Gordon Borrell recently hosted a webinar that hit on the highlights of his #LOAC2019 (Local Advertising Conference) held in New York City. The shocker, for me and many others came when Gordon said the future for media expenditures would be a process of “thinning the herd.”
To put things in perspective, Gordon shared how an over-populated media landscape is impacting local advertisers.
- 1,300 daily newspapers, 6,500 weeklies
- 4,700 printed directory books
- 4,665 AM radio stations, 6,757 commercial FM radio stations
- 1,760 Class A TV stations
- More than 1,000 cable systems with local sales staffs
- 660,000 podcasts were actively produced in 2018
- 495 NEW TV shows were introduced last year in addition to what’s already on
- PLUS, local ad sales are taking place on Facebook, Google and Amazon
Another way of looking at this media explosion, is that a TV market now has an average of 126 local media entities. To view a recording of the webinar, contact Corey Elliott HERE
Action – Reaction
So, how are the people who buy advertising responding to this media abundance?
Gordon identified three trends:
- They are increasing buying for types of media, from 5.5 to 8 different ones
- They are decreasing the number of companies from which they buy advertising, from 5 to 3.5 companies
- 90% of their media buys are being made with companies who can bundle traditional and digital advertising
Facebook – Google – Amazon
When a new Ollie’s store opened in Winchester, Virginia, my Facebook newsfeed was peppered with announcements. During the fall elections, politicians also used lots of Facebook ads to try and get elected.
I can’t go on Google or Amazon looking for something without being followed around the internet with ads for that very thing.
eMarketer says that in 2018, Google and Facebook took 60% of the total digital ad spend. Amazon was third with 6.8% but is predicted to grow it’s share by more than 50% in 2019.
Think about that, these three companies will rake in over 68% of the digital advertising dollars spent this year.
eMarketer also says that by 2023, they expect digital advertising to account for 66% of total media spend.
About ten years ago, my good friend John Parikhal recommended I read Peter Drucker’s book “Post -Capitalist Society.” Wikipedia summarizes Drucker’s thesis this way:
“The book states that the “First World Nations” and in particular the United States have entered a Post-capitalism system of production where the capital is no longer present because it doesn’t belong to one person or family but to a series of organizations such as insurance companies, banks, etc. Because of this, normal citizens become virtually owners of the great American enterprises, being owners of the capital, therefore, not destroying but overcoming the capitalism. The book foresees that the post-capitalist society will become a society of organizations where every organization will be highly specialized in its particular field.”
Sound like what we are witnessing in today’s world?
Accountable Capitalism Act
Recently, Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill in Congress called the “Accountable Capitalism Act.” It targets what Warren says is the root of the country’s “fundamental economic problems.” You can read the Boston Globe story on the bill HERE
In essence, we have moved from a time when corporations cared about where they lived to one where only increasing shareholder value matter.
I remember a time when the insurance companies of Hartford, Connecticut were once heavily invested in the good of Hartford. I grew up in a GE city. General Electric made a positive impact on things and participated in growth and prosperity of the area.
In the 1980s, things changed. Corporations shifted from caring about both employees and investors, to only investors. The record profits went all to investors, and the people who worked hard to produce those profits didn’t get a share of them.
Increasing Shareholder Value
I first wrote about how the concept of “increasing shareholder value” was a dumb idea three years ago. You can read that article HERE
Real American capitalism was when both company and worker did well together.
Senator Warren has also raised many eyebrows with another plan that proposes to break up some of the largest US tech companies, like Amazon, Google and Facebook. Based on the trends in digital advertising, those of us in broadcasting would probably agree with Warren.
In essence, Warren says that high tech has created an unfair playing field. They control the platform, have full access to all the data, and then can either unfairly compete with companies, buy them out entirely or run them out of business. It reminds me of the type of things people said as Walmart covered America with their form of brick & mortar retailing.
Get Bigger or Get Out
Cox Media has recently begun liquidating its radio, television, newspaper and other media properties. The company’s leadership has determined that scale will be a determining factor in the future, and they either need to get bigger or get out. Cox has chosen the latter.
It would appear that in reading the tea leaves for ad supported media, that everything is currently headed in the direction of fewer entities owning all the media outlets, and advertisers buying their media on those platforms that can bundle it all together.
“Monopolies are a corruption of the marketplace. Breaking them up — allow[s] entrepreneurs to enter the market, giving consumers more choices, and giv[es] workers more jobs…”
-Adam Green, cofounder, Progressive Change Campaign Committee
I know there are many radio folks who saw the Telcom Act of 1996 as the beginning of the end of commercial radio as we knew it. That act is what caused Wall Street to enter the broadcasting business and apply their dumb idea of “increasing shareholder value” to another industry. It was the beginning of the consolidation of radio and we all know how that’s turned out.
3 responses to “Thinning the Herd”
Survival of the Fittest and Adaptive Radiation are essential to Media Evolution. Perhaps, the most practical applied simplicity is Best Show Wins.
Just for the record…Cox Media Group is retaining a minority share of the new company which will be formed.
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But they no longer are in control and they apparently don’t have an appetite to scale, so they are going to take a minority stake and watch what happens. (I think we all will be watching.)