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2015 Predictions - The Year Ahead in Advertising & Media

This now bi-annual Predictions series asks senior people from all media sectors to share their in-depth forecasts and reviews for the Australian market.

Click on each name to go directly to their predictions - or scroll down the page.

MediaScope 2015 Predictions


Chris Walton - Managing Director: Nunn Media

2015 Predictions - Chris Walton - Nunn MediaI think 2015 will largely be a mirror image of 2014 in that growth will at best be anaemic.  Or rather growth of channels where paid media is monitored will be anaemic.  Same drivers really – a pretty shaky economic outlook reflecting pretty shaky levels of confidence (Australia seems to have turned into a country that likes to talk itself down – perhaps there are too many of us Poms down here!). 


On top of this the directing of marketing budgets into either owned media or channels that assist ‘earning’ media will continue to grow, and these go largely unmeasured.  Whilst some may point to events such as a home cricket world cup to drive activity, in 2014 we saw the Winter Olympics, Commonwealth Games and Football World Cup combine to do very little to raise the market.


Looking at individual categories makes for interesting reading.  Travel has not had a great year, and with a weakening Aussie dollar (some estimates put the A$ at 76 US cents by end of 2015) the market for overseas travel may decrease.  Will this be offset by more domestic-led travel advertising?  Not sure.  Banking and finance has been surging but can the current levels of growth be sustained?  Probably not.  Growth, if there is any, may therefore be led by what happens in the telco/media space with the likes of Telstra/Foxtel/Presto going head to head with iinet, Netflix, TPG, Optus and Vodafone (if they choose to continue investing money into this market) as well as new brands like Stan.


Another theme that will gain large amounts of attention in 2015 is that of transparency.  Marketers are becoming increasingly restless at some of the business practices media agencies are adopting and will demand to know more about how their agencies make money.  This is quite understandable.  In a challenged advertising market and a stuttering economy pressuring their sales, clients need to be able to trust those they rely on to advise them and will make it clear they are not happy with the growing conflicts of interest that exist.  2015 will see clients raise this as a much higher priority when selecting their agency partners.


Chris's Mid-Year Review


This year has been a big one so far for the industry and much has happened.  Sitting here in the second half of June and reviewing in public my predictions from mid-November is equally fascinating and terrifying.  It is gratifying (or just plain lucky) that many of my predictions seem to be coming true.  This is not necessarily good news, a point I will expand upon later. 
Let me strip everything back and tackle each prediction head on, starting with the exchange rate.  The AUD:USD exchange rate was 87c in mid-November.  I suggested it will be 76c by year’s end.  It is currently 78c, so I am pretty close on that one.  As a result of this I thought travel advertising spend may drop off.  Whilst this was certainly true earlier in the year it has begun motoring in recent months and growth is now strong (+10% YOY in May according to SMI), so I was a bit off there, perhaps due to a slight uptick in consumer confidence and also better commercial performance by the major airlines.  I have been closer to the mark with other categories, notably Banking & Finance (levelling off) and Communications and Entertainment (growing strongly, the latter by 24% Jan-May).  
Where I was also accurate, although it is not something that is making me smile, is on the issue of transparency.  Specifically I said “Another theme that will gain large amounts of attention in 2015 is that of transparency.  Marketers are becoming increasingly restless at some of the business practices media agencies are adopting.”  Barely two weeks after writing this the furore surrounding Mediacom erupted.  Ramifications are still being felt 7 months on and are likely to linger for many months to come, if not years.  In my opinion media agencies need to front up and be more open with their clients about how their businesses operate.  Central to this is framing the value they deliver to their clients so that clients recognise a tangible benefit of working with their media agency.  Failure to address this will not only risk trust being further eroded but see clients increase their efforts (which are already growing in momentum) to develop alternative approaches to market that bypass media agencies altogether.  What is worse than being irrelevant?

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Rob Atkinson - CEO: Adshel


2015 Predictions - Rob Atkinson - AdshelBefore I go into detail on how 2015 might play out it’s important to look back and recognise how successful 2014 was for our industry. With 7% YTD14 industry growth (SMI, Oct.14) on the back of several years of similar growth figures the OOH industry continues to outperform most of our media peers.  With growth though comes responsibility, I am acutely aware that compliancy should never occur and that we need to be resilient and always focusing on what’s next… Relying on the past is not a predictor of the future, as JFK once said “If we only look to the past and present we are sure to miss the future”


As I looked in to the proverbial crystal ball in 2013 I saw automated trading/programmatic buying of digital static and video as important trends that would impact the media scape both globally and here in Australia. The speed of acceptance I didn’t get quite right and perhaps underestimated the shift from traditional mediums such as OOH, however, it’s safe to say this new sales channel is here to stay. If we look at the way media is bought and sold the process is inherently disjointed and inefficient; we as consumers are used to going online, finding what we are after, checking the price and making a purchase – why should media sales be any different? Media sales will eventually move down this automated space it’s just a matter of how fast each operator embraces the change…


With that in mind as we close out 2014 I wanted to share some thoughts on where I see the OOH market moving in 2015 and beyond.


