2022: the year we scrap media silos once and for all

2022: the year we scrap media silos once and for all

Media Leaders

We need to trade in our preoccupation with platforms and adopt a content-led approach.

I was intrigued by the headline in a recent article in Mediatel News by The Trade Desk’s Dave Castell, which stated that “time spent disagreeing about measurement is time wasted”.

I concur that the latter is unhelpful, but I feel strongly that time spent exploring and navigating measurement issues is not wasted. And, in my view, we don’t do nearly enough exploring.

I’m obsessed by measurement – it is my job after all! I’m also well aware of the challenges we face in keeping up with consumer behaviour. But we need to address them.

Measurement of audience delivery is vital to advertiser success. After all, if people don’t see, hear, or otherwise come into contact with an ad, how can they possibly be expected to respond, let alone go on and buy the product.

This may seem a little too obvious, but advertisers don’t just invest money for the sake of it, they do so to deliver results.

With apologies to Jane Austen, this repurposing of the famous opening line from Pride and Prejudice says it perfectly: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a brand investing money in advertising must be in want of a return.”

Out-of-date media perceptions are misleading

Castell identifies a really important issue that poses significant challenges for the industry – that content is delivered and consumed across multiple platforms.

This is true not only of television, but of all media content. And it’s not just a measurement issue but also impacts terminology and communications.

Just as television is no longer consumed solely on a box in the living room, the same can be said of all media these days. Radio is no longer a wireless set in the kitchen, and newspapers and magazines are not just printed pages.

I could wax lyrical about this, but I defer to some words from Alan Rusbridger, as he stepped down as editor of The Guardian in 2015, which express it so eloquently:​

“We still tell stories in text and pictures, but the words are as likely to be in the form of live blogs as stories. We have learned to use moving pictures as well as stills. We work in audio, interactives, data, graphics and any combination of the above. ​We distribute our journalism across multiple channels, platforms and devices, including live discussion and debate.”

And, as consumption of all media grows, it gives advertisers many more opportunities to reach people around great content, wherever and however it is delivered.

Focusing on news for a moment, the latest readership figures from the industry currency PAMCo are published today. We know from the data that people access news content in a myriad of ways, with more than 24 million reading UK national news brands every day and up to 46 million a month.

Over 17 million people are accessing via online channels every day alone, rising to almost 40 million across a month, with routes in now ranging from Instagram to Snap to TikTok.

Given this evidence of a medium in rude heath audience-wise, it’s frustrating and frankly a little tedious when measurement and forecasts solely refer to newspapers in their print format – not to mention misleading.

How we think about media needs to change

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about the pitfalls of referring to digital as an amorphous mass, when in fact everything is digital now. Surely, it’s the content that should take centre stage, particularly in such a cluttered world where premium and trusted content deserves our attention (and our pounds, come to think of it!).

As an industry, what we need is a change of mind set. How we think and talk about media needs to catch up with consumption and fast.

We need to trade in our preoccupation with platforms and adopt a content-led approach.

At this time of year, there’s a lot of talk of trends, predictions and forecasts; I was tempted to do the same.

But, actually, I want to challenge the industry to make a resolution for 2022. Let’s start with changing the narrative, let’s stop talking about silos, let’s put content first, let’s stop using digital as a catch all term, when it’s just a means of delivering content.

Let this year be full of promise and change for the better.

Denise Turner is director of research and insight at Newsworks

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