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Media Intelligence : 2008 Intelligence
expert analysis COLLIN SEGELOV Executive Director, Australian Association of National Advertisers What do the changes in cross media ownership laws and the ongoing consolidation in the industry mean for advertisers? The big fear for marketers is that consolidation will, by one means or another, lead to higher advertising costs. As the peak body representing advertisers, along with marketers and media companies, AANA will continue to monitor this risk on behalf of members, ready to take appropriate action where required. Over time, it is hoped that reduced regulation of media ownership will induce more competition, with beneficial effects extending beyond advertising costs to greater concentration on audience involvement and the measurement of the efficiency and eff ectiveness of communicating commercial messages to consumers. Do you think the rapid growth and innovation, specifically with digital, is being handled well by agencies? How can they improve? How can traditional media keep up? In a period of revolution rather than evolution, the media buying agencies are generally doing a great job in keeping up with an incredible pace of change. Some creative agencies are also proactively working to give their clients a competitive edge in the digital media environment. Others, it has to be said, seem to be trying to hold on to the past where they doubtless feel more comfortable. This reluctance to move forward is contributing to some questioning of the role of creative agencies in the future, or even whether they have one. For traditional media such as newspapers, the rapidly changing environment brings a need for reinvention. But they’ve done it before, fi rst in the face of radio and again with the advent of television, so they have more experience than most in meeting the challenge of change. Whether they can push their evolution to revolution is yet to be seen, but they’re certainly working on it. It may turn out that the bigger challenge is for the more modern of the ‘traditional’media, with television having to find new ways of engaging audiences presented with so many more choices in entertainment and information services. From the advertiser’s perspective, what is the biggest threat facing the industry? For marketers generally, aside from keeping up with the pace of change, the biggest threat is, in fact, little changed since 1928 when the AANA came into being to fi ght for freedom of commercial speech. The fi rst cause was outdoor, and a proposal to do away with roadside poster sites – an issue that recently returned to be met by a similarly-strong AANA response. 32 MEDIA Trends + Strategy In 2008, there is a risk of minority group calls for advertising censorship leading to unwarranted restrictions on television advertising of food and beverage products. While the Australian Communications & Media Authority has assessed the infl uence of such advertising at no more than 2% of infl uence over children’s preferences for foods and beverages available to them, there has been a disproportionate push for controls that the AANA not only argues as costly censorship incapable of curing obesity, but which it sees as threatening a precedent for controls on advertising of other products and services in other media. Perhaps the good news is that such action will create a call to arms that will bring more marketers onto the AANA side of the freedom of speech fight. What do media buyer/planners need to know going forward? Informed decisionmaking at consumer level requires at least equally informed decisionmaking across the advertising, marketing and media disciplines. Quality information delivered promptly must lead the wish list. It is a mistake, however, to regard more data as more information as far as marketers are concerned. What’s wanted is more intelligence, and marketers will continue to look to the researchers, analysts and advisers who feed off what is now a $30 billion a year marketing spend to provide it.