video. It’s like Roy Hodgson at the Euros – he’s not going to take off his best player and replace him with someone from the under-14s. TV is proven to be the best for building brands, best for profit, and best for long-lasting results."

4. All this talk of collaboration… is just that

There were calls for greater collaboration between agencies and media owners in the interests of tackling clients’ marketing challenges. But for Paul Frampton, UK and Ireland chief executive of Havas Media Group, media agencies are at "1%" when it comes to matching the likes of Facebook and Google. Chris Macleod, marketing director of Transport for London, said setting up similar remuneration models for its creative and media shops was potentially a way to align interests.

5. Media agencies are stealing creatives’ lunch

Many creatives are angry about media agencies moving into their space, according to Justin Tindall, chief creative officer at M&C Saatchi: "I contacted a few colleagues [ahead of the session] and pretty much everything that came back was extremely strong; a lot of anger. I think there’s a sense that some media agencies are trying to steal our lunch."

6. Not enough people understand online ad fraud

The definition of fraud varies a lot, which is creating problems for those trying to improve the health of online advertising. Paul Nasse, UK commercial director for verification specialist Integral Ad Science, said: "There are lots of vendors making lots of claims. If you’re a client, it’s difficult to understand the intricacies of those technologies. Why it’s important to brands is because if you’re not thinking about factoring fraud into your measurements, you are rewarding the wrong people in your campaigns."

7. The cost of customising social media content

Media owners were generally in agreement that they should create different forms of content for different social media audiences. Pete Picton, editorial director at Mirror Online, said a model where people stay within platforms such as Facebook and read content was "the second biggest change" he had seen in digital after the dawn of social media itself. The danger is that "we come off our platform and lose that relationship with readers. Is it good financially?"

8. Content should not be a land grab

With creative and media agencies trying to move into the content space, there is a danger of it becoming a land grab. Jenny Biggam, co-founder of the7stars, said: "Advertisers have to make the choice in who does what. Agencies are naturally quite ambitious and want a bigger piece of the cake."

9. There is a talent tsunami approaching

D&AD president Tim Lindsay said that the industry is facing a recruitment problem: "Unless we provide millennials with more career satisfaction, we will struggle to recruit them. There’s a tsunami approaching." Marc Zander, global media director at Mars, added that the industry needs to make sure it pulls in a breadth of talent including people from outside the UK and non-graduates.

10. Media industry’s ‘complacency’ on diversity 

Ruth Hunt, chief executive of Stonewall, the LGBT campaigning group, accused the advertising and marketing industry of "a lack of imagination" and "significant complacency" when it comes to diversity. Karen Blackett, UK chairwoman of MediaCom, said a narrow talent pipeline and lack of role models were big issues for attracting people from a BAME background: "We tend to go to the same pool again and again."


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