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MediaScope's 2016 Predictions...

This now ongoing industry series asks senior people from a selected range of media sectors to share their forecasts and reviews for the year ahead.

Thank you to everyone for their continued involvement in this comprehensive advertising
and media industry resource - created specifically for the Australian market.

Click on the names below to go to their 2016 predictions or scroll down the page...


Lee Tonitto: CEO of Australian Marketing Institute (AMI)MediaScope's 2016 Predictions - Lee Tonitto

I see five themes shaping 2016

1. Customer Experience in Razor Focus

  • In 2016 customer experience will garner the highest level of marketing investment; and bleeding-edge technologies to improve it will be the top innovation project marketers undertake.

2.  How Marketers Use Customer Data Will Determine their Level of Success in Customer Experience

  • Managing, collecting and making use of data. Marketers will analyze data less and synthesize it more, leading to better and more actionable conclusions. Distribution of the data to decentralized groups such as brands or business units will occur to allow for informed recommendations/decisions about what action to take.

3. Digital Commerce Will be Inextricably Linked with Marketing

  • Recent studies found that in 25% of organizations, marketing has total responsibility for digital commerce, and in 46% of companies, marketing owns a digital commerce P&L .  Whether you lead or support your company’s digital commerce efforts, plan for higher investment and a greater role in crafting compelling commerce experiences. 

4. Marketing Will Set the Strategy for Not Just Marketing Technology, But for All Customer-facing Technology

  • Marketing will be intensely involved in all technology that touches the customer as it works on improving the customer experience with customer service, sales and operations. Marketing  sets the strategy and develops the roadmap for marketing technology in a majority of companies. By the end of 2016, customer-facing technology strategy and roadmaps will be led by Marketing. I predict an increasing number of marketers will have a seat at the Board table by Dec 2016

5.  Marketing Innovation Will Come of Age in Australia

  • Studies show Marketers are setting aside more than 9% of their budget for innovation. Leading a culture of change and company-wide innovation is a highly ranked CEO expectation of CMOs. More and more marketing executives have innovation in their title.  An increasing number of CMOs manage product and service development as well as product management. Digital business transformation is causing many industries to shift their business model and offerings to digital vs. physical; putting marketing squarely in the middle of such innovation. 

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Jane Huxley: ANZ Managing Director of Pandora Internet RadioMediaScope's 2016 Predictions - Jane Huxley

The F Word. 

I know that a lot of my colleagues will focus on the upcoming trends in disruption, technology, buying and channels so I thought I would turn my thoughts this year to the “layer” that gets it all to work…. Our people.

I was fortunate recently to judge “Agency Employer of the Year” for one of our esteemed trade publications, and was absolutely delighted at many of the programs and offerings that agencies and publishers are introducing to empower and engage their employees. Many of them are fantastic but are ultimately aimed at keeping folks tethered in what is frankly, still a very competitive talent market. 

But more can be done. There are two trends here that I think are worth watching, and I believe that solving some of these challenges will provide a competitive edge. 

Many Millennial employee studies are showing that the notion of creating societal change and participating for the “greater good” is a driving force in staying engaged with their employer. I am not talking about the odd pro bono campaign here (still not to be sneezed at) but in supporting and rewarding employees for taking a view beyond their own company/borders. VTO or volunteer time off (alongside of PTO personal time off) is rising in popularity, and is personalised to the interests and passions of the individual. Gone are the days where we all “go to paint a house” and tick the box. How are you thinking about engagement through VTO? How are you connecting this to passion points? Worth a conversation?

I had the opportunity to discuss (actually it was more of a rant ) this second topic recently on MediaScope live blog series, which is basically related to extended periods of time off work – aka The Sabbatical.  There are many reasons why people need to take extended time out of the office – studying, PARENTING A BABY, pursuing a sport or passion, and increasingly carers leave. Again the evidence will suggest that in this ageing population, many of us have parents who will live longer than ever before and will at some stage, require different levels of care, from those of us who are participating in the work force today. However balancing all of these needs from a commercial perspective is a challenge indeed. Balancing the needs of the P+L and the shifting needs of a more transient workforce will prove one of the biggest challenges we face, particularly in environments where margins can be seasonal. I think that part of the answer may lie in the rise of the contract workforce. For a long time, we have been wedded to this idea of the “FTE” – the full time employee who works for a fixed/known variable rate plus benefits. However we are now seeing the rise of a new type of employee on an hourly rate, fully embracing the notion of flexible working alongside of other life pursuits. How can we get this to scale. How do we overcome training and relationship issues? There are just as many unanswered questions as ideas here, but I believe that this will be how we construct the packages of the future. 

