Old media survival. New realism, new behaviour, the old media newdeal.


Number 3/5 posts before end of year. And this time a reflection on the quality of the media companies, at a time when so many are fighting for survival. Written on my iphone due to no wifi in Normandy so please excuse typos!;)

This post is a follow up on a conference from ‘les echos’ a French economic newspaper, at which I spoke a couple of weeks ago. The subject being new media and how they were being affected. ‘They’ being the press. In the room managers from some of the largest press companies in France.

I was asked to talk about brand content and how brands were the new media. I quickly moved the subject to a slight different take:
brands are not the new media, people are.

So the role for us advertising people was to find media that helps engage our public, and help them share, participate accross different platforms.

Only we are faced with one huge problem. The complete inability of most media companies to really help us do it as we should.
A little tough you might think rightly, and not very constructive.
But I think it is key today to bang our fist on the table.
Because we the advertising industry are meant to be the ones paying for all these new developments. But what we get in return is bad intrusive, boring and not constructive space. To finally have advertising that does not allow us to do what’s right.

What do I mean concretelly? Well I think banners and intrusive pop ups are most of the time a complete waiste of time. Not just because it’s all dull but also incredibly ineffective (the IAB gives an average click rate of 0,15%…).

So how do we move past criticism to a more constructive place? I suggested there were 3 main reasons for the issue and each had reasonably easy answers for those willing to take control of their future.

1- ‘pudeur’ is the first reason. Translates something like prudism. Yes the media thinks it is untouchably above brands. They’ll take the money but keep them away. An issue Hollywood has managed to do away with. Brands are invited in, and part of the Story. When a media meets a brand you end up with those dreadful promotional pages. Badly written by journalists who get paid many times what they normally get. But why is it that it cannot be a good as hat they normally do? Well it’s for a brand…

Isn’t it incredibly silly to think that we have the means to create great editorial content, create challenges and that all that we get are braindead pages. A couple of weeks ago I approached three of the largest media companies. Wanting to build content across platforms with means and a brand that would allow spectacular content none would normally be able to do. Only to be offered banners promotional space and wrap up spaces on newspapers. All disconnected and none really offering anything worthy of engaging with. In which case we would happily turn to facebook, you tube with no need for the more classic media.

2- fear: like everyother world the media see the new digital space with fear. The people in these companies are exactly like everywhere else: scared, too often non participants. So it’s hardly surprising that they cannot think of programs that builds cross platforms, that stimulate engagement. That’s the domain of newly created competitors like facebook or twitter…
So if the solutions brought are the same old ones, it’s hardly surprising, that’s how they were thought. And disappointingly these solutions are often liked by media buying agencies concerned to bring something that feels new but is easy to put into place.

3-People: the third cause, and the key. Because as we create all these ad places, who really thinks about the people who are going to need to see them… The media? They don’t care: advertising is here to pay for the rest. Media agencies? They are not able to really understand the idea culture: a different skillset, demanding and time consuming.

And what we’re left with is sponsored programs no one wants to watch and banners galore.

So what can we do to solve this? Well how about a new media deal:

Solve the prudism like hollywood does: get brands to help produce better editorial. Stay free to refuse if the brands don’t fit or if the brands don’t stand up to the promise.

Put people in place who get it. One to start is good, but make sure the ceo’s and editors have a plan to get on board… In fact I gace foynd hope talking direct with the ceo’s who in 2 out of 3 cases seem to want to step into a more ambitious world.

Get closer to ghose who can create content people will want to watch. Journalists and creatives, creators, film makers. Because brand content can be fun, should be fun or interesting, or inspiring, or useful.

And last but not least see what media platform bridges can be built from the start, how these bridges will make the public more engaged, how it will give them a better experience overall.

This is not a plea to change all of our media into advertising. It’s a plea for true cross platform media treatments. Not a newspaper on an ipad, an ipad newsform. A plea for advertising that is also more interesting in this new space. A way for brands to be more useful, more entertaining.

That’s how it all started if you remember soap operas. Only this time we can add the power of digital, the power of social media.

And trust me if done well it will change the fortune of many of our struggling media, and give us all a better media to experience.

OMG i can hear some scream. We don’t want to have giant advertising spaces. Believe me no one does. And anyone who steps over the line will pay the price.

Exactly like it’s done in Hollywood really…

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