The revenue opportunities for media
Print, digital and broadcast media have all experienced vast disruption this past few weeks – and almost without exception, ad revenues have taken a punch, with many media owners experiencing as much as a 75% drop in revenues (Stat from: cogniclick live industry benchmark)
Advertisers all over the shot are pausing and cancelling activity – giving themselves breathing space to figure out what the hell to say in their ads, and how the hell to say it. Marketing teams are forensically analysing existing creative and neurotically adapting it to remove any sign of an (insensitive) sell – and with this uncertainty, unsurprisingly, ad revenues have been falling off a cliff.
The biggest slap in the face befalls the media owners who have jumped on the demand of brands wanting to meet their customers and prospects face to face. With all their eggs in the live events basket – and with no certainty when demand will return, if it ever will, some of these businesses have literally closed overnight.
One the the main job casualties of this situation is a whole load of media sales souls – who have flogged their guts out for years and decades only to be the first to pack up their desks. And the explosion of OOO’s in my inbox has only served to confirm that these commercial roles at the coal face, have taken a big hit (the ooo’s have ranged from ‘left the business’, ‘temporarily off work’, to ‘so damn busy right now as i’m working 4 people’s jobs!’)
Change brings opportunity:
Despite these terribly difficult circumstances, lessons can be learned – the short term outlook is not good – but audiences aren’t spending less time on content, quite the opposite – and we’re seeing a huge shift in media consumption habits – these valuable eyeballs aren’t checking out – they’re just changing what they do.
Kantar’s recently released media consumption data has found that internet usage has risen by a staggering 71%. At the moment readers are hungry for coronavirus stories understandably, and the Drum reported recently that the most read articles on the Guardian and Financial Times were coronavirus related. But this will soon enough change as we seek stories to help us move our businesses forward. We’ll stop wanting content clarifying the situation as it is – and start looking to read about ways, methods and eventually, solutions – to help us to move forward.
So despite this climate, the value of a high quality and engaged audience is ever as important, if not more important. These prime online audiences have become even more valuable.
Commercial staff who do keep their jobs and who innovate their product offering intelligently and empathetically, will not only keep hold of clients but stand a greater chance of winning new ones when the time comes– and the furloughed who return will likely find themselves returning to a very different industry and job.
So how can we innovate? What can we do to improve how we sell in this climate?
Continue to help:
Shorter term the role of the commercial team will be to offer ongoing advice to clients to help them rethink their strategy and their creative so it fits with the times and is sensitive to their anxious audiences.
The commercial media job should be one of support to steer the client through these times and to work as a partner helping them figure out the best way to keep their message in the mind of their audiences.
In this spirit, ITV is currently offering advertisers use of their in-house creative resource, at cost – to produce ads or provide an interim fix for brands whose copy might be jarring at a time of social exclusion (as reported in Campaign)
But, it must be stressed this is not the time for the hard sell, if the hard sell will ever have a place again. The best campaigns will focus at the top of the funnel and generate engaged communities that trust and value the content you share as a brand, and appreciate and respect the position you take.
The opportunity now is to use ad budgets to offer advice and guidance and to generate good feeling in the marketplace. And so you’re ready when things start to settle down. And brands must not underestimate the opportunity that doing this well – will present down the line.
Doing events right
We’ve all seen it – events are rapidly moving online.
The sustainable solution here though is to really understand what your advertisers and delegates are trying to achieve from attending. There’s no point just setting up an online stage and having speakers deliver their thought leadership in a linear fashion.
Why do delegates really go to events? Of course there’s the desire to learn from experts – but if that was the only reason, they’d watch more webinars and read more articles. It must not be forgotten that a huge part of the appeal of live events is the opportunity to meet prospects, the opportunity to talk to peers – to generate opportunities with individuals we meet at these events.
Simply broadcast a live event and very soon delegate numbers will fall off as you’re missing a huge part of the appeal. Instead we must think how can we utilise technology to facilitate 1-2-1 networking, or break out areas for interest in specific topics.
When developing our online events – we won’t achieve success unless we think about what the attendees really get out of it and design the online user experience on the back of this understanding.
And the biggest opportunity
And finally and importantly, the virus has led people to re-evaluate ways of working and life priorities, and has laid bare some of the inadequacies of certain types of advertising. Recent advertising ( has got away with ) gearing towards a one way communication. Selling a product without the human connection we all hunger for.
The future we will need advertisers to understand the relationships between people and the crucial role of empathy. Those that will perform better will feature more human connection.
The changes coronavirus will make across our society are hard to predict. But in advertising, at least, it feels like there’s a big opportunity to change course and rediscover our human instincts. And we’ll see multiple technologies spring up that help with this – to help brands connect better with their audience on a human level.
Take for example collaboration, rather than a one way communication – how about involving your audience and enabling them to compare in real time.
Share your opinion in the Live Media Industry Live Benchmark
How does your approach to this situation compare with your peers?
While these opportunities will not solve the problem completely, they will certainly make a big impact and keep relationships alive now and prepare the firm for what clients want next. As they say necessity is the mother of invention.
The more imaginative we are in how we support clients to access our rich audiences – the more successful we will become.
We offer media companies and brands the tools to create unique and engaging content that shows true consideration to the audience. In a climate where we need to think about collaboration, not hard sell – we enable advertisers to involve their target audience, ask their opinion and lead the debate.