Ultimately the F-Word will be FLEXIBILITY.

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IMD Group

Group IMD - Using technology to connect stakeholders and reduce client costs dramatically, IMD is transforming the media distribution industry.  

Find out more here


Chris Walton: Sydney Managing Director of Nunn MediaMediaScope's 2016 Predictions - Chris Walton

I feel more positive about 2016 than I have done for a few years and there are several reasons for this.  Starting with the big picture, I think Australia now has a leader that more people buy into than we have had for a while and who seems to understand the importance of a vision and a positive disposition – you can’t underestimate the importance of strong leadership and confidence.

Closer to home I think the topic of transparency is now very much out in the open and so in 2016 people will be working out what to do about it rather than denying the problem even exists.  This is a good thing.  Similarly with data, I think in 2016 there will be much less hot air spoken and hyperbole spread about this topic as we will actually be doing stuff.  We will start to see the fruits of the practical application of data-led insights being fed into both creative development and media on a much larger scale.  Indeed, we are seeing interesting developments from media owners in this area on an almost weekly basis.  This is all very exciting.

On the demand side, we will see some of the biggest marketing demand generating events (ie the Olympics, Paralympics and Federal Election) happen within the same year for the first time in over a decade.  And whilst the US Election and Euro 16 soccer may have less of a direct impact on us here. I don’t think they will dampen demand either.

There will be bumps in the road, namely the structural change in media investment will continue apace, the ‘right’ approach to native advertising will continue to be wrestled with, and agency staff churn and client dissatisfaction will remain a big issue for the industry as a whole.  However, all in all I am excited about what next year will bring.

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Darren Woolley: CEO TrinityP3

The year of the customer centric customisation and personalisationMediaScope's 2016 Predictions - Darren Woolley

This year saw the rise of the Chief Customer Officer in services-based organisations such as Financial Services, Telcos and the like. I predict this trend will continue and next year will be the Year of the Customer. And while this sounds intuitive and that the customer is the foundation of business success, it is that fact that the data and the technology required to analyse and respond to create a customised and personalised customer brand experience is now readily available.

Even for Consumer Good organisations and other product marketers, who do not own their retail channel, the focus will move to customer and consumer and using data and technology to create increased brand engagement.

But this transformation requires a rethink of the marketing structure and function within the organisation. The brand becomes the foundation of the customer strategy to engage by creating a branded, aligned customer experience. This means structurally the role of marketing move to lead and manage the customer interface rather than being positioned as a support to the business. In silo organisations, this is the opportunity to created a customer centric experience and while not achieve a “single view of their customers”, it allows then to operate in a greater customer centric manner.

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Jodie Sangster, CEO ADMA

2016 is shaping up to be the Year of Partnerships, where I expect to see anMediaScope's 2016 Predictions - Jodie Sangster acceleration in connectivity and alliances across the media, marketing and advertising landscape as brands need to work harder in order to engage with consumers in an increasingly fragmented ecosystem.

ADMA’s activities are built around five key pillars: data; creativity; content; technology; and customer and this is where we believe the focus will lie in the year ahead for each of these:

  • Data: Everyone has more of it but in order to get the scale required to accurately target the consumer on their increasingly complex and multi-platform path to purchase, brands and publishers are going to have to share it (compliantly). Alliances like Pangea in the UK are pioneering this concept. In addition, marketers and data analysts will have to find new and more effective ways to work together to ensure actionable insights shape whole of business strategy. 
  • Creativity: Whilst it will certainly be nascent, Virtual Reality (VR) will offer marketers the partnership of emotion and fact that promises to reshape marketing creativity. The release of Oculus Rift in 2016 will act as a testing ground for new forms of marketing and creative expression and may ultimately create more content brands using VR. In a wider sense, we will also see more and more experimentation in 2016. In an always-on world and with rapid technological advances it is no longer prudent to sit back, watch and wait. Instead brands will test, trial and tweak executions in real time and move on quickly from any mistakes.
  • Content: Less will be more. As more brands (including our own) move to a content-driven marketing approach it will be important to focus on quality vs. quantity to gain traction. We are also likely to see more content brands like GoPro and RedBull on the scene. Content will also have to move where the distribution is so we expect to see more partnerships with the publishing giants. And of course Adblocking has the potential to be a game-changer for both the creation and distribution of content across the globe (see below).
  • Technology:  The rush to digital transformation has left many organisations with a wealth of technology but a dearth of people that can use it effectively to deliver its promise. We have heard this from our members countless times during 2015 and it has been a key driver in ADMA’s overhaul of our education offer. 2016 is going to be less about the technology itself and more about the rise of consulting technologists who will work in partnership with companies to help them leverage the technology they already have.
  • Customer: It goes without saying in our consumer-centric world that the customer is king, but this year the customer will also be judge and jury and legislator. The spectre of Adblocking looms large over 2016 but it will ultimately be the customer who will determine how it will play out.  Our industry should and will raise its game on ad creativity, user experience and relevance but it remains to be seen if customer choice will rewrite the next chapter of our digital world.
  • See Jodie's Predictions from 2015

