Friends of postadvertising are puzzled over conflicting predictions about the winners and losers in the global ad-spending recession. Continuing our series on imperiled ad-supported media, we will now make sense of the discontinuity by letting the investment bankers weigh in. They’re the ones who buy and sell both agencies and media properties; so they have a stake in the debate without having a bias.
We recently reported on the fact that the consensus among media followers is that TV will be a loser, although not as big a loser as print. In an article titled “2009 to be a Transition Year for TV,” eMarketer reported that Barclays Capital sees network TV spending falling 7.8% this year, while Myers Publishing projects a drop of 4%. Other experts see similar negative numbers.
That seemed clear enough until The New York Times ran a piece headlined “TV Retains Marketing Dollars in Hard Times.” Citing no spending statistics at all, The Times reported that “advertisers [are] putting their marketing dollars into national television at levels reminiscent of prosperous economic times.” This is happening even though the nets are being forced to give makegoods and free ads due to an average 10% drop in audience, The Times noted.
What sort of vigorous research produced these counter-intuitive conclusions? Well, the reporter says he talked to “(n)etwork sales presidents and executives at various media agencies.” In other words, people whose bread is buttered (richly) by national TV buys.
Fortunately, we have a wider variety of sources (in addition our own set of biases). The media investment bank and broker Jordan Edmiston Group reports in a piece called “State of the Industry” in its January client newsletter that between now and 2010, some 88% of ad spending growth will go to non-traditional media. This is a 180-degree turnaround from the past few years, when two-thirds of the growth went to traditional media, they say.
“Over the next few years, the following four growth sectors will offer major opportunity: Database & Information; B2B Online Media;Consumer Online Media; and Interactive Marketing Services.” TV is not on the list.
Jordan Edmiston’s CEO Wilma Jordan amplified in a New Year’s letter to her firm’s clients, “We expect CMOs to funnel leaner budgets away from ‘above the line’ brand awareness to ‘below the line’ marketing to drive leads, directly impact sales and quickly shift market share.” Translation for Times readers: That means less TV and print, more online and direct.
Frankly, despite The Times, we expect the same thing. The global recession is accelerating the trend away from traditional media. Increasingly, smart CMOs want measureable, efficient, effective marketing. You don’t see much of that on television.
IMAGE BY CHRISTOPHE DESSAIGNE