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What’s in store for 2023? Our columnists predict

What’s in store for 2023? Our columnists predict
Opinion

Columnists for The Media Leader share their predictions for the upcoming year, from surprise collaborations to the “black swans” on the horizon.


Phil Rowley, head of futures at Omnicom Media Group UK

“If a downturn is indeed on its way, I hope brands remember that innovation is not only affordable in times of financial difficulties, but also an absolute necessity.

“I predict brands who misunderstand innovation and take it to mean anything ‘disruptive’, and thus expensive, will deem bold executions too risky in 2023. Consequently, we’ll see exciting territories previously lauded in marketing, like the metaverse, considered unaffordable. But this is the wrong view.

“There are plenty of examples of innovation giving rise to ingenious alternatives that bring costs down, or reduce friction for consumers. Brands like LIDL, Dacia and Easyjet are built on the very idea that innovations can optimise and economise, yet deliver with little compromise. In media, we must not forget that every innovation territory, no matter how complex, has an affordable entry point and it is innovation that can help us access those exciting ideas for less.”

Anna Sampson, founder of Anna Sampson Consulting

“Agencies are increasingly winning business on the basis of their data capabilities. With the combination of heightened levels of uncertainty and a cost of living crisis, it’s more important than ever that advertising budgets work hard. I predict measurement will loom large in 2023.

“The shift is already palpable, and the significance is that it’s symptomatic of an old world meeting a new one. Netflix joining BARB this year, and a number of agencies groups buying data businesses over the last couple of years suggest that measurement is in ascendancy.

“I was really interested to see start-ups abandoning attribution in favour of econometrics in their IPA Effectiveness Award entries. Measurement, often an added value inclusion to a pitch, is becoming fundamental to strategy. And advertisers are starting to realise you get what you pay for. Savvy advertisers will invest in data and measurement in 2023 to unlock commercially impactful strategies.”

Nick Manning, co-founder of Manning Gottlieb OMD

“A cold wind will blow through the economy next year and the media industry will not be insulated.

“Ad-funded media will be exposed to a downturn in advertising spend as brand-owners feel the pinch. Those media who are funded or part-funded by subscriptions will lose customers as people reduce their outgoings (eg. TV subs).

“Those businesses who have made unrealistic profits from the digital Gold Rush while adding little value will find 2023 a struggle.

“Advertisers will continue to review their online advertising and social media activities and demand better performance, cutting out low value parts of the transaction process. Some ad tech businesses won’t last the year in their current form.

“There will be greater focus on effectiveness, with attention continuing to help inform the measurement of advertising performance. Those companies who provide strong value with robust recurring revenues and a healthy balance-sheet will continue to thrive, even with an uphill gradient.

“Such businesses will also reward their people during tough times by sacrificing margin for better pay, knowing that this will pay off once conditions stabilise.

“While next year will be an uncomfortable one for our industry, many businesses will emerge stronger and fitter as conditions improve towards the end of the year.”

Laurence Green, co-founder of Fallon London and 101

“As the old saying goes: it’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future. Sure, there’s some stuff we can predict with confidence: a residential property price correction; the ongoing media monetisation of the Sussexes; Elon Musk’s stewardship of Twitter hitting the buffers.

“But it’s the black swans that we really need to worry about: those unpredictable events with extreme consequences.

“2022, after all, was meant to see the ‘return to normal’ after COVID. If this year has taught us anything, it is surely this: predict away, but hedge also. Above all, perhaps, remain alert to “Events, dear boy, events.”

Sabrina Clarke, managing partner, Build Global

“The media industry will be forced to stand up on sustainability. Marketing campaigns aren’t going to cut it, and pressure will increase to demonstrate how the industry is contributing to one of the most vital issues of our time.

“Given rising costs and inflation, appointment TV will be back, leaving an opening for targeted engagement in an era of measured consumerism.

“The industry will consolidate, hitting independent media outlets the hardest. Due to the limited spending allocated to independent media, trusted niche outlets will either be acquired or, more likely, have to close down.”

Raymond Snoddy, media consultant and former presenter of NewsWatch on BBC News.

“One safe prediction for 2023 is that the privatisation of Channel 4 will be quietly ditched. Boris Johnson’s motive was always revenge and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has a hundred more pressing issues to deal with.

“Overall this will be a year of consolidation in the media. The irrepressible David Montgomery will advance on Reach and get his hands on the Daily Mirror one more time.

“The biggest consolidation of all will come across the board as the radical departures in radio, TV News and the streaming services of recent years settle down – in some cases below the waterline.

“In difficult economic times a new equilibrium will begin to emerge between old and new, with reality increasingly edging out fantasy.”

Nina Franck, independent comms and media planner

“With AVOD on the rise through Netflix and Disney+, as well as more digital OOH and audio offerings, there will be ever more merging of the offline world with the digital world. Planners have to adapt to these changes and learn from each other. Specialty disciplines will need to work closer together and embrace the value of offline media in a digitalised world.

“Attention measurement and consideration in planning feels like it is getting on its feet next year and will – at least from a planning and contextual perspective – find its way into media strategies and media plans.”

Stephen Arnell, writer/producer

Arnell previously shared his 2023 predictions for UK television, expecting occurrences such as BBC News recruiting former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre to run the division, resulting in “a mass exodus of journalistic talent” and Channel 4 being saved from privatisation, but chief content officer Ian Katz resigning after “the public outcry” following his commissioning no less than four new shows in the My Massive Cock franchise — Balls, Knockers, Arsehole and Cootch.

A bonus prediction: “In a shock move, Jeremy Clarkson and Piers Morgan join forces to launch their own “unfiltered’ social media app, wittily entitled TalkingBollox. Within weeks the pair fall out and the service is shuttered. Both accuse the other of being ‘too woke’.”

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