OOH’s pillars for growth:


Digital Inventory

  • The flexibility and benefits digital inventory offers advertisers coupled with the ongoing decrease in technology deployment costs will result in the continued expansion of Australia’s digital OOH network. Whilst regulatory issues still exist these asset locations will focus on place based/non-roadside inventory e.g. retail.


  • An increasing number of players will attempt to entrench themselves in the media buying process, programmatic trading is a case and point for this. The naïve approach would be to look at this as disintermediation; the opportunistic approach is to view this as a chance to tie in multiple value adding synergies e.g. Mobile-OOH and Data-OOH being two obvious ones

Automated Media Buying

  • As noted above I probably picked this one a little too early but I still believe as OOH operators invest in their business systems, adapt to changing advertiser demands and integrate data and insights into their product offering, sales automation will become increasingly more common offering greater value to agencies, advertisers and media owners alike


  • Agencies and advertisers alike are increasingly looking to data to inform their media buying decisions those who welcome this should see more money flow 

Challenges in 2015 and beyond:

  • Scale – having the right sites for the diverse group of Australian advertisers
  • Education – creative opportunities; it is our responsibility to step up here…
  • Clarity of message – an emphasis on simplicity and case study examples
  • ROI/value – incorporating data to aid successful planning and buying of OOH
  • Regulatory – obtaining consent for new builds will be an ongoing challenge

Enjoy the festive season and have a safe and relaxing break. I will see you all in 2015. 


Rob's Mid-Year Review...


At the halfway point of 2015, I feel we’ve charted a pretty accurate course through so far. The trends I isolated haven’t changed and are coming to fruition on the back of tremendous growth. In fact, if there’s one thing that caught us off guard, it’s the astonishing rate of growth we continue to see in out-of-home media, nearly 19% in the first half of this year (OMA, 2015). That growth is fuelling an extraordinary rate of change not seen anywhere else in the world.

Speed of Change

  • The challenges faced by free-to-air television signify the streaming revolution is beginning. A shift that was unthinkable a few years ago is now transforming the radio and television arenas in the form of Netflix, Presto, Spotify and IHeartRadio. Keeping ahead of that curve, outdoor is finding ways to harness digital technology and boost campaign value for clients looking to engage consumers in real time and with contextual relevance.

Digital Screens

  • Digital out-of-home is the main event in our sector this year, as I predicted. The Digital out-of-home market grew 77% YoY in the first half of 2015, accounting for over half of the total growth in the sector. Personally, I’m very excited for our Adshel Live digital network, launching later this year as the first national small-format roadside digital network globally. The flexibility of digital gives so many great opportunities for cross-platform campaigns, so I’d anticipate more overlap between outdoor, radio and mobile – with Beacon data adding another layer of insights and accuracy.


  • Perhaps the watchword of 2015, Data will continue to grow in prevalence through 2015 and beyond. We’re beginning to see genuine data based strategies now as advertisers realize the gains to be made in customer engagement and media accountability. Out-of-home is not outside this drive for insight driven bookings and dynamic reach. I like to say ‘data tells, insight sells’ and I believe that with the right Data and Insights platforms, there is no reason that out-of-home can’t move in on a greater share of the media market as a whole.

Sales Automation

  • Already critical to the digital media economy, the Outdoor Media Association is working on a Sales Automation platform for the out-of-home industry and the timing is right. Buyers and planners are increasingly looking for modern, easy ways to log in and buy media based on client parameters. By changing early to meet these trends, our industry is client meeting these expectations before frustration sets in.

There’s plenty to look forward to in 2015, but I don’t think we’ll see any deviation outside the pillars I’ve outlined above. Seeing other media commentators expressing likeminded sentiments is reassuring and marks the industry moving towards innovation in unison. In the spirit of making predictions, the only prophecy left to make for H2 is an English clean sweep of the Ashes and Rugby World Cup, but that’s an obvious one.

