December 1, 2016
Is our era in media the most exciting, or the scariest? Bloomberg Media’s Global Chief Revenue Officer Keith Grossman posed that question in a keynote address at the AdMonsters PubForum event in Miami recently, asking for a show of hands. He himself is firmly in the “exciting” camp. Read on to find out three key reasons why.
1. Change creates opportunity.
“It’s normal to be frustrated,” Grossman said, when you think about how the industry has evolved. But if you seize control of the change that’s happening, that confers power. So does taking a measured approach: “TV was supposed to kill radio – but radio is still around; look at Spotify. The DVD was supposed to kill the Cineplex. Instant coffee was supposed to replace fresh brewed,” he stated, referencing a well-known piece by journalist David Pogue.
But when you stop thinking in extremes and start thinking in terms of an unfolding process, “the reality is that even when things are celebrated as the future, adoption and scalability lag,” Grossman said. He suggested asking “what’s the nature of the change?” instead. The answers you find can “help clarify your game plan and make it easier to figure out where to put your bets, where to hedge.”
Why you should be excited: “If you’re at a moment where change is creating friction in the marketplace, and people don’t know what to do,” Grossman said, that’s an open door: “sometimes the people who figure it out faster can take advantage of it.”
2. Digital means nothing anymore.
“Ten years ago digital meant desktop display – but today, it means anything that can be digitized,” said Grossman. That means no one can be an expert in “digital” – because it’s now a vast framework, rather than a stand-alone function. “You can be an expert in programmatic, but not in digital video; you can be an expert in digital video but not in OTT,” added Grossman.
That ubiquity is paradigm-shifting, as new power centers emerge and old ways of thinking fall away. As an example, Grossman explained how the concept of “reaching an audience” has changed. “15, 20 years ago, there was one way to reach a magazine consumer. That was through the magazine. Today, I can give you a million different ways to reach that magazine’s consumer without ever touching the magazine.
“You would think on that premise alone, this would be the scariest time in media – except for the fact that in a world of infinite choice, what people forget is that the consumer finds themselves in almost a paradox of choice,” Grossman added. If you can choose everything, it becomes much more difficult to choose anything.
Why you should be excited: The paradox of choice elevates the value of brand: “In this new world of choice, a brand is a trusted filter,” said Grossman. The bond of trust between the brand and the individual is more meaningful than ever, especially in a climate of increasing concern around fake news and misinformation. Opportunities for strong brands are correspondingly greater than ever.
3. Experiences rule.
At the same time, the nuts and bolts of content delivery aren’t important to most people. “On the back end, we might prefer that the distribution networks are filled,” Grossman observed, “but the consumer’s expectation is: there’s a screen, and I want to be able to do something on it. And I don’t care how it got there.”
What’s important is the new ways people have to connect with what they read, see and hear. “Content has become sharable, become interactive, become measureable,” Grossman said. “So when you think about how platforms interact with each other now, when you think about the value of print, it’s not recapping the news the way it used to do. The value is in seeding the ongoing infinite conversations happening on the web. That’s your value proposition.”
Why you should be excited: New growth opportunities, enhanced focus on what technologies to invest in, and an understanding of what your road map should look like are in play. “When you start realizing that content becomes that flexible, becomes that sharable and scalable,” it’s a whole new ballgame, Grossman concluded. “The future will be written by optimists.”
– Jen Robinson | December 1, 2016