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State of the Media Profiles - Paddy Douneen



As a follow on to the State of the Media industry survey undertaken by MediaScope and TrinityP3, this new profile series asks marketers, media agencies & media sales specialists to comment on the media trading process and our general industry.

Here we profile Paddy Douneen - a well known industry professional who has worked with both agency and publisher.

Your Name: Paddy Douneen
Your Role: Client Leader / Group Business Director

Please outline your view of our media industry – what state is it in?MediaScope - State of the Media Profiles Paddy Douneen

Overall the industry is in very positive state. We are still experiencing growth albeit perhaps not to the level of past years, and there’s always something new happening. The business challenges faced by our clients, our commercial partners, and own businesses are stimulating to solve in an always rapidly changing landscape.

There probably isn’t a single enterprise within our industry that doesn’t face fundamental business model challenge; be it human resource management, revenue generation, cost control, distribution, product innovation, customer service expectations, etc. However, it remains one of the most fascinating, creative and exciting industries in which to work, full of talented and interesting people and opportunities. After 27 years I still love it!

What are the day to day challenges you deal with?

On a fundamentals level they are pretty much the  same as they were when I first started – staying informed; embracing the pace of change; the good intention of starting each day with a clearly defined and prioritised task list, knowing that it will probably change as the day wears on; helping to inspire people I work with to deliver their very best work whilst maintaining a sense of perspective and balance, even when the going gets tough (as it often does in this game).  

What bigger picture challenges do you see for our industry?

  • The ongoing challenge of delivering profitability in the face of decreasing margins and increased costs balanced against clients expecting more for less.
  • The challenge of achieving true collaboration between multiple agencies working for the same client, even those sitting within the same holding groups.
  • A continuing battle to recruit, train and retain talented people who will see media as a long-term career. 

From your current perspective within a media agency what's it like dealing with media owners and media sales people – and what can they do better?

I’ve always enjoyed the interaction with media owners and media sales people. I’m fortunate in that I’ve done a couple of stints on the sales side, so have a little bit of insight into the pressures that they’re under, and the challenges they face in securing time with people on the agency, and even client side. Just as there are good and bad operators on the agency side it’s the same on the sales side, but on the whole the people that I deal with are knowledgeable about their products, passionate (sometimes to the point of  being effusive) and understand the importance of superior customer service.

However, if I was to offer just three pieces of (perhaps pedantic) advice they would be these:

  • 1) always spell and grammar check your proposals
  • 2) always make sure that you put the correct client’s name in the proposal (hint: not just the title page)
  • 3) don’t make mistakes with the numbers. 

What do you think the industry can do right now to address the challenges you raise?

I’m not convinced that the industry per se can do anything dramatically different to address these issues – they are a fact of life in our business. On profitability – that’s fundamentally an individual company / holding group issue. We exist in a highly competitive market and it will continue to be so. Similarly, the collaboration issue is a tricky one – ultimately that will come down to clients driving that agenda or perhaps individuals responsible for managing teams on a particular piece of business, although it was interesting to read David Morgan’s comments at the ADMA conference last Friday about how marketers are already spending too much of their time managing agency “partners”.

On the talent issue, I think that industry bodies such as the MFA and The Communications Council have made great strides in providing better education, and many holding companies invest millions of dollars on in-house training courses, which is great, but in my humble opinion I think the turnover issue is more due to a generational trend than anything else – young people simply have more opportunity, choice and flexibility when it comes to deciding what they want to do with their lives, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

What good things do you see happening in our industry?

There is still an enormous amount of passion, energy and inventiveness in most areas. I love the fact that we are near the sharp end of understanding the impact of new technology of consumers’ lives. There are still talented and interesting people to work and interact with.

How do you think our industry will evolve in 5 years’ time?

It’s become increasingly difficult to predict or forecast evolution in this business with any great degree of accuracy – Google, Facebook, twitter, iPhones iPads, – who knew? What’s next….?

However, I think a couple of emerging patterns might solidify within this timeframe:

  • 1) Global media brands will do bigger deals with global media buying groups and suck revenue out of local media outlets. This in turn will accelerate the demise of local traditional media already under threat e.g. Fairfax newspapers and locally produced quality primetime TV content
  • 2) Older age groups will become increasingly technology savvy, and more readily choose to  access global media brands for their news, information, and entertainment with same outcome as above.

 

If you you'd like to share your views through these State of the Media profiles (either anonymously or named) - please get in touch

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Further Resources

  • State of the Media - follow on from The State of the Media research (co-produced by TrinityP3 & MediaScope & presented at Mumbrella360 in June) this new series aims to continue to raise awareness of the challenges facing the media industry...
  • MarketPlace - a growing range of selected products & services to help streamline & improve all aspects of the media trading process.
  • Women in Media Profiles - the most senior and experienced women in the media, marketing, publishing and advertising industry highlight their careers and what our industry can do better to support women and families.
  • Media Owner Profiles - we ask some of Australia's most successful media owners about running their business and ask them to offer advice to other media owners

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