Every major media company, agency and leading national advertiser is seeking solutions for serious threats to their businesses. Even as the national television and video marketplace is demonstrating seemingly unbridled exuberance, experts agree that legacy media companies are threatened by new business models and financial issues built on expanded supply, programmatic systems, new metrics, and transparency requirements that are gaining traction and critical mass. Ahead in the not too distant future for these companies are unseen technological heights to scale, turbulence to survive, and perilous cliffs from which a fall could be fatal.
Are media companies, content producers, agencies, research providers and marketers responding with sufficient speed and vision to the changing media ecosystem? Many, including most Wall St. analysts and consultants, believe they are. But while several media companies, agencies and marketers are responding aggressively to the growing reality of today's threats, few if any are prepared for the very real possibility of a free-fall collapse of legacy business models that is likely to occur within the next decade. While corporate leaders from the big media companies, agencies and hot digital players introduce innovative business offers, tests, currencies, collaboratives, tools and new organizational structures, there is no evidence that more than a handful of them are truly prepared to confront and survive the long-term dangers that lie ahead. The winners and losers for the next several decades will be decided based on their decisions in the next 48-months, the aggressiveness and determination with which they make and act upon their decisions, and how visionary they prove to be.
Several leading-edge media companies are investing aggressively in data sciences, R-O-I based performance measures, social media analytics, promotional marketing platforms, branded content and a wide spectrum of compelling value propositions. The challenge is to convert these offerings from one-time "shiny new objects" to scalable and sustainable advanced businesses. Too many shiny new objects quickly rust. Unless these offerings prove profitable for both media sellers and marketers, and can be integrated into agency systems and processes, their long-term value is questionable.
Innovative strategic insights, research, relationships and marketing platforms need a redesign to successfully navigate these chaotic times and succeed in a new media world. We need to acknowledge as an industry that:
Thanks to the current vitality of the media and advertising marketplace, like Pink Floyd, many of us in advertising can be "comfortably numb." We continue to forge ahead with confidence that our world, while transforming, remains relatively stable and secure. For the next few years, the penalties for moving too slowly will be minimal. But in the long-term, unless we invest now in truly innovative and advanced business models, our security will be threatened. It's all-too-easy to push major decisions to future generations of industry leaders. Leadership is defined by providing the foundation for success when that future is today and we can feel the pain.