On Tuesday June 4, the International Radio & Television Society (IRTS) will be holding its Media Marketplace: 2019 Newsmaker Breakfast at Cipriani in New York City. This year's panel includes some of the most prestigious buyers and sellers of advertising, including -- on the sell side -- Kirk McDonald (Xandr), Tara Walpert Levy (Google) and Lisa Valentino (The Walt Disney Company). Representing the media buyers are Lyle Schwartz (GroupM), Catherine Sullivan (Omnicom Media Group) and Jon Stimmel (Universal McCann). The panel will be moderated by veteran media executive and current President of DAN Media Clients, Dentsu Aegis' Kris Magel.
This annual breakfast has become the traditional default to get a sneak peek into the inner workings of the Upfront and the overall marketplace coming soon after the pomp and circumstance of the Upfront/NewFront presentations and during the heat of the negotiations. We recently sat down with Magel to get a quick preview of the panel and delve into his thoughts on why he is so excited to be the one asking, versus being asked. He is thrilled about the opportunity to moderate. "I have discovered that I enjoy interviewing folks -- in particular multi-person panels -- where I throw out a question and see how each [individual] answers," he said. "I enjoy moving with that conversation."
With such important players, he also sees this as an extraordinary opportunity to get a real cross-section of opinions of the marketplace. "We have one of the top companies in the addressable space, one of the top digital-endemics and one of the top traditional-heritage companies, all of which are clearly evolving in front of our eyes," he added. "Every one of the different agency leaders are at a place evolving to a different stage of their existence as well. So, that's exciting."
Given the makeup of the panel, the topic of the Upfront will be top of mind, but Magel wants to add breadth and depth to the conversation versus focusing solely on the core supply and demand discussion. He is very interested in how both sides are strategically preparing for a year of potentially massive disruption in consumer viewing habits led by the introduction of several new over-the-top services, such as Disney+, WarnerMedia, NBCU/Comcast, Discovery/BBC and others. Several of these services will either be non-ad supported or limited-ad supported. "I'm curious about the role that partnering with non-ad supported properties will play," Magel mused. "Look at what Oreo and Game of Thrones did … that was a huge promotion facilitated by 360i, who brought two of their clients together. It was super interesting." (Oreo partnered with HBO and released a limited-edition collection of Oreos with four embossed cookie designs with the insignias of House Lannister, House Targaryen, House Stark and the Night King. The packaging was deep black with Oreo spelled out in Game of Thrones typeface.)
Other topics that are on deck for the panel include discussions around first-party data, the evolution of GRPs as currency and the definition of content and how networks plan on continuing to develop more must-watch-now, high reach events. "When you and I began in the business, the delivery of GRPs was consistent," Magel said. "Today, a 200 GRP schedule might deliver a 50 reach and 4.0 frequency or a 20 reach with a 10.0 frequency."
Magel also is looking forward to delving into the addressable video space; specifically, how reach can be scaled and managed, and what the Upfront means to an addressable company.
In prepping for the IRTS event, he gives credit to his predecessor in the "hot seat," industry thought leader and forecaster Jack Myers, who has held the role of moderator of the panel for several years. "Jack has done a great job of balancing the conversation with buyers and sellers at this panel over the years," he said. Now, Magel gets the honor and challenge of delivering insights from players that will clearly have varied opinions about today's media marketplace.
No doubt the panel promises to be informative, multi-layered and lively, given the players involved.
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