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IMD Group

Group IMD - Using technology to connect stakeholders and reduce client costs dramatically, IMD is transforming the media distribution industry.  

Find out more here


Nicole Sheffield: CEO of NewsLifeMediaMediaScope's 2016 Predictions - Nicole Sheffield



Linking creative with the rigour of analytics and the art of storytelling is our future.

Today we are content creators in a market where the delivery of content has no boundaries. Yes that is challenging however it is also incredibly exciting.  

There is no doubt disruption is speeding up and as publishing businesses we must be more agile than ever before to move with market demands. We also need to be obsessed with understanding consumer behaviour to meet the needs of our connected customers.

Everything but the fundamentals in media are changing and I believe we now need to move beyond the product to develop total experiences. Real world experiences will continue to rise allowing us to grow our brands into something new and create deeper connections with our audience.

We are seeing that food is driving so many of the decisions and choices that we make today. This trend has been emerging for a few years, but serves as a good reminder on the extent to which food now impacts our lifestyle – from our health to our finances and even our travel decisions.

With millennials consumed by media and their mobile phones never being far away, understanding the connections and behaviours of this major consumer group of the future will be increasingly important.

We’ve hit the age of ‘infobesity’, with so much information and data at our finger tips. How we unlock it to create personalised campaigns will be key to success in 2016. 

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Annick Perrin:  Head of Agency Sales, Macquarie MediaMediaScope's 2016 Predictions - Annick Perrin

Radio is in a great position moving into 2016.  With strong talent, localised and relevant content along with deeper engagement through digital, content and mobile.  As screens continue to fragment it is becoming extremely difficult to reach mass consumers quickly through screens, achieving high weekly reach is no longer the norm, however a strong radio schedule will reach similar numbers to a screen schedule.

Creative radio solutions are present now and can live across mulitiple platforms, on air, digital, social and events that can deliver on clients specific objectives.  This combination plus the reach is extremely powerful and matches the power TV has held for years.

Based on the past 2 years growth reviewing SMI data, an estimated 5% growth for 2016 is a healthy and conservative growth target.

Radio is in a strong position to reach a consistent and regular audience extremely effectively for both brand awareness and asking consumers to take action along with fuelling social conversations both localised and national around topical and relevant content.

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Dominic Pearman: Managing Director, Pearman MediaMediaScope's 2016 Predictions - Dominic Pearman



2016 is going to continue to be an exciting time in media.  I expect to see changes in media ownership as the Government dismantles archaic media ownership laws as well as seeing the more “traditional” media further embrace their Digital platforms.  

The TV upfronts  indicate that Television has stepped up to the ‘digital fight’ and although the Network share prices look anaemic I’m confident things will improve for them as they embrace their digital future.  It’s debatable as to how far off a critical mass of ‘TV digital viewers’ is however once that does happen the Networks are in a prime position to capitalise.

In terms of ad revenue, Outdoor, Radio and Cinema are all doing well in 2015 and that should continue into 2016. The news isn’t all bad for Newspapers as they seem to be making twice as much in digital ad dollars as they are losing in print. 

2016 could be interesting for Digital with Google no longer dealing with external exchanges for YouTube from January.  If that goes well, perhaps Facebook or content sites could follow suit possibly reducing the number of resellers in the market.  

Considering the last 3 years of Ad spend has been negative or negligible growth, 2015 has been a good year and looks like it will be up 4-5% compared to 2014. Every month in 2015 has seen an increase from the previous year.  For 2016 I’ll go out on a limb and predict Ad spend will be up around 5-7% especially as we have an Olympics and a Federal election next year.

