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Australian Media & Advertising Industry - 2014 Forecasts


As 2013 draws to a close it's time to take the cover off the crystal ball yet again and look to the year ahead. 

Here we share 2014 forecasts from some of the most senior and experienced people involved across a range of advertising and media sectors. 

Click on the names below or scroll down the page to see their predictions - each from their own unique market perspectives.

If you'd like to share your 2014 forecasts feel free to add your comments below.


Darren Woolley - Founder at TrinityP3

MediaScope 2014 Forecasts - Darren Woolley - TrinityP3Is 2014 Year Zero?
If you want to predict the future the first place you start is history. Looking back on the past few years here are my predictions for 2014 and why I predict that 2014 will be seen as YEAR ZERO for media and marketing.

ZERO MEDIA COSTS – It was not that long ago that a major advertiser would need a significant investment in media to obtain a 50% discount on their media. Now media agencies, especially in pitches have been reported as offering better than 70% discounts and in some cases 90% discounts to a wide range of advertisers. But are media agencies making promises that the media owners cannot keep? Next year will be the point of breaking the spiral to zero as the system is ultimately unsustainable. But who will be the victims and who will be the victors when it all comes to pieces?

ZERO AGENCY FEES – Procurement and competitive pressure has seen the agencies having to play the game in the race to zero. This year saw the British Government controversially organize a reverse e-auction where the agencies had to bid down their fees to the lowest possible rate to win. Many procurement people here cannot see the issue with this as they say the market will set the floor price. So 2014 could be the year where agencies will plan and buy media for free.

ZERO CHOICE OF AGENCY – This year we had the announcement of the merger of Publicis and Omnicom to create POG. Plus there are whispers of more mergers in the offering. When merged in this country it means that the Vivaki/OPera buying group will be twice the size of its next nearest rival and more than three times bigger than most. This means marketers will have less choice. But the question is does this mean that the media owners can afford to let it dominate the rest?

We can only hope good sense prevails and we do not get to a media version of Pol Pot’s inhuman vision of Year Zero and value perception returns to the media marketplace.

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Chris Walton - Board Advisor to Skyfii, formerly Principal of Quantium & CEO of Mindshare

MediaScope 2014 Forecasts - Chris WaltonIn 2014 the overall advertising market will grow slightly, perhaps up a point or two.  There are two reasons for this.  The first one being that confidence is still fragile and the oft-mentioned boost after the election simply didn’t materialise.  Whilst I thought the link between ad spend and the Australian political leadership was always rather tenuous, I don’t think the new government has actually done anything to earn greater levels of confidence than the last lot.  But this is just a personal opinion.  The second reason is the larger influence.  In simple terms, marketing budgets are increasingly being spent in ways that traditional methods of measurement (advertising dollars) fails to pick up.  I believe investment in brands is motoring ahead but this money is being spent in different ways, with data analytics and content marketing for example, accounting for a greater and greater share.  Dollars that used to be spent on high impact television advertising may now be being spent developing dynamic data platforms that allow one-to-one communication and in commissioning content to be produced to be delivered in this way. 

Whilst I am citing an extreme example above, my point is that the choices a marketing director has about where to spend money now goes way beyond a list of channels where advertising may be placed.  Why spend on broadcast channels that by definition involve huge amounts of wastage when you can invest in cutting edge platforms that allow for direct, timely and relevant contact that may involve ads but could also be vouchers, promotions or interesting content.  This is not to say advertising channels are dead, the opposite is true, but for individual media to maintain and grow the dollars they have received in the past they will need to appreciate the fact that what and how they offer to clients needs to develop and diversify.  This is already beginning to happen, but in 2014 significant budgetary shifts will highlight this even more.

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Alice Manners - CEO at Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Australia

MediaScope 2014 Forecasts - Alice Manners - IABAustraliaIn 2014 interactive advertising will grow up - Scale was achieved in 2013 when online advertising expenditure exceeded TV ad revenues for the first time in Australia.  This is an incredibly enviable position for the interactive advertising industry to be in within such a relatively short period of time since its inception.

