The industry speaks: what will 2012 mean for media?

With 2012 finally upon us, Media Week polled selected members of the industry to find out what their predictions are for the year, and found that a cautious optimism still remains in media.

2012: the industry sets out its stall
2012: the industry sets out its stall


Dominic Carter, commercial director at News International, says: "I for one was pretty happy to see the back of 2011 and although we are experiencing a climate of economic uncertainty as we move into 2012, there is a whole host of opportunities for a news business to look forward to.

"Advances in tablet and mobile technology is ensuring that increasing numbers of consumers will engage with our content allowing  newspaper brands to continue growing valuable audiences.

Dominic Carter

"For those companies that innovate across multiple platforms and produce high quality and valuable content, there will be significant growth opportunities but one way or another, this will be defining year for several media organisations.

"And with all eyes of the world on the UK this summer as we host the Olympics, newspaper brands are uniquely positioned to capture the spirit of the nation and The Sun again is leading the way by launching its 'Let's make it great, Britain' campaign at the beginning of 2012.

"There is no doubt that the London Olympics will boost the industry and the economy but success in the European football championships, the Queen's Diamond jubilee and with the huge growth in public interest of Wills and (mostly) 'Kate', news brands have so many opportunities to consolidate their position as the very fabric of British society.

"However newspapers need to rise to the challenge of trading cross-platform in this rapidly changing media world; News International is leading the way in this as we have begun our journey of transformation, a restructured sales team that will deliver smarter, more efficient ways of trading cross-platform and we are pioneering new industry-wide trading currencies for the tablet.

"Our multi-million pound investment in automated systems will deliver more efficiencies and begin to drive an overdue change in the industry.

 "It's going to be a busy 2012 but the starting gun has been fired and I for one am really looking forward to it."

Media agency

Jane Ratcliffe, chairman of MediaCom, says, "The obvious winner [in 2012] will be outdoor with the Olympic factor and in contrast the impact of the Olympics on TV will not be as pronounced, with the coverage being on BBC.

"Print will be under pressure and we may well see further restructuring of press sales' departments to find new ways of cross selling etc...

"Agencies which are technologically capable should flourish in 2012, divergence will grow between the haves and have-nots. We may also see a greater shift towards real time, which could open up the door to new entrants such as those businesses built as digital propositions broadening their footprint."

"There may also be exciting times ahead in the content arena, both in terms of production companies and content rights, which will open up huge opportunities for the brave."

Tracy De Groose, managing director of Carat, says, "[In 2012] clients will continue to look beyond advertising to make their budgets work harder and they will demand greater measurement and accountability.

Tracy De Groose

"Media agencies have successfully diversified their businesses which will hopefully mean we’re less reliant on advertising spend."

Stewart Easterbrook, chief executive of Starcom MediaVest Group, says, "I think the most important development for 2012 is how media will become an increasingly engaging experience for those consuming it.

"It is consumers who will push innovation in media. In TV, for example, they will increasingly want to find, watch and share TV/video experiences in ways that suit them. This creates a very content-centric world.

"The increasing seamlessness of consumption across platforms will become very apparent in 2012. Think video, not TV. Mobility, not mobile. And media, not 'social' media.

"This will all give advertisers, and their agencies, even better opportunities to engage their customers in an increasingly meaningful and real-time manner. It will also create greater differentiation between advertisers and agencies who can successfully navigate these spaces and those who cannot."


Nick Bampton, sales director at Channel 5, says, "During the noughties TV came under increasing pressure as it wasn't able to prove its outcome as well as the internet. But with hindsight and as economic conditions have worsened we now see that whilst a direct link of proof is important, this can't always fit conveniently into a spreadsheet if your business or brands want real change.  

"TV is a creative medium and its confidence is growing, and when it is executed well it leads millions of people to stop and think. No other medium does this quite on the scale or with such regularity. With good execution and the right marketing mix TV can make companies their fortunes as well in 2012 as ever before.

"Look no further than John Lewis, a company that only found TV later on in life but have got it all so very right this Christmas. As a result in 2012 we will continue to see TV stations grow as in 2011, particularly those that work hardest at creating value for advertisers through genuine collaboration and partnership.

"So with this new found confidence, the improvements in approach that's prevalent in all TV sales houses now and in spite of the horrible economic conditions, we are estimating TV will grow between two and five percent in 2012."