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Peter Zavecz - *Director of Magazines:  Pacific Magazines

2015 Predictions - Peter Zcavec - Pacific Publications2014 has again been a massive year for the magazine industry with some good signs of a reinvigorated and reoriented magazine market. This time last year I predicted that the market would improve for magazines and I’m delighted to report that I was right! The decline in investment slowed relative to the previous year, currently sitting at minus 13% (still too high) but at Pacific we managed to do even better than that, holding the decline to -4.5% YOY (SMI CYTD)


A large part of the improved result relates to our repositioning as a communications platform: we are no longer simply an ink-on-paper business but a full service, 360 degree ecosystem that revolves around the iconic magazine brands we’ve built up over many years. Those brands now exist in print, online, digital editions, apps, social, mobile, events and more. They deliver our carefully curated content around key consumer passion points whenever, wherever and however our consumers choose to interact with us.


That positions us beautifully to take advantage of the direction the market is moving.


In 2015 I believe that media companies will continue to move more and more resources into client marketing services as they seek to diversify their revenue streams. The level of immersion between media and client will be greater than ever and there will be deeper relationships with key clients that begin with consumer insights and seamlessly lead into ideation, content creation and finally amplification and channel management across all our platforms. Ultimately, the delineation between offline and online channels will effectively merge as delivering content in context becomes the new catch phrase for CMOs and businesses like ours deliver all the paid, earned and owned content they seek.


The reality now and for next year is that the old linear purchase cycle has been consigned to the dustbin of history. Consumers now engage with brands in myriad ways across many platforms and can encounter them at any point along their consumer journey. This means, for example, that through the prism of social media consumers can now become brand advocates without ever having bought the brand. Unthinkable even just a few years ago. But our ability to engage with those same consumers across virtually every touchpoint means we can have that conversation with them at any point in the journey and deliver advertiser content in the context of a trusted, credible brand environment that consumers love.


In preparation for 2015 we’ve instituted a program of transformation for our business – streamlining, integrating and aligning the entire company around our delivery of content to audiences. We no longer just talk in pages but in communication programs built around sound strategic principles and core creative ideas that live across every platform and speak to consumers with great content in the context of whichever way they encounter it.


2015 is going to be a great year for us and the magazine (brands) industry as a whole…”

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Mid-Year Review: Mary Ann Azer - Executive Director of Magazine Publishers of Australia (MPA)

2015 Media Industry Predictions - Mary Ann AzerThe decline in the advertising magazine market will slow down as it has continued for the last couple of years. 2014 has seen a decline of 12% on the prior year.  This year-on-year decline has reduced from 17% in 2013 and 20% in 2012.[Source: CEASA].  While SMI data year to date (Jul 14 to May 15) shows consumer magazines down 11% year- on- year vs. -14% this time last year.

The continuing pressure on copy sales and advertising revenue has seen publishers continuing to evolve and diversify to find new revenue streams beyond the printed copy. There is a significant focus on the digital side of the business, with websites growing their unique audiences significantly in the last 12 months. Also, more social media pages, especially facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, are growing this year than ever. Live events are also continuing to increase with events like Vogue Fashion Night Out, Cleo Bachelor of the Year and Better Homes & Gardens Live. 

Gross social followers are at 19 million, edms at 1.6 million, mobile downloads 2.6 million, website unique audiences at 11 million and events are reaching 280,000 people [Source : MPA Publishers March 2015]

The publishers are more focused on positioning themselves as multi-platform content providers beyond the printed copy and the MPA is supporting that with more research around effectiveness of magazines in driving sales and high return on investment vs. other mediums. 

The latest Nielsen study for 3 FMCG brands has shown that magazines, when inputted correctly in weekly data vs. monthly readership data, is both cost effective and delivers a solid return on investment (ROI).Magazine’s ROI moved from the lowest at 0.34 to the highest at 0.91- up 168% .Magazine’s contribution to sales more than doubled from 10% to 23%   .When Magazines and TV were layered together, TV’s ROI improved by 18%, Online Video and Digital Display improved by 13%.

This confirms that reach, whether circulation or readership, is not the critical measure of success, what’s critical is the business results like sales contribution and ROI, which magazines clearly continue to deliver.

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Darren Woolley - Founder:  TrinityP3

2015 Predictions - Darren Woolley - TrinityP32015 will be a year of tools, technology and transformation

Last year I predicted that 2014 was the year zero. And while we never actually hit rock bottom, it was a year when the issues of the downward pressure on agency fees and media rates came to a head with the issue breaking out into the industry for open discussion.

Hopefully this trend is behind us. And while cost will always be a factor, as no advertiser wants to pay more than they should, there will be more opportunities in the year ahead for agencies to not only deliver value, but prove their value. 

Performance media is the trend, made possible by the increasing use of tools and technology such as DMP, Trading Desks, DSPs and the like.

