Trial by Platforms: The Pressure on Media and Advertising to Evolve with Digital



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As mentioned by Jonah Ray from the show “Hidden American with Jonah Ray,” we see the challenge for advertisers to express brands in shows, especially as brand exposure is often not aligned with humor. As Jonah discussed, brands bring a filter to content, and limit the association of the media with only positive ideas about the brand.

The problem is that content creation on mobile and for mobile is intentionally and inherently unshackled by traditional advertising and media culture-it’s the realness of content creators and social media celebrities that grows viewership towards the holy grail of virality. Ian Schafer, founder and CEO of Deep Focus, brought this to light along with his two honored guests: Ricky van Veen, founder of CollegeHumor; and Lisa Weinstein, CEO of Engine Media Group.

The driving force behind this growing concern is that 51% of digital device time is spent on mobile devices, and yet content creation for the vertical screen is only at 29% of all creation efforts. The gap will naturally close, and the catalyst is social media-media that is viewed primarily over mobile.

So what happens to ad agencies? The company that knows the brand best is the creative/production agency, and the recognized detriment of distance between ad agencies and the actual point of content creation is growing as the environment for media distribution rapidly evolves.

As Ricky noted, frontline publishers need to become partially ad agencies-or ad agencies need to connect more closely with multiple publishers. As demand for content changes, so do the metrics-ComScore and NPS matters much more, and traffic is being viewed under a different lens compared to the actual content being produced. From an economic standpoint, the changes in demand for new digital content and channels is compelling adjustments in the supply space to better serve those channels with branded content.

The primary question that media and advertising companies are now forced to uncomfortably ask themselves due to the rise in platformification is: are we a media company, or are we a data company? More specifically, the pivotal choice is whether to focus more on channel or content. Choosing a side means digging into the difficulties of effectively accommodating the new methods of producing and delivering content.

Neither hole is attractive or well charted, which has made discussion in the industry to date fairly taboo. As the platform influences market pressures to hype up the classic game of pulling or riding the bandwagon of change, we will see this decision hugely impact media and advertising.

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