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The good news on media consolidation

Posted 19 September 2014.

​by Scott Keddie

​One of the many real challenges brands face today is the ability to stand out in a cluttered media environment.

Brands that are active across multiple channels can no longer be everywhere and require focused investment. As the emphasis escalates to reach more eyeballs and create a seamless experience across offline, online and mobile, it is more important than ever for advertisers and agencies to better understand the consumer journey and ensure effective management of investment along the way.

With increasing pressure lumped on marketers from CFOs through to procurement, return on investment needs to be continually justified to ensure brands have the opportunity to innovate and invest to reach consumers. This is where the consolidation of media groups can come into its own and challenge the way in which advertisers engage with media suppliers and publishers.

The ability for agencies to identify media supplier partners and the role of each channel is important when considering a media group partnership or partnership between non-aligned media suppliers.

Understanding the benefits and key measurement of success of such partnerships is critical, be it investment leverage, reaching more consumers, value, data or valuable insights for future planning.

There is a greater appetite from media suppliers to embrace partnerships to bring to life a communication strategy or simply extend assets they already have into other channels, as well as securing investment.

Digital partners tend to be the connectors to more traditional channels, so are an important consideration within a group partnership.

Given how quickly the New Zealand media environment is evolving, I strongly believe (and have done so for some time) that the recent consolidation of certain media groups has a great deal to offer to both brands and agencies. However, for the many brands that extend across various channels, a key challenge will be to manage their investment portfolio in line with their communications planning.

The consolidation of media provides an opportunity for collaboration across multiple channels to reach consumers. Highlighting the increased scope of integrated partnership solutions, Mediaworks demonstrated its multi-channel capabilities with shows such as The Block and X Factor NZ to provide advertisers with an integrated media group.

Consolidation is also affecting how assets are deployed within an organisation group. For example, following APN’s acquisition of The Radio Network (TRN), the organisation invested in a new multimedia studio to improve its deliverly of content across its various channels.

At the same time, it also re-structured the print and digital sales team to provide an integrated approach across all relevant platforms.

I believe we are likely to see more of this type of activity throughout the industry as organisations work harder to promote their channel offerings to the market.

Typically, media organisations are using their strong base in news and current affairs as a platform to shift content across multiple channels and create multiple touch points for advertisers. Previous barriers to trading as a group also appear to have been broken down through a willingness and recognition of the strength of a unique media group offering in market and competition from non-aligned media suppliers to secure investment – this is positive and long-awaited news. However, continued investment into new product development will remain crucial if these consolidated media groups are to keep pace with consumer needs and meet requirements from brands.

The race is on for brands to future-proof their media investment given the proliferation of options now in the market. Media suppliers, publishers and groups will and need to continue to stimulate consideration, consider consolidation and provide more engaging environments for brands. There is no better time than now to forge ahead with deeper partnerships with media groups and harness the various assets and touch points that a media group can offer.

Scott Keddie is group trading director – PHD Group