Media agencies are at the centre of this opportunity, with access to huge amounts of publisher data, research and customer data from their clients. Being able to access, analyse and use this to inform media choices and trades and then measure and learn in real time to optimise these strategy choices is the essential transformation occurring in the category.

Hopefully with it we will see the end of media audits on cost as more and more advertisers embrace the opportunity to invest their media based on performance and reward agencies not for the cost but the returns on that investment.

In November, my colleague in the US, Avi Dan wrote in his column in Forbes, that one of the big five trends to watch is media agencies stepping up to the opportunity. Four years ago I called this the Hollywood model, where the media agencies, like the movie studios, become the central strategic hub that develops the strategies, procures the content from independent producers and then manages, measures and maximises the advertisers return on their investment.

Let's hope that the holding companies, who own so many of the consolidated media agency brands, do not allow their investment in content and production agencies, stand in the way of their media agencies stepping up to transform and embrace the opportunity.

Darren's Mid-Year Review

My how a lot changes in six months...

The optimism of Summer is now transformed by the long dark nights of the approaching Winter. The global advertiser response to the issues facing media agencies is to immediate go to pitch throwing billions of dollars in media buying up for grabs using a process that will more likely continue to drive down media agency fees, exacerbating the situation further, while demanding greater transparency and compliance enforced through financial audits making the auditors rich and driving the behaviours of the agency further underground to support their revenue stream.

Meanwhile the creative agencies are making in-roads into the media landscape offer to put the ‘toothpaste back into the tube” with a full service offering pitched at medium size advertisers frustrated with the lack of coordination or collaboration between their various agencies. In the process the price of media appears to fall with continued reductions in agency fees and the promise of media discounts rarely realised.

Meanwhile the unseen cost of media continues to climb and the value delivered falls. What a waste.

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Daniel Hill - Managing Director: Val Morgan Cinema Network

2015 Predictions - Dan Hill - Val MorganLooking back on last year, it’s in some ways reassuring to see that despite the frenzied pace of change across the marketing and advertising business, the core media fundamentals of delivering brand engagement to audiences remains.

We’ve had another strong year at the box-office, cinema has continued to engage and enthrall en-masse with delights such as The Lego Movie, The Wolf of Wall Street, Guardians of the Galaxy and Gone Girl clear proof of both the diverse audience appeal of cinema and that the oldest a/v medium continues to provide brands access to the best content in the best environment. 

We are hugely excited about the outlook for 2015. From a content perspective we have what is without doubt the most highly anticipated line up in cinema history, destined to propel cinema box office to an all-time high.


The outstanding slate of releases ahead includes Star Wars: Episode VII, Bond 24, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Fifty Shades of Grey, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road, Fast & Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Terminator: Genisys, Ted 2, The Minions, Penguins of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda 3 and Mission Impossible 5 alongside many others. 


Great content and the smart application of technology will continue to be at the heart of effective media. Alongside our cinema business, technological driven innovation is powering or digital out of home business, Val Morgan Outdoor, including real time post campaign reporting through the recently launched DART platform. We see exciting times ahead.


Dan's Mid-Year Review...

We entered 2015 knowing that we had an incredible line-up of great content and across the first half of the year the cinema slate has exceeded even our expectations.

Box office records have been smashed globally, with Australian audiences up around 10% year on year, proving once again that audiences migrate to great content. As we look forward to the next six months, the continued fragmentation of a/v audiences is putting cinema in a position of strength, with key movie titles now often delivering more audience scale than key event TV programmes. Some of the highlights ahead include the final instalment of The Hunger Games, the return of Bond in SPECTRE and Star Wars; The Force Awakens.

 On the back of strong advertising support, coupled with the ongoing growth and expansion of Val Morgan Outdoor and new technological innovation on the horizon, we are looking forward to the next six months and into 2016 as cinema will continue to deliver access to the best content in the best environment.

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John Sintras - CEO: Starcom MediaVest Australia

2015 Predictions - John Sintras - Starcom MediavestConsumers will continue to move faster than marketers, demanding a new level of agility in both designing and activating campaigns. We will see far more real time marketing, with smart clients looking to leverage culture in a timely and relevant way for their 'always on' brand activity.


Consumers will continue to directly impact the fortunes of brands, and smart marketers will embrace the opportunity to co-discover what is important with their customers and have them co-create and advocate brand platforms and experiences.


Growth will continue to come from proactivity and re-invention, not legacy business. To succeed, we all have to refresh our approaches, ensure the relevance of our products and services, and delight clients and consumers with experiences that create value and drive proven outcomes.


Disruption will continue in every category, with 2015 beginning to scale virtual reality screens/devices and new tech such as emotion/gesture sensing on mobile phones. Geo-targeting and proximity sensing will continue to change the game.


