It seemed an easy brief. “Can you write 200 words on the defining media moment of 2004?”
The problem is I can hardly remember what happened last week, let alone what was going on in January.
We’re pretty good at looking forward, making predictions and forecasts but looking back’s a whole old ballgame.
I seem to remember IPC and Emap slugging it out earlier in the year with Nuts and Zoo.
That might be important.
Who knows, perhaps one day they and other celebrity weeklies might supersede the
Didn’t Greg Dyke lose his job this year? That could be significant. Might that be seen as the point when the BBC lost its way?
Nine months later and they’re losing viewers, cutting jobs and fighting a resurgent ITV.
The Times went fully tabloid (that was fairly recent, so I know it was this year). That’s got to be important.
One day any of the above might be remembered as the defining media moment of 2004 but I suspect the Daddy of them all is the ongoing and as yet unresolved issue of advertising regulation.
Back in March (I looked it up) the IPA held a legal seminar on the advertising of food and alcohol, including the Government’s view via the Department of Health.
Since then a Government White Paper called Choosing Health has been issued, which, whilst complex, seems to give advertisers two years grace. And then, who knows?
A complete ban on food advertising to children? And then restrictions on food ads to adults? A ban on alcohol ads?
What about cars, pharmaceuticals, airlines?
So, in the spirit of looking forward, 2004 will be best remembered for being the year that Government regulation really started to gather momentum.
And unless the ad industry fights back, our business will become the scapegoat for the countries health and environmental problems.