It’s been a week of high drama, events and changes in global media this week. Who knew – well obviously the board at Comcast – that Sky would become such a vaunted product for two broadcasting behemoths in Disney and Comcast. It certainly makes for an interesting bidding war, which is certain to change the TV landscape, and comes at a time when consumer TV habits are evolving to such a degree that pre-packaged cable networks are struggling to retain or attract new customers as they veer towards creating their own networks with platforms such as Amazon Prime and Netflix.
However, I am reliably informed the technology that Sky uses is far superior to that of its US based peers and combined with its customer base and data capacities would ensure Comcast becames a significant international competitor, which is one of the clear appeals, and will make this a bidding battle to savour.
Talking of disruption this year – and I talked about this last month – the winds of change are taking a grip on the media and buying landscape. Disruption – and in most cases it has been positive – is here to stay. When clients such as P&G, Unilever, Mars and Deutsche Telekom decide to change the way they operate in the sector and transform the eco-system they have helped perpetuate and fund, become more efficient with their costs then the knock-on effect to media agencies can potentially become quite dramatic.
So dramatic in fact that Sir Martin Sorrell’s announcement that WPP is cutting its long-term profit targets sent the company’s shares tumbling this week, but as an eternal optimist this is an opportunity for WPP and the other five networks to take stock and begin a process of transformation which allows each of them to understand how best to serve their clients’ needs efficiently and transparently in a changing world, but crucially how to educate them with an holistic and global outlook, and not a blinkered one network viewpoint.
Breaking it down to its basics most humans want to be able to understand the what, the why, the where, the who and the when, so it’s time for the networks to look upon 2018 as a period of transformation to shore up their client educational offerings, operate more cohesively and provide clients with solutions they understand and can challenge. It is an exciting moment in media.
It’s why the role of events and awards begin to play a bigger role in the industry. However, they too need to step up and ensure they are meeting the audience needs and providing the key educational and inspirational levels required to satisfy demand.
If you think about the role AI is beginning to play in the lives of consumers. The ease at which products, or services can be ordered with a voice command begins to take away an affinity for brands. For example, would a consumer really care if they bought Amazon or Duracell batteries when ordering via AI? The probability is they would not, which means the best place for brands to create affinity and key touchpoints is via events, or engaging campaigns that properly resonate and bring the brand to life.
Equally if you translate this into a B2B environment bringing to life services and products for the media industry seems like a no brainer, and it should be. However, when creating an event it is easy to lose sight of what the event is trying to achieve in the first place.
In Barcelona this week Mobile World Congress took place and some of the global media fraternity made the trip to Spain as delegates, speakers or exhibitors for an event, which boasted lots of stands, a great agenda and a huge audience, but did its sheer size, volume of audience and variety of happenings ensure a smooth journey for doing business?
It’s tough running an exhibition and attracting both commercial partners and an audience that would like to do business with the exhibitors, so rightly so the industry went down the route of providing educational content streams, which attracted the clients with the budgets and allowed the organisers to sell stand space at the exhibition. However, the problem comes – more often than not – with the clients heading to the content and not to the stands to do business. Does a senior marketer really have the time to head to a stand hoping to solve a business issue, or would they prefer to have a pre-organised meeting?
It creates quite a dilemma and getting the balance right between education, networking and a forum for business to take place are the keys. If you get this right then you can create an environment that works for both parties and ensure all needs are being served. In most cases – for both exhibitors and clients – it is a case of making this an organised structure, but as part of the event.
It’s an exciting and transformational time, but only those who understand what they stand for and what their clients want will survive.