The smartphone will continue to be the most disruptive device in history. Marketing dollars will continue shifting to mobile platforms as the mobile becomes the 'first' screen for many, as it already is in some emerging countries.


The continued investment in big data and DMPs/DSPs will see the promise of 'precision marketing' become more of a reality. Programmatic buying will continue to grow, but will not be the dominant mode for buying as some suggest. An algorithm will never replace smart people. The blending of both art and science is even more critical as we look for meaning and relevance in the big data stack.


Marketing will continue to become more personal and precise, but not be at the expense of collective brand experiences that clearly support the brand’s purpose and help consumers belong to a tribe bigger than themselves - the blending of collective and personal experiences is critical.


Brands will continue to develop content, but it will become increasingly agile and personal, served through more nimble digital distribution platforms.


The emphasis on ROI will continue. More clients will adopt convergence modelling, informing real time data dashboards that empower in-campaign optimization and iteration.


The broadening of 'creativity' suppliers will continue, with fresh ideas and thinking coming from an increasingly diverse range of partners, including consumers themselves. This will continue to erode the core offering of 'creative agencies'. Closer collaboration will be required across multiple partners to succeed, serving a single-minded brand purpose and ambition.


There has never been a more dynamic and exciting time, and opportunities will abound for those with the right attitude and approach. Bring on 2015!

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Jane Huxley - MD: Pandora Internet Radio

2015 Predictions - Jane Huxley - Pandora Internet RadioFirstly, I’ve had the opportunity to see some of my industry colleagues view into the crystal ball for 2015 in which there are some key themes emerging, and I concur with many of their thoughts. To add some other ingredients to the mix, I’d like to add personalization and discovery and why – as we emerge into a world of apps, these “promises to the consumer” will be increasingly important.


I predict 2015 will be the year of mobile. OK, just kidding, mobile could well be the next last thing in 2015. Much has been written about the demise of time spent in the mobile web browser – with around 80-85% of all time now spent within the confines of applications on both smart phones and tablets.  During the year, Mary Meeker (one of the leading internet thinkers) wrote about how she believes there will be 8-10 “go to apps” on every phone, with the majority of time spent in these, and the rest duking it out in the longer tail of application use.  This smaller set of applications will be united in their value to the customer – providing a uniquely personalised and increasingly service driven set of features for their users. These apps will align with what people deem as critical services such as finance and health, social services – in particular social networking and gaming, communications tools such as email and entertainment driven apps for TV, movies and music.  Each of these apps will have persistently logged in users, and will use a strong data driven approach and a virtuous development cycle to ensure that they are continually evolving to meet the needs of their users.


Having a product respond to its users is one thing – but I would suggest the same trend will appear in the world of content. With 90% of the content of the internet having been created in just the last ten years it’s no wonder that many people claim to be suffering from information overload. The notions of curation and discovery will become more critical both to those who are on the receiving end of all that content, as well as those who are seeking to get their information into the right hands at the right time. When personalization meets discovery, inside of a responsive mobile app – we’ll see that magic can be created.


As more and more companies start to get this right, they will each earn a coveted position in the “go to list” for millions of consumers, and they will need to be on the top of their game to stay there.


Are you ready for a world where the majority of consumers exist in a minority of applications?


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Mark Frain - National Sales & Marketing Director: Multi Channel Network (MCN)

2015 Predictions - Mark Frain - MCNBoth global and local economic indicators point to a gradual pick up in 2015 driven by a re-balancing of the Australian economy. Unemployment remains stable at around 6%, the Australian dollar has weakened against the US dollar as the US economy strengthens and interest rates remain low which is likely to continue into the back end of 2015, if not longer. 

Consumer confidence remains subdued on the back of a significant fall in May 2014 off the back of a tough budget announcement, which has meant consumers remain in a cycle of saving rather than spending.    

The required level of business confidence from sales growth is also not materialising and advertisers appear locked into a short-term media planning and buying mentality.  This in itself is making forecasting more challenging than ever before as the short-term market is rapidly becoming the new norm.  Despite the above macro-economic factors, we remain cautiously optimistic that the advertising market will show some marginal growth in 2015.   

From a TV perspective, it seems clear that the industry is now in the first stages of structural change with the global players like You Tube striking global and local annual deals, likewise with Facebook also taking a much more aggressive position to secure television budgets for their video advertising products. There is also now a depth of data and evidence that clients are committing greater budgets to online video generally and ‘Owned and Earned’ media than ever before both locally and on an international basis. With data playing an even more vital role in driving marketing decisions, a client’s ability to assess the impact of their own media channels continue to grow, which more often than not is where their communication process now starts.  