Lindsey Clay, managing director of television marketing body Thinkbox, says, "In 2012 we'll see: TV continue to give advertisers the most profit and act as a steroid for other media’s effectiveness; the UK will become 100% digital once analogue switch-off completes; even more investment in gorgeous TV sets and DTRs; more devices becoming TV devices; more mobile TV apps; more integration across home networks with second screening and screens talking to each other; more connected TVs (and the return path they offer), including the launch of YouView; more TVoD coming to the TV set; addressable ads in linear TV; more jostling to build social tools that depend on TV; more tech companies trying to join the TV industry; and more wonderful programmes from the small or cult to the biggest event TV that the nation will never stop gathering around (not least the Olympics).
Lindsey Clay
"There will also be more insightful and useful research studies and events from Thinkbox (had to say it, sorry); even more commercial creativity on screen; the shared TV set remaining the magnetic core of the TV experience; TV advertising again increasing its share of the total ad market just as it has been doing in recent years; and TV advertising remaining the fastest growing part of online marketing money.

"I'm both excited and exhausted thinking about it."

Karen Stacey, head of broadcast at Bauer Media says: "Despite the dire economic predictions , broadcast (radio and TV) advertising is in a healthy state and we predict another successful growth year for Bauer Radio, its music TV channels and indeed the wider commercial radio industry in 2012.  

Karen Stacey
"The Olympics will undoubtedly be a high point and badge of 'national pride' but we also expect audiences to continue to live their lives locally - 'cocooning' to the security of their known environments  to better ride out the uncertainty of the coming months.  
"Listeners will become ever-more demanding, in terms of the quality of programming, the ease in which they can consume it, and how deeply it reflects their needs - whether it's a family on the school run listening to a local breakfast show in Manchester, or a commuter consuming and interacting with national digital output in London.
"And brands who take risks with innovation and creativity, working collaboratively with media owners to break the mould, will be the ones who gain most.  Advertisers will continue to demand tailored multi-platform solutions, which engage and resonate with audiences on a more personal level.  To this end, Bauer are committed to ensuring clients have direct access to our top creative teams across our radio, TV, publishing and digital sectors to deliver these results."


Stuart Taylor, chief executive of GMG Radio, says, "Despite the economic uncertainty and climate we are working in, I think that radio has several reasons to be optimistic as far as revenues are concerned.

"I think the propositions are much clearer, the proof is there and the cost advantages are there for advertisers and agencies. I’m sure that the industry will have a much more sophisticated technology development plan and some of us are already working on that.

Stuart Taylor

"I think that we will be working in an increasingly deregulated environment, which has only got to be a good thing for commercial radio, and I think a deal will be done with the collection agencies to allow more catch up and time shifted listening.

"A lot will hinge on the economy, but there are opportunities available and reasons to be cheerful for radio this year."

Stephen Miron, Global Group chief executive, says: "Radio in 2012 will continue to build on a great 2011, where along with online, it was the only medium to show year on year growth. The major advertising forecasters have predicted 2012 to be another very good year for radio.

Stephen Miron

"At Global we're really looking forward to kicking off 2012 with the new Capital Breakfast Show with Dave Berry and Lisa Snowdon and finishing the year by trying very hard to break history and make it three in a row as Media Week's Sales Team of the Year. Bring it on."


Matthew Dearden, chief executive of Clear Channel UK, says, "I envisage digital creativity and innovation being the key differentiators in the marketplace for 2012. 

Matthew Dearden

"Iconic events such as the Olympics will undoubtedly bring a feel-good factor as well as a great opportunity for business, despite our British potential for cynicism.

"It will be a volatile year and I think the winners will be those who remain disciplined and invest for the future."


Daniel Stephenson, senior director of category development at Specific Media, says: "With economic doom and gloom showing no signs of abating in 2012, consumers will be looking for bursts of cheer wherever they can find and afford them.

Daniel Stephenson

"These may involve increased consumption of online video and music and even purchasing the occasional 'feel good' treat around key events of national pride, such as the Olympics and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

"It will be these manifestations of ‘recession fatigue’ that will drive the marketing agenda in 2012."


Gary Cole, commercial director at O2 Media, says, "2012 will see mobile's growth continue apace.

Gary Cole

We expect new areas such as m-commerce, rich media, video messaging and augmented reality will to become the norm as brands increasingly use mobile’s agility in their communications plans."

Of course, this is just the beginning of the year but with events such as the London Olympics, Diamond Jubilee and the continuing growth in certain sectors of the industry, the outcome is far from certain. I guess we'll have to wait until the end of the year to see if our commentators were right.

Until then, Media Week will be following the news and views daily and by the minute. Hope you can join us.

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