The Changing Nature of Media Companies
In Soaring Beyond the Comfort Zone by Andy Holdgate and Janet Stilson, in last month’s issue of The Financial Manager, they present us with the latest of a number of disruptions to the media industry as told by speakers from different media companies at this year’s Media Finance Focus conference. Media companies that want to stay relevant must be willing to transform. Ad agencies especially, are changing their direction, operating as consultancies. Big data and programmatic advertising platforms have created automated buying and selling of media, doing away with traditional buyers. Adolfo Ramirez, AKA’s Media Practice Lead presented a session on agencies, advertisers and consumers addressing this transformation. “Humans are not being replaced. The machines are not taking over – not yet. We don’t need the traditional buyer at agencies. We need a data person – someone who can analyze data.”
Adolfo has been working with media companies for over ten years, he specializes in ad sales automation, ad billing, revenue recognition and forecasting. His experience developing business management software that addresses the specific needs of media companies positions him to evolve with changes brought on by digital, programmatic advertising and big data.
Adding to the sentiment was Senior VP and Controller for National Geographic, Michael Cole, who in his keynote spoke to the transformation and expansion his company has undergone to remain successful. He said, “when you examine the situation facing most media companies today, you realize that the risk of continuing to operate in the same way we have in the past is far greater than the risk of change” National Geographic is a ‘MyMedia’ company, they incorporate an audience participation model, where social media followers have an active role in developing and delivering content, which is in line with the company’s vision and has made them one of the top 10 brands on Instagram.
The challenges brought on by digital media and new advertising platforms may irk larger media companies but mostly because of change, bigger and more established companies are harder to update. However adding the right people (data analysts) the right technology and with a proper implementation and adoption plan, media companies can evolve and even grow. The ability to track consumer behavior and tailor ads for multiple platforms is only a benefit if you can use the data. The message of the conference and throughout the industry is, media companies that do not bend to the will of digital marketing, data management and heightened consumer expectation, will become obsolete.