ZenithOptimedia CEO Steve King: “I’ve never known a time of such energetic change” | M&M Global

ZenithOptimedia CEO Steve King: “I’ve never known a time of such energetic change”

The relatively “serene” growth in the global advertising belies an unprecedented time of “energetic change” in the industry, according to ZenithOptimedia global chief executive Steve King.


Speaking to M&M Global, King said agencies were learning to cope with “disruption on every level”, and a requirement to become experts in content, analytics, data and technology.

“If you look at the headline number, the figures are growing globally at about 4%, and we’ve got a market worth $531bn. That looks serene and even benign. But what is happening is there is disruption on every level,” said King.

“Technology is transforming our business. We used to just be a media agency in our operations – we are now expected, not surprisingly, to have the same knowledge in terms of content, analytics, technology and data as we have about our media partners.

“Beneath the surface, I’ve never known a time of such energetic change,” he added.

King warned that agencies like Publicis Groupe-owned ZenithOptimedia must balance the desire to grow in emerging markets with the reality that North America continues to dominate the global media sector.

“Some of the fast-growing markets in Asia and those in Latin America are growing at around twice the market average, so we need strong representation. On the other hand, the largest market in the world is the US, and 73% of all ad dollars collected are derived by US-based companies,” said King.

“We have a conundrum – do we increasingly focus our capabilities towards those faster-growing markets, or do we need to focus on where that technology centre is? That is one of the challenges managing a global services company.”

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