Let's Work Together as an Industry. Jack Myers Reports On the Future of Media

By Media Insights Archives
Cover image for  article: Let's Work Together as an Industry. Jack Myers Reports On the Future of Media

The Myers Report Industry Update can be viewed in full on demand HERE. For 35 years, Jack Myers has presented an annual media industry financial assessment report called The Myers Report Industry Update that is culled from data and conversations with national and local media, agency and marketing executives from across the spectrum. In previous years, the report was shared only with MediaVillage member companies. But this year, the study was released to the public via a fascinating webinar this week that reached over 1,000 global participants.

Like many small companies, Myers' MediaVillage has been greatly impacted by COVID-19. His young team, he explained, "really stepped up. And that is a core message for all of us during this time. To step up, to lead and to show what we can do as individuals, as teams, as organizations and as an industry." For Myers, looking at where the industry is going requires us to, "look at the realities as we move forward into the next stage of growth, renewal and recovery for the media, advertising, marketing and entertainment community."

Advertising and Media Community COVID-19 Renewal Fund

To that end, Myers has launched a series of Leadership Conversations that will serve, he explained, "as a navigational intelligence tool and resource to lead through this turbulent time to renewal and growth." Another aspect of these conversations is to better understand the challenges of COVID-19 on a range of non-profit organizations in the media business. "They are struggling now," he explained, "so I've made a commitment and MediaVillage has made a commitment to support thirty of those organizations in partnership with the Advancing Diversity Council of forty industry leaders."

His Advertising and Media Community COVID-19 Renewal Fund is seeking donations that will be used to support organizations that are, he noted, "leading the charge for supporting diversity in our community, helping families, helping small companies, helping local restaurants and restaurant workers." To donate text GIVE to 8604064919 or at MediaVillage.com.

Benchmarking Economic Projections

Forecasting future revenue potential for any industry while a global pandemic cripples the economy is not an easy feat. The last major pandemic was a century ago at a time of different medical capabilities, media platforms and public sensibilities. So a direct one-to-one comparison may not be ideal. However, what happened in the years following 1919 could be used as a rough benchmark. Myers pointed out that the negative economic impact of the 1919 pandemic was felt for three years, rebounding as the Roaring 20's began in 1923 (a time of Prohibition, the Great Depression, and the rise of autocracy.) Taking into account the realities and facts of today, he projected an increased decline through 2021 compared to his April 15 Covid-19 Impact Report, with certain areas of the business faring better or worse than the industry as a whole.

Myers Economic Projections for 2020 and Beyond

Myers' first post-COVID economic update on April 15, 2020 saw Total 2020 Marketing Investments decline -16.6%, and by May, -22.6%. Total 2020 Advertising, which Myers originally predicted would grow +6.2% in 2020. For 2021, Myers projects Total Marketing Investments and Total Ad Spend should pace at -4.7% and -3.8% respectively in anticipation of a second pandemic wave in September or October.

Moving From Share to Growth

Myers warned that, as an industry, we are headed in a self-defeating downward spiral. He noted that, for, "Total Marketing Investments above and below the line, advertising plus shopper marketing plus promotion that includes event, PR all below the line, we've lost as an industry $100 billion in the last ten years. We are below where we were in 2000 and are equaling the 1990 level."

He attributes this to increased competition in the space where more media companies are all competing for the same media pie. Certainly there has been growth in certain sectors such as shopper marketing money moving into Facebook, Google and other commerce based solutions. But, he stated, "this is a false growth. The reality is that there are 60,000+ media sellers, companies, organizations, brands who are competing for advertising dollars… all focusing on taking share." He added that, "as an industry we are in a share game. We need to move from a share game to a growth game for the whole industry. Compete while raising the tide." And it is all the more important to do so as we move through COVID-19. He concluded that, "It's really important to think, act and look as one community, standing together focused on serving the needs of our stakeholders."

Annual Sales Organization Industry Leadership Honors

Myers shared the results of the latest Annual Leadership Honors for those companies who have demonstrated excellence in sales service, innovation, research and effectiveness. He noted that the study recognizes, "forty companies in the advertising industry across nine performance metrics in ten industry categories… surveying 700 advertiser and agency executives on their perceptions of eighty media companies," in television, digital, audio and out-of-home in nine categories. And he offered a spoiler alert: The top performing media sales organizations for 2020 based on field research from February 1-March 15, 2020, which he posited was, "the perfect pre-COVID snapshot," went to Hulu and Pandora.

This year's study offered some tantalizing insights into the future of media. Past years have seen the dominance of legacy media outlets. This year, the top performers were for the most part digital properties that are comparatively new to the media space. Also, in some areas, the parameters of success this year were generally lower than in past studies.

Best in Class and On-The-Rise Honors

This year's study offered an overall best in class honor as well as an on-the-rise honor for those companies that performed well among industry executives with less than 7 years in the business. The chart below is a quick recap but certain aspects of the study are worth mentioning here.

One of the interesting aspects of this year's study, aside from the relative dearth of legacy media companies making top grades, are the declining median scores. On a scale of 1 to 100, the general median score has been 65, "and we rarely saw media scores below 50," Myers stated. But this year saw no category at the historical 65-as-passing median and some categories such as Innovation, Proactive Impact, Advanced Technology and Trade Communication, woefully low. More needs to be done industry-wide to bolster the efforts in these areas for advertisers and brands.

Finally, the Best in Media category across the nine performance metrics were:

Conclusion

The major takeaway from this report as well as the full economic picture in the webinar encompasses several themes. "What can you do as an individual company, as a business category and as the whole media and advertising industry learn that we begin acting on during this period, as we move towards recovery and renewal," Myers stated and added optimistically, "Then, as we move in 2021, 2022 and beyond into true growth periods, hoping that we hit a boom cycle as the Roaring 20s reflected, beginning in 2023."

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The opinions expressed here are the author's views and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaVillage.com/MyersBizNet.
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