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Media Intelligence : MT Resource 2010
Fusion Strategy’s Allen echoes these sentiments. “Our clients aren’t specifically mandating more scrutiny, but we are doing 20 per cent more reporting than we were asked to do three years ago,” he says. For all its lustre as the new hot spot of audience attention, digital media outlets are not immune from these demands. “I work in the world of digital where there’s always been a high level of scrutiny. It’s unlike anything I’ve experienced with more traditional channels, ” says Kerry Field, Innovation Partner at Mindshare. “I once had to sell my soul for a $15,000 spend. It’s not quite as bad as that anymore but there is often still less confidence in the effectiveness of digital.” For Starcom’s Sintras, confidence is a key issue in the current climate. “Lack of confidence in the economy makes it hard to make decisions with confidence.” An important antidote, he says, is independently audited media. “ We and our clients feel more confident dealing with robust businesses that are willing to be called to account,” he says. “It is the first step in all of our work.” All of the media buyers we contacted for this story rely on data from the Audit Bureaux of Australia (ABA) to inform their decision-making. “ The ABA provides an essential service to the industry by keeping companies honest,” says Mindshare’s Field. Fusion Strategy’s Allen is also a fan of audited publications. “ The majority of major media organisations are publicly listed. This means the officers of those companies are almost always precluded from talking about what is happening inside their organisation.” he says. “ Without it [auditing] we wouldn’t know what is going on. Media strategy relies on having insight, so audit figures deliver a great deal more than just lists of which titles are up and which are down. It allows us to sit back and look from 40,000 or 100,000 feet at the various factors that may be influencing those figures. Our analysis of the figures ... gives us the insight we need into how various demographics are trending, what level of discretionary spending is around in the population and how healthy is a particular category or sector.” “You feel more confident recommending audited data, ” Sintras adds, expressing a sentiment echoed by Jackie Edwards. “You’ll take the audited title every time for the objective verification, ” she says. Edwards also appreciates the ABA’s ongoing dialogue with the industry to ensure its data remains relevant. “ The ABA offers good channels to influence its work, ”she says. “ There are representatives from many areas of the industry.” Edwards herself has served as one of those representatives, sitting on the ABC and CAB boards’ for a number of years. “I wanted to get more understanding behind the method- ologies, how they worked, the improvements that could be made and to figure out how the wheels turn inside. I gained very valuable insights into how media buyers can use data versus the way it was presented. The result of that engagement, she now feels, is “data that is more relevant and more usable”. That push for more relevant audit data continues today, according to John Sintras who currently sits on the ABC General Committee. “Over the last few years, I think the media side has pushed to be more involved, and we led the charge to go to more frequent circulation data. The latest crusade is to increase the frequency again,” he says, with the aim being to provide more detailed information to further boost confidence across the industry. Field, too, sits on an ABA Committee and says the opportunity to do so is important for the industry’s health. “I sit on the ABA Digital Watchdog Committee (alongside a number of publishers) which has defined the rules for tagging based audience measurement. It’s important that all parties have their say about exactly what it audited and how it is published, as it feeds insight into the system so that the end product is as relevant as possible to the buyers.” It is agreed by all that having an industry developed, national approach to the delivery of audited figures across an exploding number of media channels is crucial. As Fusion Strategy’s Allen remarks “history shows that while confusion reigns, rorts will reside”. The work being done by the ABA to deliver new products and services that cut across traditional, online, digital and emerging mobile media is clearly more relevant and important than ever. MediaTitles 52 Confidence and accountability “I once had to sell my soul for a $15,000 spend. It’s not quite as bad as that anymore.” – Kerry Field Innovation Partner, Mindshare “You’ll take the audited title every time for the objective verification.” – Jackie Edwards National Buying Director, Initiative Media p50-55 abc_cab.indd 51 8/12/09 2:52:22 PM
2009 - 2010
MT Resource Guide 2011