“This is for everyone”

"This is for everyone"

It’s time agencies and advertisers asked themselves serious questions about the media world they are creating through their investment decisions, writes Tess Alps

I’m sure many of you will have recently joined me in a bit of 2012 Olympics nostalgia by re-watching that soul-lifting opening ceremony. So many inspiring moments. One of the many that drew a tear was when the suburban house flew up to reveal Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web, sitting at his laptop and, across the audience, the phrase “This is for everyone” shone out.

What a vision that was: an open technology that would benefit all humanity by connecting everyone and everything.

Amid the quasi-religious philosophy and optimism that early internet evangelists invoked, people could see that there would be disruption for many on the road, but we were told that the pain would be worth it to create the democratic, meritocratic Nirvana on the horizon.

It’s well-documented that newspapers have suffered more than most media businesses in this transformation, in print advertising revenue at least. Looked at more positively, internet technologies – web, mobile, apps – have allowed them to reach many more people across the world. And, in a thriving online advertising market, this should at least offset some of the losses that print advertising is suffering.

Last week’s results from the Guardian Media Group were a shock; not only did its print advertising decline, its digital advertising was also down despite growth in online readers. On the same day Facebook announced that its first quarter 2016 net income had tripled (yes, tripled) and that its margins had increased from 26% to 37%.

So, after we’ve all congratulated Facebook and commiserated with the Guardian, what should we make of this?

There are two enormous issues here: the first is about the developing advertising landscape and how it impacts advertisers, agencies and media-owners; the second is linked but arguably even more serious and relates to democracy and culture.

It is reported that 90% of the growth in mobile ad revenue is going only to Google and Facebook. You can see how that might happen. These two global behemoths are force fields so magnetic that they suck every penny towards them.

They talk at the highest levels to global companies (and governments – more of which later). Their huge revenues and margins allow them to be so well-resourced that they are omnipresent, not just within media agencies but within marketing departments and creative agencies too.

They offer their expertise for free and they have loads of their in-house data to share. They are lavish entertainers and at the drop a hat will whiz CEOs off to the West Coast or somewhere else lovely.

They are generous sponsors so are able to put their name everywhere and buy up the goodwill of many influencers. The Guardian has been replaced as the headline sponsor of the Edinburgh TV Festival by YouTube (an ironic twist from the company that is telling advertisers to take large sums of money out of TV.) They are mostly staffed by talented and delightful people whom many of us know well and trust.

Everyone wants to be their friend – or at least no-one wants to be their enemy.

I blame Google and Facebook for none of this. They’re just doing their job.

… read on at mediatel.co.uk

Originally posted by Tess Alps at Mediatel Newsline
1st August 2016