The next step is for the interactive advertising industry to evolve in structure and maturity. So rather than stating that 2014 will be “the year of mobile, social, video, native or any other channel you care to name....” I think it’s going to be the year the industry grows up.

This optimism is fuelled by several factors.  Industry wide we are already seeing agencies and advertisers alike refining their approaches to achieve smarter and more precise segmentation and targeting and in 2014 this will continue to develop thanks to a continued strong focus on the cloud and big data. 

The other area that I think the industry will continue to make great strides in is the development of great interactive ad creative.  2013 was an absolutely cracker year for Australian agencies who gained global recognition and awards at both IAB MIXX in New York and Cannes.  We’ll see lots more of this in 2014 as agencies develop their online skills to deliver exceptional work that incorporates storytelling and emotional connections.

Finally – and perhaps most importantly - online measurement will really develop in 2014 and help shift online advertising to a whole new level.  This will start with digital audience measurement expanding from its primary focus on desktop media environment analysis to include other digital channels, campaign specific audience data and developing ways to measure cross media environments and campaigns.  These developments will enable marketers to get a true understanding of the strengths of seamlessly integrated digital strategies.

We’ve already started improving measurement with the recently announced IAB Mobile Audience Measurement Panel scheduled to deliver its first data in Q2 to aid planners integrating mobile into their media plans.

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Dominic Pearman - Managing Director at Pearman Media

MediaScope 2014 Forecasts - Dominic PearmanI tend to agree that the main point of advertising forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.  However, here are my crystal ball insights;

The total spend is affected by the main ‘ad category’ markets, the major media and the economic outlook.

The top 4 categories in advertising spend (Retail, Auto, Banking & FMCG) account for around 55% of all spend.  Whilst Retail has increased its spend each year for the last 4 years it is now tracking at -2% for YOY 2013.  Auto has also increased consistently each year and is up 2% in 2013 while Banking / Finance is up 6% from last year.  The FMCG category has declined in spend from 2010 and has been flat in 2013.  Along with the rest of the Ad pie, this all equates to a probable 1-2% increase in total spend from 2012 to 2013.  Without the Retail & FMCG categories increasing, the total ad spend outlook is likely to be flat.  

On the media front, TV and Digital account for around 60-65% of all spend.  No surprise that Digital spend continues to grow at 20% whilst TV is having a relatively good 2013 with a 3% increase to date. Print is accounting for a smaller proportion of the pie however still accounts for 20% of all spend. As Print has declined by around 20% p.a. it has wiped off a lot of the gains made by Digital & TV.  Again, this trend implies minimal increases to the total ad spend.

The economic indicators tell us the economy is slowing and consumer spending is at its weakest level in 13 years. However, consumer confidence is trending upwards and household wealth is growing as people pay down debt and save.

Looking at these trends (and assuming consumers don’t start splashing out), I think it's a reasonable bet that the overall advertising spend in 2014 will be up around 1.5-2.0%.

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Peter Zavecz - Director of Magazines - Pacific Magazines

MediaScope 2014 - Peter Zavecz - Pacific MagazinesIt’s been another big year for magazines.  At Pacific, we’ve broken new ground as the first publisher in the world to offer print to digital technology on every page with Netpage.  And, for the first time in history Better Homes and Gardens has taken the lead as the country’s most read magazine.

As an industry, 2013 has seen magazine publishers work better together under the newly reformed MPA.  We have a new audience metric, emmaTM, which has seen the measurement of magazine readership move more in-line with our international publishing counterparts.  We have also collaborated on a number of other ground-breaking new initiatives that will bear fruit into 2014.  These include the expansion of Pacific’s unique BAM research to include other publishers and come under the auspices of the MPA – building on the rich mine of data that proves the ROI of magazine advertising.

Additionally, MAPP (magazine audience performance predictor) is a new MPA tool that aggregates weekly circulation data, readership metrics and audience accumulation curves to create a weekly real time ‘ratings’ performance for magazine campaigns.  This world first metric will be available in 2014 to media agencies, will be updated weekly and will provide real time data just a week after a magazine goes on sale.

As you can see, there’s a lot going on in the magazine space, so in turning to make some predictions for next year, I’d like to boldly – and perhaps rather presumptuously say that perhaps 2014 might see improving sentiment and softening of revenue decline for magazines (at least for the smarter clients). 