Publishers and agencies and grappling with this structural change and as such we are seeing an evolution to ‘screen based’ buying teams where the focus is on ‘video’ irrespective of what screen it is being distributed on. In 2015, you will continue to see ‘video’ winning the day as companies either produce more video content overall or migrate products to a much more digital centric video proposition. 

The challenge from here will be around measurement and transparency as multi-screen measurement systems begin to catch up to the change in consumer behaviour and the subsequent changes in media and marketing expenditure. The industry demand for this will mean significant developments will be made in this area across 2015.  

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Mid-Year Review - Nick Young - Digital Sales Director - Multi Channel Network (MCN)

MediaScope 2015 Predictions - Nick Young MCNIt’s certainly been a fascinating start to the year. 

The market’s new buying cycle and therefore the new market is one which remains incredibly short with marketeers and agency continuing to be operate in short-term buying patterns. Media organisations are coming to terms with how the industry is evolving and what that means for their businesses, in light of the new market.  As a direct result we are starting to see the beginning of major consolidation and structural change for some agencies and media owners. With greater fragmentation, we continue to see aggregation as a key solution.  

Screen based buying irrespective of distribution channel continues to grow and evolve; Programmatic TV has arrived in Australia and is accelerating at a pace beyond initial predictions; Mass targeting through quality data is driving the rate of evolution within advertisers. 

These key factors have set the stage for one of the most competitive and dynamic starts to the year and I don’t see the pace of change slowing, if anything, I see it accelerating with all of these factors playing a major role in the rapid evolution of our industry. 



Dominic Pearman - Managing Director: Pearman Media


2015 Predictions - Dom Pearman - Pearman MediaGiven the fountain of all knowledge (aka Wikipedia) says “risk and uncertainty are central to forecasting” I’m surprised Denise has convinced me, for the second year running, to give my forecasts.  Anyway, here goes...


From an overall media advertising expenditure point of view it is important to look at Australia’s economic outlook.  The general economic outlook is looking weak with questions over the Chinese economy and particularly as we are now getting less for what we dig out of the ground. Household savings are also still high (despite lowering interest rates) which has a direct impact on consumption. It is also reasonable to assume the Government will continue to cut back spending. Therefore, I don’t think it’s too ‘risky’ saying it will be another flat year of ad spend in 2015.  


Looking at each media, the declines in Print media are slowly abating and possibly could “achieve” sub -10% in 2015.  Outdoor is having a good 2014 (up 7% to Oct) and the growth in Digital inventory would suggest 2015 will also be good for Outdoor.   I expect Radio and TV to maintain a flat revenue outlook and Cinema is anyone’s guess (up 20% one year, down 20% the next).  Digital has obviously propped up the overall expenditure and is clearly a growth area in all media agencies. Its revenue percentage increases will reduce as it is now off such a large base and as costs are driven down by the continued love affair with Ad exchanges / Programmatic buying.


I think 2015 will see clients and media agencies working closer together on data analysis and more debate over dashboards and media attribution.  All this will lead to a greater understanding of how each media (particularly Digital) works in tandem with each other. 


With what is in the news at present, clearly transparency is going to be a big issue to ensure clients get what they pay for. 


Dom's Mid-Year Review...

Based on the SMI data for the first third of 2015 compared to the first third of 2014, I’d give myself a B minus on my report card. TV has been flat (1.1%), Outdoor continues to do well (+14.4%), Cinema is doing very well (+29.1%) and Print’s woes are yet to achieve the sub 10 mark as they hover around -14%.  Radio continues its strong growth since Sep’14 being up 10.5% for the first 4 months and Digital has maintained a growth of around 16-18%. 

What’s been interesting in the first 6 months of 2015 is the Offline media jumping onto the ‘Programmatic’ bandwagon.  I used to think Programmatic related specifically to software that enhanced a digital campaign based on an action such as a click, view, impression, cost efficiency, etc, in real time.   I now need to accept that Programmatic also means the use of software that enables greater reach of a more in-depth target albeit still using past data (ie. not in real time). I’m yet to see how the Offline media can adjust a campaign based on immediate responses from its audience.  Offline’s inventory is more finite than Online which again limits the adjustment of campaigns as they are live.  I guess as Offline media becomes more interactive that will lead to more real time enhancements.

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Alice Manners - CEO:  Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)

2015 Predictions - Alice Manners - IAB AustJust ten years after we collectively wondered whether the digital industry would make a difference in people’s lives and business, it’s quite extraordinary that interactive advertising expenditure neared $4.4 billion in FY14, representing a 22 percent YOY growth and a 34 percent share of the total Australian advertising market.  Indeed growth in the digital media and marketing industry in 2014 has been so strong that I’ve run out of adjectives to describe the “positive” growth trajectory we continue to see. 