The age old attribution question will still be front of centre for clients particularly given the continued fragmentation of media audiences. Overall, I’m looking forward to 2016 and believe it will be a good year.

See Dominic's Predictions for 2014 & 2015

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Dan Hill: Managing Director of Val MorganMediaScope's 2016 Predictions - Dan Hill


We are looking forward to 2016 with optimism and confidence as cinema will continue to deliver a growing audience across key demographics within the environment of the best content.

Last year we signalled the dawn of a new era for cinema and 2015 got us off to the perfect start. On the back of a record year in both box office and advertising revenues we have long range visibility on an incredible release schedule providing long term surety for clients investing a/v budgets in cinema.

Three factors will continue to drive the resurgence of cinema as an advertising medium: 

  1. Investment in content as a result of global audience growth
  2. Investment in cinema infrastructure, with cinema exhibition companies investing heavily to deliver the best possible entertainment experiences.
  3. The ability for clients to plan and buy cinema alongside TV and online video

With a/v fragmentation and ad avoidance accelerating, achieving cut through with impact and engagement will continue to be a priority for brands. With rapidly changing TV and online audience behaviour cinema remains the last place that consumers actually watch and enjoy seeing advertising. We are seeing cinema become a first choice medium for advertising effectiveness. It provides a highly powerful complement to other media but is also now being considered as a lead medium in its own right, being used to deliver reach and scale.

See Dan's Predictions from 2014 & 2015

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Alice Manners: CEO of IAB Australia (Interactive Advertising Bureau)MediaScope's 2016 Predictions - Alice Manners

These are captivating times for the interactive industry. Online ad revenues reached a landmark $5.3 billion in the last financial year while maintaining its dominant position as the largest advertising revenue segment in Australia.

The online sector has experienced year on year double digit ad revenue growth for the past decade and we expect this to continue into 2016.  Mobile and Video advertising will hold their position as the two rising stars, driven by always on – and very fast moving - consumer behaviour.

Programmatic buying will cement its role in the future of digital advertising thanks to its ability to deliver efficient and effective advertising campaigns.  Its evolution beyond desktop into mobile, video, outdoor and television will continue thanks to the opportunity it offers to deliver on much of digital marketing’s promise – enabling speed to be combined with smart, true data integration and creative flexibility.  Key to Programmatic’s rise will be greater education, understanding and transparency across our ecosystem.

At the same time, Native Advertising will move from being a fad to a fixture.  True Native should be rare, premium, and consultative. Its strength for marketers lies in its story-telling format and its potential will come from mobile.  Its ability to provide a seamless consumer experience is exceptional, but its success will ultimately be defined by ensuring the advertisements are clearly delineated and defined for consumers.

The journey to viewable ad impression as the backbone of a new era of digital will progress as we strive to develop a marketplace structured around cross-platform media measurement and viewability.  2016 will be the year we assess and learn. 

IAB will continue to lead the conversation on Ad Blocking.  We will focus on improving the user experience with the roll out of the L.E.A.N. Ads Program.  Supported by IABs around the world, L.E.A.N. stands for Light, Encrypted, Ad choice supported, Non-invasive ads. These are the principles that will help guide the next phases of advertising technical standards for the global digital advertising supply chain.  At the same time we expect that as more Australians understand that online content is free because of the ads then perhaps they may not choose to block ads.

We will press on with advances in technical standards to combat fraud and piracy, deliver education to ensure a healthy talent pipeline for our industry and provide support through innovation in the ad product portfolio to keep pace with consumers’ expectations.

The heart of 2016 though will be maintaining an ad-funded internet 2016, which will demand we all place a greater focus on the user experience.  This means all involved in our industry should be thinking about the message, the content that is created; and the nature of a user's interaction with the advertising and medium.  The opportunities are vast.

  • See Alice's Predictions from 2014 & 2015

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Group IMDGroup IMD - Using technology to connect stakeholders and reduce client costs dramatically, IMD is transforming the media distribution industry.

Find out more here.


Rob Atkinson:  CEO of AdshelMediaScope's 2016 Predictions - Rob Atkinson


We’re set for another fascinating year in 2016.  The speed for change is rapidly accelerating and it won’t be long before automation / programmatic, like digital become words that are common practice in our industry.

Smart data, convergence and automation are still going to be front and centre for many in our industry next year.  But other challenges and opportunities will get airtime too.  The thorny issues for ad-blocking, click through rates and media fragmentation will keep many media owners awake at night - except for those in the OOH Sector.  These issues don’t really apply to us in outdoor, given you can’t ad-block a bus shelter, and the fact we’re the ultimate broadcast medium, so fragmentation isn’t a concern.