Magazines haven’t stopped working.  Readers haven’t just stopped reading – and research continues to prove the power of printed words to engage, entertain and persuade consumers of every age.  Magazines continue to evolve, adapt and are here for the long haul…”

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Dan Hill - Chief Revenue Officer at Val Morgan

MediaScope 2014 - Dan Hill - Val MorganAs technology continues to fuel growth in both choice and convenience for audiences, achieving that all important cut through with impact and engagement will continue to be a priority for advertisers in 2014.

As content options and audience choice expands, audiences are quickly voting with their feet. Hand held devices and entertainment dollars are migrating towards the best content. Whilst this has become very apparent in the TV world with this year’s programming it’s something that’s been long understood in the cinema world. Annual box office revenue in Australia is on track to exceed a billion dollars for the fifth consecutive year. An exceptional movie content outlook for release in 2014, from big budget blockbusters through to thought provoking quality modern day cinema classics will again see audiences queuing. Cinema provides first run content and unique access to quality audiences engaged like no other media channel.

Whilst we are looking forward to the coming year across our cinema business we are also hugely excited about the opportunities across our fast growing digital outdoor network. A great example of how technology is transforming media is in the out of home space. Innovation in digital out of home is driving sector growth making it more compelling for advertisers. With increasing speed to market, new creative possibilities and zero production costs it is the growth OOH category. Combined with cinema, digital out of home provides geo-targeted opportunities out of the home at the point of purchase.

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Rob Atkinson - CEO at Adshel

MediaScope 2014 Forecasts - Rob Atkinson - AdshelIt feels as though the media and marketing world has been moving towards a precipice now for a couple of years. Whether that cliff is the point where people really start doing big data or programmatic buying gets a foothold or ROI loses the battle with creativity, there is a sense that the digital age as we know it is reaching maturity and our new lens will see media transform significantly and at speed.
Abysmal click through rates on online display are now widely known, there are memes about the “skip ad” countdown on YouTube, people are actively avoiding the SEM ad at the top of search in favour of the organic result and we are all sobering up a little from “our social media binge”. 
The bright shiny things of the last five years have lost a bit of their lustre as we are bombarded with the latest and greatest social media platform or app or marketing catch phrase, that we are told is keeping us up at night. As we scan streams of photos, posts, emails, memes, tweets and spreadsheets our personal lives are becoming not dissimilar to our working ones. I think 2014 will be the start of an era where those that provide simplicity in an overwhelmingly complex world will be the winners.

Digital Outdoor provides access to more audience and now data, location-based marketing and services alongside real time flexibility making it a powerful solution that fits with where the consumer is at. It hits at the heart of what now drives us, convenience, shareable experiences and personalisation.  Of course digital outdoor is not the only platform that will continue to grow. It is the link to the mobile and constantly connected consumer that is key to making people’s lives easier. For us the future is in the palm of our audience’s hands and that makes it a great time to be in out of home!

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Stephen Hunt - MD of TubeMogul (Aust & NZ)

MediaScope 2014 - Stephen Hunt - TubeMogulIf I had to sum it all up, I’d say 2014 is going to be ‘The Year of Broadcast’.
I don’t mean TV and I don’t mean online video.  I mean broadcasting communication to people.  For decades, media has been planned in silos but 2013 laid the foundation for marketers to zero in on consumer-centric media buying, or a screen-agnostic approach.
It doesn’t mean online video is cannibalising TV, or mobile is robbing desktop, it means we are marketing to people instead of channels and that is a monumental step forward for the industry.  The big driver for this has been the programmatic branding revolution.  Read more of Stephen's Predictions for 2014



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If you'd like to add your 2014 forecasts feel free to add your comments below.


Further Resources

  • Digital People - Forecasts for the year ahead - 2013 - 2012
  • 2013 Year in Review - we highlight some of the most significant events and interesting moments throughout 2013 in both overseas and the local Australian market
  • MediaScapes - well-known visual guides to a growing range of media channels & industry landscapes including digital, cinema, tv, outdoor & agencies


Other Pages of Interest