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State of the Media Profiles: Suzanne Magill - TMS



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.

Here we profile Suzanne Magill - from one of Australia's largest independent media agencies - TMS.

Your Name:  Suzanne Magill
Your Role: Head of Broadcast
Business Name: TMS

Please outline your view of our media industry – what state is it in? 

A state of rapid change.  In some ways I think it’s playing catch-up to consumer State of the Media Profile - Suzanne Magill - TMSbehaviour.  For example, some TV networks are only now starting to fast-track programs from the US to try and minimise audience loss to downloads. 

Consumers, particularly younger consumers, are voracious multi-taskers and are not going to sit through a TV ad break without using another device so we have to be smart about how we get through to them.

What are the day to day challenges you deal with?

The same as everyone else in media agencies no doubt – time pressures; juggling priorities; finding staff and then finding time to train them; coming up with the most effective ways to reach the most suitable audience when they’re most likely to be receptive to the particular message. This varies for every client and product so requires a lot of analysis, e.g. who is the most suitable audience, not just demographically but in terms of purchase conversion potential, what media are they consuming, when, how; are they really paying attention or is it just in the background and so on. 

Finding TV buyers seems almost impossible these days.  There seems to be a perception of TV as a bit of a dinosaur in this digital age but that’s very short sighted – the TV networks will adapt and HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV) will blur the lines even further between TV & digital.  Rather than TVC’s, BVC’s (broadcast video content) will be placed across all relevant screens, not just TV.  And according to Roy Morgan Single Source, P25-54 are still spending more time each week watching TV than using the internet anywhere.  TV’s not dead … it’s evolving. 

Another challenge with TV these days is the lack of firm program schedules.  Currently we’re buying for September/October but although we know about new programs coming up, the networks won’t confirm which days or timeslots they’ll be in.  In some cases, they’re waiting for US scheduling to determine when to fast-track them to.  Even when timeslots are set, programs seem to move more than ever before.  I totally understand it’s in reaction to audience and competitive behaviour but it definitely makes buying TV more difficult and causes a far bigger workload. 

It’s particularly challenging because we optimise effective audience reach for every TV buy and the combination of programs is fundamental.  So program changes require a lot of rework.   I know the increased workload has caused a lot of agencies to brief out the buys and get the networks to put spot schedules together and I can understand why.  But doing that doesn’t optimise reach across all networks so we try to avoid that. People who don’t buy TV seem to think we just press a few buttons and that’s it!  They’ve no idea how much time is absorbed by finding suitable replacements for NAs (non-available spots) on an R&F basis; checking holdings/confirmations; dealing with daily program moves and changes; tracking schedule performance and adjusting for any audience declines prior air date; moving bookings due last minute creative issues; post analysing; organising and tracking makegoods and so on. 

What bigger picture challenges do you see for our industry? 

Keeping up with audience behaviour and continuing to find ways to cut-through despite ad-skipping capabilities and increased multi-tasking.  Obviously engaging content is crucial but it needs to reach the right people too. 

Another big challenge is retaining good people.  Gen Y in particular aren’t going to sit at a computer crunching numbers or moving TV spots around day after day because they want, make that need, continual variety and stimulation or they move on.

From your perspective within a media agency what's it like dealing with media owners and media sales people? 

Great - most of the time.  There are some very smart people on the media owner side who really get what media agencies and their clients need these days and are proactive with opportunities and suggestions.  However there are still a few stuck in the dark ages who seem to think bookings will just come their way without any effort and completely ignore requests for additional opportunities.  I also get the impression most TV Sales people don’t fully understand audience Reach.   They know it’s a figure that spits out of a system once you’ve put spots in but they don’t all understand the concept of maximising reach.  Obviously that’s our job but when spots are moved from one program to another (because of sponsorship limitations etc) they don’t seem to understand there’s an impact on the whole schedule, not just that spot.  For example, they’ll suggest putting a second spot in a program we already have because the TARPs are OK and not consider how it will increase frequency and lower the original reach figure.

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

Cross-industry training – currently our staff undertake MFA; nGen and particularly in-house training where senior people pass on the knowledge they’ve gained over the years.  

The IAB provides great courses for digital so more training opportunities for other channels would be terrific.  Key point – at low to no cost. Otherwise many staff will miss out.  Media planning and buying training on the Sales side could be mutually beneficial. 

Also streamlining or automating processes for the laborious, number crunching parts of the business.  We have a lot of tools and systems but there’s still considerable room for consolidation and improvement.   

What good things do you see happening in our industry? 

Top of mind is the ETH (electronic trading hub) project.  It has the potential to streamline the TV buying process considerably.  It’s great that so many agencies are working together on the project as it’s in all our interests.

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

I think by necessity, all the laborious tasks will be more automated and competitive point of difference will focus even more on strategic direction, targeting and innovative ideas to reach consumers.  There will have been major shifts in the roles media and creative agencies play.  We can already see this starting to happen with media agencies producing content and creative agencies expanding their offerings. 

I think everyone sees the increased need for collaboration throughout the advertising process so sometimes it feels like the industry’s going ‘back to the future’ to full service – but in a new world way.

 

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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