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Media fight for share

February 21, 2006

With the $250 billion advertising market up for grabs, media incumbents and the new challengers are in an all out war to try and protect or gain share. This has been made evident over the last few days when first, John Stratton the CMO of Verizon used a conference as a platform for what was first reported as an attack on agencies , but really turned out to be an extended infomerical for mobile phone advertising.

Stratton was quick to point out the unique features of advertising on mobile phones, which includes the opportunity of one to one communication. Sadly for Stratton, Comcast, Dish, Tivo and Direct TV would also claim that you can do the same on their networks with the advantage of greater impact.

Then there’s the new effort by the Newspaper Advertising Association who are desperate to tell us that newspaper advertising actually works and that contrary to public opinion, people don’t ignore it.

Clearly these efforts are designed to increase awareness amongst advertisers and their media planners and on a certain level, they might work. The problem is that these media view the world as a zero sum game, pounding their chests and claiming that their media does everything.

The problem is that this is not how it works, media plans are like finely tuned cocktails, which, only when the mix is right, can the right performance be achieved. Media is not consumed exclusively and it doesn’t all do the same thing, the IAB’s XMOS work has proven that. However, detailed objective information on how the different media work together is hard to find, because all the media owners are so desperate to fight their own corners and Nielsen is woefully behind the curve.

This leaves agencies with one solution, build their own capabilities and toolsets. Those that have built the toolsets, have the framework to understand how these different media work and can make plans based on ROI or whatever measures their client’s desire.

Importantly, it arms them with better arguments and more objective data than the one sided media owners ever can, who insist on quoting their own research at every opportunity, while very few of their intended audience believe it.

Media owners, it’s time to get real and co-operate more with other media owners, ad agencies and advertisers and stop pushing your one-sided view of the world.

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