Letters - 29 November 2005

Strategy, SMG Out of Home, Maiden Outdoor, Emap Advertising, Optimad Media Systems

LETTER OF THE WEEK - MEDIA OWNERS ARE NOT FROM THE DARK SIDE

Peter Hobday, Publisher, subscriptions Strategy

Media owners are the dark side? No way! (How to cross the media divide, page 26, 15 November).

A media owner's standards must be pretty high - a media buyer will want to see NRS, TGI and ABC figures.

When I say: "We cover your target market," I have to back that up with statistics.

But why don't we get to see the media planner's figures? When a media buyer says: "You don't add anything to our coverage," he shows me squat. Do I take his or her word for it? Only if I want to go out of business.

So who's hiding on the dark side? Not us. That's why we have to ask the client to shed a little light.

 

ANALYSIS DIDN'T ANALYSE IT ALL

Christine Costello, Chief executive, SMG Out of Home

Tony Lithgow doesn't seem to be able to differentiate between analysis, supposition and bunkum (CSA dominates in cinema's changing advertising market, page 16, 15 November).

In his analysis of the cinema advertising sector, he leaps to the conclusion that, with a quarter of the UK market, Pearl & Dean will "struggle".

When SMG bought Pearl & Dean in 1999, it held a similar market share and enjoyed a very profitable position. In fact, its market share in the 1990s had been as low as 12%, and it remained viable then too.

With profitable contracts alongside high quality cinema clients, we've every faith in it doing so in the future too.

The piece also cited reports that SMG is a takeover target, at a time when speculation of that nature is at its lowest for years.

Finally, this "in-depth piece of analysis", which focused on CSA's market share, failed completely to examine just what terms CSA was willing to offer in order to capture this position from January 2006 - this would have made much more interesting reading.

Come on Media Week - when you offer analysis, let's see some decent interrogation of the facts.

 

MEDIA INDUSTRY IS MISSING POINT

Chris Maples Head of unique, Maiden Outdoor

After reading the article Digital outdoor strives to deliver eyeballs (page 20, 22 November), I fear that the media industry may be in danger of missing the point and "ghettoising" digital outdoor opportunities.

Simply grouping together anything that is screen-based and outside the home will not necessarily deliver new insight, nor will it provide clients and planners with an accurate yardstick by which to judge each individual proposition.

Any ad opportunity should live or die by its ability to deliver value to an advertiser's communication. Digital out of home is no different. To do this, it must deliver an audience that has value, in scale or profile - ideally both.

This will be delivered by providing compelling content to people who have the time to consume it. Just because you can install a screen somewhere doesn't necessarily mean you should: the key to successful outdoor is always location, regardless of the technology.

That's how Maiden Transvision has been such a success and that's how I expect us to continue to be judged.

 

MEDIA OWNERS DO KNOW BEST

Carrie Barker, Magazine and cross media sales director, Emap Advertising

I was very impressed with all of the "industry" words that were used to describe people who come up with strategies in the four-page So, where does strategy fit in? feature (page 22, 8 November).

Titles such as engagement planners, experience commun-icators, communications strategists and branding consultancies show how creative the industry has become at creating a load of fancy titles for very similar jobs!

However, the two key words that you missed were "media owners". No wonder that Jason Gonsalves said that clients felt that there was something missing between the creative agency and the media agency.

Nobody understands how to communicate best with a particular audience than the media owner. After all, it's our job day in, day out.

At Emap Advertising, we know from our own effectiveness research that campaigns that work best are when we are involved at the earliest stage in the planning process: come to us with a "problem" and we will then come up with a solution; come to us with a solution and you create the problem.

Media Week, of all people, should understand this for awarding us the Grand Prix sales pitch of the year for Vauxhall.

The great learning from this was an agency (Initiative) which was brave enough to talk to us early in the piece, and a client who was open-minded enough to let us get "media creative" on his brand.

We are planning more of the same for next year, so rather than this be a flash in the pan, this is a sign of things to come.

 

NEW SOFTWARE CAN BENEFIT US

Andrew Troullides, Managing director Optimad Media Systems

Jon Horrocks pointed out in letter of the week (Ofcom review could threaten share deals, page 22, 15 November) that if Ofcom was to challenge agency and share deals, media owners and agencies would need to invest in completely redesigned computer systems.

So it's not all bad news then?

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