Recovering from recession

This year's Media 360 conference is approaching fast and, after a 'bruising' year, there has never been a better time for media executives to press the pause button, get out of the office and stop and think

Media 360: Get out of the office and stop and think
Media 360: Get out of the office and stop and think

Under the heading ‘Rethink and Rebuild', big hitters from agencies, clients and media owners will discuss topics including how social media can be used for brand communication, how traditional media can adapt and survive, and which lessons creatives can share with media planners.

After a year that Tess Alps, chief executive of Thinkbox, describes as "bruising", Media 360 is a timely platform for shared insight into how both traditional and new media can engage audiences.

This year's conference chair David Pattison, founder of PHD, believes there are universal themes for all sectors of the industry.

"We need to think about the way the business structures itself, whether current trading practices are appropriate, whether marketing services are sufficiently valued enough by clients, whether there is enough differentiation for clients and what influence the digital world having," he says.

"None of these are new challenges, but there are interesting sub-plots. For example, everyone is talking about the death of TV but viewing is up, while the general election was expected to be an online election but it proved to be a TV election. Media 360 gets all the stakeholders in one room and helps them understand each others' strengths, opportunities and weaknesses."

Alps is concerned that media agencies, under pressure from clients, have settled on terms that are "not tremendously profitable or sensible" and are looking for help from owners. "Everyone has a need to find a better way to pay media agencies, otherwise it's going to be this race to the bottom," she says.

But Pete Markey, marketing director of More Th>n, finds the recession-affected media landscape more exciting. "We changed media agency last year and that, combined with the more challenging environment, has actually unlocked a lot of new opportunities for us," he says.

"So media we hadn't thought about previously has suddenly become a lot more cost-effective and more appetising. Relationships with media partners can be strengthened as a mutual working relationship rather than the traditional 'we buy off you, you deliver stuff and we pay you'."

No matter which side of the media fence you sit on, Markey believes Media 360 will be "a great moment to press the pause button and stop and think".

He says: "If people don't go to Media 360 they miss out on the opportunity of hearing fresh thinking, and then the danger is you end up in a silo, always doing things the same way."

Selected speakers

The media owner: Adam Freeman, director, consumer media, Guardian News & Media

"The first issue is working out which changes are cyclical (driven by the state of the economy) and which changes are structural (driven by consumers and technology). Next, we have to work out how we innovate and make money out of these changes.

Structural change brings both pain and opportunity. Audiences of news content are at an all-time high and that spreads across platforms. You only have to look at the election: we sold many more newspapers, we saw huge increases in our web traffic and we received high levels of consumer engagement.

Media 360 will provide honest insights from people in all sectors of media going through the same changes, and there should be a high level of honesty and transparency in that."

The client: Mark Lund, chief executive, COI

"The commercial industry has to work out new business models to allow quality content to be created without it being paid for in the old way. The online phenomenon has changed our business model forever.

If you're an advertiser, you know the reason people buy media is for the editorial content, quality of design and writing that goes into the make-up. So protecting that quality is a source of anxiety for both advertisers and media owners.

It is crucial to look at how media owners join up different channels and get a package of messaging across different titles and programme strands to get the best bang for the bucks."

The media agency chief: David Jowett, managing director, MediaCom

"Getting value for money from your communications partners is becoming more complicated, but the information we have about it is better.

Blending a complicated world, a complicated customer, access to data and brilliant ideas to deliver brilliant business solutions for clients is far more difficult but far more possible.

If Media 360 gets lots of the brainiest people in the industry together to discuss the complicated problems we are facing, this has got to be helpful.

At the moment the media landscape is flying, especially in TV. But once the World Cup is over I have no idea; that will be the acid test."


Media 360 report 2009: Perfect storm puts consumers in control

Media 360 report 2008: The fall of media's iron curtain

Media 360 report 2007: Tomorrow's world

To see the full line-up for the seventh annual Media 360 conference in association with Media Week and Haymarket Brand Media and to book your place, please visit


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