Media strategists can cut path through changing TV landscape

BoldenGlaxoSmithKline European media director Andy Bolden has called for the return of the “TV strategist”, claiming that clients need more help negotiating their way through a rapidly changing television landscape.

He says times are “scary” for marketers and brand teams and that such media strategists would help navigate through them.
Bolden’s rallying cry came as agencies, advertisers and media owners converged in Bath for the two-day Marketing Week TV 2007 conference. In a rare consensus of opinion, representatives of media agencies, media owners and advertisers all claimed yesterday (Tuesday) that current measurement and accountability models and metrics were antiquated .

Conference chairman Jim Marshall, UK chairman of media agency Starcom, started the proceedings by telling the audience that the industry was “burying its head in the sand”.

“It is failing to get to grips with the issue and is uncomfortable with the deficiencies of measurement and acc-ountability,” he said in his opening address.

Marshall added that the contract rights renewal (CRR) trading formula – put in place to allow Granada and Carlton to merge – existed only to prevent ITV dominating the commercial TV market. He said: “It is a 1980s metric, which one could argue is obsolete.”

Similar thoughts were voiced at MW TV 2006, but there is a sense that they are gaining momentum. 

Thinkbox director of research and strategy David Brennan pleaded for more emphasis on emotive issues and engagement.
He called for media and creative planners to work more closely – a sentiment echoed by British Heart Foundation policy and communications director Betty McBride. She said: “Client, agency and media buyer can work together to come up with quite amazing strategies.”

Meanwhile, James Wildman, managing director of Virgin Media Television sales house IDS, said times had changed, and media owners and agencies had to keep up, not rely on such things as agency deals.

Wildman said: “The old metrics were devised for a different set of circumstances and should be updated.”
Wildman also urged TV not to be planned or considered in isolation any more, saying the medium was “too siloed” within the marketing communications process.

Carat head of planning Steve Hobbs concurred. “It is important to get media owners and agencies together from different disciplines to talk about how to get the best solutions for the client. Drop the silos, drop the politics and think about the clients.”

He said media owners outside TV were grasping the new realities quicker and better. “Probably because they have to and have arguably more to lose.” admitted Hobbs.

He pointed to declining newspaper readership and added that newspapers are far better and more advanced in looking at other media such as online to develop their strategies and brands.

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