It's that time of year again where I come onto the internet and use gifs to tell stories about media and how the year went. This year, there is no looking back. I think we can all agree that 2020 and 2021 mash together in some weird, uncomfy sandwich of confusion. So instead, I'm looking straight into the future. And ya know what? I think it looks pretty damn good. I BELIEVE it's gonna be damn good. It just HAS to be damn good, doesn't it?
Measurement is Finally Getting Figured Out
NBCU very publicly let everyone know they are taking measurement seriously, and they should. And it's great that they are! This is the signal that advertisers and creators alike needed that it is time to clean this up.
This is not a shot at digital measurement. It came to be out of necessity, and as happens in many digital things it came to exist quickly (maybe too quickly). But now we have had the time to look at it, understand it, learn from mistakes, and it's time to make it make sense. There is room for as many vendors as can fit, but the methodology and approach need to be consistent and transparent.
I BELIEVE we can figure out how to accurately and consistently define a “view” across multiple platforms. I BELIEVE we have the people in place and the technology available to figure this out in a fair and reasonable manner that allows everyone involved to win… and it's about time everyone won.
Can We Finally Just Buy Consolidated Video?
Probably not in 2020. BUT - and that's a very important but - measurement has been a huge part of what has been holding us back the whole time. So that means we can FINALLY truly start talking about how to make it work.
Now, that's not as fun as actually having ubiquitous video in the market, I know. But just the fact that we can finally start to act against it as we clean measurement up is huge. As my CEO Ashley Swartz often says, it feels like Groundhog Day to many of us in the industry. We have been talking about "converged video" and "consolidated video" for literally years. And now, in 2022, we find ourselves in a place where we are not only addressing (no pun intended) measurement, but have the necessary technology to package, price, and deliver these ads to the right people (we will work on the right time for ubiquitous video in 2023).
I BELIEVE we are finally on the right track, with an actual plan of action to be written, and with the right people in place to finally make this a reality.
Consolidation Continues – But That’s Actually OK!
If you have been in media for as long as I have, you might also have a lovely collection of T-Shirts and other random swag from companies that eventually became other companies. And those companies coming together is not always easy. It’s hard work, it can mean the elimination of jobs and services, and very often just doesn’t feel great.
But there are also some very good things that come from consolidation. We’ve seen powerhouse content creators come together, huge broadcasters combined and some very serious international players enter the Media market in the US. For consumers and advertisers, this is all great news. Streamlining not only delivery of content, but also how and where to buy it!
The more high-quality content that gets made, the higher the bar gets set. A rising tide truly does raise all ships. So, while there is undoubted heartburn in some of this M&A action, longer term it means things get easier. While it hasn’t always worked out, I BELIEVE that in 2022 we will continue to see these same kinds of acquisitions and partnerships, which only makes us all stronger.
Diversity and Inclusion is STILL on the Table
If that sounds familiar from last year, it should. And I’m not sad to be writing this. Things don’t change overnight. And they don’t change in 1 year. But they will NEVER change if we stop talking about it.
I was encouraged this year that more and more companies have taken steps to making DEI a more serious conversation. And steps are, well, a good step. But it’s not done yet. This is not a checkbox moment. This is continuing evolution of the media sector to resemble the consumers of it more directly. Everything gets better when that happens. Content gets better (ask Disney). Ad’s get better (ask Nike). Innovation gets better (ask Microsoft). People get better (look around at the folks who champion this daily).
I BELIEVE we will continue to make meaningful, genuine strides in this area in 2022, ensuring that we get closer and closer to genuine gender and racial equality in our meetings, in our buildings, and in our boardrooms.
Media matters, potentially now more than ever. We live in amazing times where technology affords us the opportunity to make even the smallest interactions personalized and meaningful. And, as an industry, we have the ability to make and shape conversation and culture in ways that are personal, and meaningful.