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Why Is Change So Difficult for The Media Industry?

November 19th, 2019   ||    by Alan Wolk

Last week I was at the Los Angeles Television and Internet Week conference, hosted by GABBCON. In addition to getting to see the inside of the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel for the first time, I was treated to a number of very interesting high level takes on what is going on in the TV and advertising industries, including a very aptly named panel called, “Why Is Change So Damn Difficult?” (Which may actually be the best panel name I’ve heard all year.)

MyersBizNet’s Jack Myers was joined by MasterCard’s Ben Jankowski and the 4A’s Louis Jones, industry vets who have, as the saying goes, seen it all.

That was key because their take was far more nuanced—a panel of younger executives could easily have turned into a gripe-fest about how “everyone is a dinosaur” and “they’re just living in the past!”

Instead, we got a more balanced take.

Myers, for instance, noted that while the industry needs to move away from silos, there were reasons silos were more productive in the past. The panelists also noted that the ascendancy of media in the agency world is a relatively new development—for years, media planners and buyers were second-class citizens, eclipsed by the creative team.

The biggest conundrum panelists agreed, was how to reconcile all the data that TV programmers and advertisers suddenly have available. The inability to find common standards and measures is a source of great frustration all around, since without any sort of standards, it’s difficult to take advantage of all that data.

But, as Jones noted during the panel, with so many stakeholders needing to be appeased, finding a standard that makes everyone happy is going to take some time and some serious negotiation.

Videa’s Change Management Study

The degree to which the industry is concerned with and excited about change is something that was covered in a study on change management conducted by Videa, the automated TV marketplace, earlier this year. That study found that more than 91 percent of respondents claimed to be personally enthusiastic when it came to trying new technology that is intended to create change in the TV advertising industry, while 84 percent reported that their organizations were enthusiastic as well.

That’s a good sign, because change is already happening and it’s good to see that the vast majority of the industry seems ready to embrace it.

The data is out there, and companies are using it to identify audiences, to automate ad buys and to better target their advertising via addressable TV campaigns.

This is bound to accelerate over the next few years too, as all of the new billion dollar streaming services launch (Disney+ and Apple launched this month, NBCU’s Peacock and Warner’s HBO Max are due to launch early next year.)

That, plus the introduction of the new NextGen TV for over the air broadcast will result in a massive shift, as more and more viewers watch TV that is delivered digitally, making it easy to further automate ad buys and to target specific audiences.

So, while change may be difficult, it’s also inevitable and the quicker the industry gets on board with it, the better.

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