Peeking into 2015, the future already looks rosy, with almost four in 10 advertising dollars being allocated to digital during the first half of FY15.   

In 2015 the digital media and marketing industry will continue to flourish and I expect to see a number of transformations:

  • Mobile will continue to move mainstream - This is critical now with many Australian publishers seeing over 50 percent (and some as much of 75 percent) of their traffic from mobile.  Frankly this means the message for marketers is simple: get mobile or get left behind.
  • The potential growth of the digital video market - in Australia is indisputable but it will depend on Australian companies offering quality content that is easy to digest.  Marketers should look at what role video can play in all their marketing channels.  
  • The demand for and importance of marketing technology - will only increase as marketers’ prioritise personalization and customer centricity.  Be informed about where your audiences spend their time and make sure you dig deeper into customization and personalization.
  • Brand safety will come to forefront in 2015 - As an industry we’ll be exploring the issue of fraud and examining what self-regulatory principles are needed to bring increased trust, transparency and, therefore, reduced risk in this area. We’ll never do away with fraud entirely but focusing the efforts of everyone across the industry should pay huge dividends next year.
  • E-commerce in Australia will finally start to gain the share - one would expect in such a mature market as ours.  The significant shift in consumer behaviours means that that people no longer have fear of payment fraud online or see e-commerce as a cheapening of the customer experience.  That means the only real barriers remaining to the growth of e-commerce will be economic and logistic in nature. 
  • The continued increase in investment in the interactive advertising ecosystem - testifies to the rewarding relationships marketers are effectively building with consumers through interactive media.  Expect to see digital advertising account for a minimum of 45 percent of the total market in 2015.

When you consider that it’s just twenty five years since the conception of the World Wide Web and 20 years since the first banner ad appeared, it’s clear that there is still much change ahead in our industry and that marketers and advertisers will have to work quickly to catch up with their consumers.

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Jodie Sangster - CEO: Association for Data-Driven Marketing & Advertising (ADMA)


2015 Predictions - Jodie Sangster - ADMA2015 will be the year of delivering on the customer experience and the media industry will be focused on analytics, data, technology and content as a result.


Client side, on the analytics front, there will be an increasing focus on measurement, effectiveness of media, and attribution. This will require analytics skills both on the client side and in media agencies. 


It will also demand a heavy investment in analytics experts to meet those expectations. A recent study by the Institute of Analytics Professionals of Australia (IAPA) suggests there is a significant shortage of skilled analytics practitioners out there, so be prepared to pay top dollar for talent.


Also in 2015, we’ll see media agencies significantly upskilling in data capabilities. Some forward-thinking agencies have already invested in education that ensures data skills across the whole agency. This is a shift from having one or two individuals within an agency who are data experts, to making sure that all staff are data-intelligent. These agencies are a step ahead. All other agencies will have to come up to speed in this area.


On the technology side, the landscape will be increasingly cluttered with tools and technologies that will underpin marketing, media and advertising. Clients and agencies need to understand how these tools and technologies fit together and work in the new landscape. Agencies can’t afford to be left behind because clients will be looking for advice on suitable technology and the agencies will have to play this role.


The focus on content will continue but there will be a greater emphasis on measurability to see if cut through and ROI is being achieved. Clients will want more from their agencies to truly understand the effect of content in the campaign mix. Meanwhile, agencies will want more from media owners to understand the impact of branded content, user-generated content and native content. All will be placing an emphasis on measurability tools and data interpretation in 2015.  


A final word about content and this won’t appeal to everyone, but native advertising is here to stay. But for native to have credibility it has to be legitimised in 2015. The only way this can happen is for the industry to set benchmarks and develop self-regulatory standards for companies to abide by and to ensure enlightened consumers. 


Jodie's Mid-Year Review...


Half way into 2015 and I’d say my predictions are holding steady! Media agencies are starting to offer more value to clients. They’ve moved from their core work of advising clients with their media plans to offering more value through business problem solving capabilities, which is a good strategy.


The more forward-thinking agencies are upskilling their staff in data and technology, but more needs to be done to develop a well-rounded team that can deliver on the needs of a brand. At this stage, there’s still too much emphasis on programmatic. Programmatic is just a small part of the bigger martec and adtech landscape and media agencies need to be well-versed way beyond programmatic if they are going to solve their clients’ problems.


Data remains on the radar but media agencies need to get to grips with using data to drive better insights and assist clients in this regard. Their clients will demand this service more often.