Although most analysts point towards a solid economic platform in 2016, two headline events may leave us with some uncertainty, the Federal Election and the Rio Olympics.  Saying that, the result of the election looks fairly predictable given current popularity ratings and a major sporting event is generally positive for the economy even when it’s 13,500km away in South America.  We might even see the Aussies winning more gold’s than Yorkshire this time around! 

The key trends that lend themselves favorably towards OOH next year include the continued investment in public infrastructure across the country, the migration of people to urban centre’s away from rural settings, the opportunities that digital technology affords, the untapped potential of big data to inform precision targeting, and the technical opportunities to make OOH an activation medium to get cut-through.

A wider view of the industry would suggest some important trends, such as the rise and rise of mobile, a concerted move to more screen based strategies, more media owner consolidation and strategic alliances across the board. Changing agency models where the lines are getting more and more blurred, and a client approach that is led by an “Always On” philosophy towards the consumer will also have an effect.

All in all…. another roller coaster of a year… so buckle up and get ready for the ride!

See Rob's Predictions from 2014 & 2015

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Louise Barrett: Executive General Manager (Sydney) of Network TenMediaScope's 2016 Predictions - Louise Barrett

Quality content is and will remain the biggest driver of television. Delivering that content anywhere, anytime and on any device is absolutely paramount. Streaming content makes sense for live sport and programs that are on air during peak commuter times; that is why we stream TEN Eyewitness News First At Five, The Project and Studio 10 and we stream Formula One and MotoGP. But the number of streams, for any television network, remains relatively small and that will continue to be the case until the bandwidth to deliver these streams is enhanced.

Clients are re-evaluating the amount of money they invest into digital, as they are not getting the results from placing more advertising online. Many are moving back to television as they can bank on getting results.

The television landscape will change in 2016 as the government changes the media ownership and control rules: inevitably the result will be fewer, larger media groups. 

Programmatic buying or optimised/automated buying for television will gather momentum, however, premium content will be exempt from the programmatic space as clients look to leverage unique bespoke integration opportunities.

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Toby Hack: Managing Director of PHD Media

MediaScope's 2016 Predictions - Toby Hack

Personally I find it incredibly exciting that we live in uncertain times. But it does make the task of making predictions somewhat treacherous. My first prediction is that 2016 will be the most unpredictable year we have ever seen. So that’s my get out clause sorted.    

In terms of the media investment we can expect small growth across the board, but we can also expect recent investment trends to continue. These changes are structural and permanent.   

In 2016 Agencies can expect to work harder to win new business and to fight harder to retain business. We can also expect more big pitches in 2016. No surprises here, downward pressure on pricing will continue. But I am hopeful that 2016 will be the year that a great idea is more highly valued than an increase in discount. Ideas are certainly more valuable and that’s true in any year.   

Media owners can expect rampant consolidation and a resulting short term bump in fortunes, for some. 

For clients the last couple of years has seen a rapid shift away from local marketing structures towards increasingly global ones. Expect to see even more of this in 2016 and even more consolidation of global business as the world continues to shrink. 

For consumers technology and connectivity will of course continue to change our lives and 2016 will see a range of new ways that technology can connect consumers to brands even more effectively and strongly. That’s really exciting and that’s where the opportunity for really great ideas lies.  

Consumer confidence will also continue to strengthen as a renewed sense of political stability will result from a probable 2016 election. 

So whilst 2016 will be uncertain, and these predictions speak to more of the same, there is one thing that is truly certain in 2016. The super El Nino will make the weather more unpredictable that we have ever seen before. 

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More Predictions...

  • What Does 2016 Have in Store (Brand Republic) - Things are changing fast in the industry and show no sign of slowing down, forcing marketers to adapt to thrive. We asked 10 of the industry's brightest and best to share their resolutions and the challenges they face in the months ahead.
  • PwC's 14th Annual 2015 Entertainment & Media Outlook - Australian Chapter. The Outlook Report contains commentary, five year historical & forecast revenues for 11 key Media segments including television, internet, outdoor, radio, publishing & more. This year's edition throws a spotlight on "Innovation in Australia" & includes perspectives from industry leaders. The MediaScapes also appear in the Outlook Report as a complement to each Media segment.  See details & access the full 2015 Outlook Report


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