Finally, a bit of advice: I suggest media agencies start looking at attending the conferences and events where they will find their clients and brands in abundance. Brand staff are out there attending conferences to learn about data, content, creativity and technology – all the things that underpin customer experience, but media agencies aren’t following. Media agencies tend to be talking amongst themselves when they should be with their clients at these events. That’s a disconnect that needs to be resolved soon.


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Mark Hollands - Chief Executive: The Newspaper Works


2015 Predictions - Mark Hollands - The Newspaper Works

The disruptive trends that occupy our business thinking today will accelerate and deepen in their impact. I haven’t seen much sign of them slowing for 20 years, so I reckon that’s safe ground on which to begin.


Nobody ever asked to stand in a longer queue, and they never will. Everything will be faster. And faster again in 2016.


Change in media consumption, still largely habitual, will quicken with new platforms and choices in 2015. The Americans are already showing us our future. I can see three years of trend-line movement until something else comes along, or the market pauses before another technological or business model advance, such as we have experienced with social media. Consequently, content creators will need to continually invest and innovate in 2015, knowing their margin of error barely exists.


Print newspapers will continue to have huge influence on society, consumers and the news output of other media channels. The US and UK news publishers are pulling out of some tough years, and we’ll see the same here in 2015 and then, perhaps more pronounced, in 2016. It’s hard to see circulation reversing but readership will continue to be strong. Increasingly, the audience will not differentiate between print and various digital platforms and simply engage with journalism.


The value of the industry and the huge numbers of newspapers consumed – metro / regional / suburban – illustrates that print will be around for a long time yet. Newspaper companies will continue to evolve and invest in existing and new products and services, and they will continually adjust their own company structures to maximise effectiveness and minimise cost – an expectation of any shareholder.


Commercial teams will be tasked to build trusted relationships on the foundation of knowing their clients’ business needs, as opposed to focusing on the reach and frequency of their own products. Seven West Media already has a big reputation for this, and Fairfax Media, as another example, is publicly moving in a the same direction. Hopefully, the politics between publisher and media agency will not be a spectator sport, and everyone will line up to do the best for the client.


Return on Investment will be constant theme, mainly because it will continue to be a tough measure to crack consistently and requires trusted collaboration.


Large-scale customer-purchase data and audience survey data will be an increasingly powerful combination in media purchasing decisions, and media owners and agencies alike will need to accommodate this in their business models, as some are already doing.


Digital newspaper subscriptions will grow as the audience appreciates the value of their preferred brand of journalism. Maybe more interestingly, these subs will provide publishers with greater insights into their readers, which will enhance their own commercial propositions and content creation activity.


A bedfellow of speed is efficiency. So expect to see a greater focus from media owners on making it simpler for clients and agencies to transact in all sectors. The harder we make it to buy, the less money we’ll earn.


Despite all the noise of disruption in 2015, the most successful individuals and companies will never forget the power of a bloody good idea.


Mark's Mid-Year Review...


There’s only one issue with my predictions – they were too safe!


I haven’t seen the media industry stray from the general premise of -

  • The power of value creation through innovation, which in English translates to “good ideas”
  • Speed and efficiency – these don’t always go hand in hand but right now that is the narrative, especially among media agencies that are hell-bent on sending everything down a programmatic or automated path. And programmatic and automation are not the same, either, btw.
  • Return on Investment continues to be the common cry of the marketer – though, to be honest, media is usually too far removed from their clients’ true business operations and costs to accurately calculate RoI.

My reference to the rise and rise of data seems bang on, but in truth I don’t think in my own head I thought the adoption and usage curves were as ferocious as they appear to be. There are many more enlightened and intelligent executives in media than me who see this train coming down the track fast,  and believe it to be the major disrupter for everyone in media.


I made reference to the growth of digital subscriptions to news brands. The data indicates that there is strong growth in a combination of print / digital subscriptions, but not in digital subs alone. This surprises me but equally it is good news because it shows the relevance of print newspapers, and the fact that readers want journalism in multiple forms.


In my own back yard, I would not have predicted agencies continuing to forcefully speak about the value of print and that fact that it has been under-sold to clients. We’ve heard this repeatedly over the last few months from Sir Martin Sorrell, who’ll be a speak at our conference in September, plus executives from Saatchi and, locally, colleagues such as John Steedman and Henry Tajer.


To state the obvious as a summary – nothing is getting easier or simpler. Whether a media buyer or owner, the challenges of strategic agility, skills acquisition and transformation are greater than they have ever been. These are amazing times for media . . . what’s there not to love!




More Predictions...


Further Resources

  • MediaScapes - well-known visual guides mapping all channels in the Australian media landscape.  MediaScapes appear in presentations and on office walls throughout the industry!


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