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Media Intelligence : 2008 Intelligence
expert analysis JOHN SINTRAS CEO, Starcom What do changes in cross media ownership laws and the ongoing consolidation in the industry mean for marketers? The opportunity for commercial content across consolidated platforms is obviously potentially easier to manage than when you have got single owners that are responsible for different platforms, but the challenge within that will be what the conglomerates do in terms of how they put together their multiple media formats and how integrated are they in terms of sales and the other structures that support them. The bigger challenge is then what you do with it. From a media perspective, it is not just about multimedia campaigns, it is about how you create a compelling piece of commercial content in context across the various platforms, with each platform actually adding something or enriching the engagement, rather than just seeing the same message in six different places. What kind of impact will this have on independent media companies? As long as their medium or contact point has a viable audience that is compelling to someone, then I don’t think it will be a drama. They just need to be very specialised and targeted and potentially they will have towork harder to get the advertising dollars. There is no question it will be challenging in terms of how much scale and infrastructure they have access to and what they are able to off er and how their costs compare to some of the bigger companies that have economies of scale, so that is certainly going to be an issue, but that is the law of the jungle. Do you think the rapid growth and innovation, especially with digital is being handled well by agencies? I think that it is a hard thing to answer across all agencies, but obviously the pace of change is signifi cant. Everybody is struggling to a degree, largely because there just aren’t enough people who understand digital. For us it is a challenge of yes,we want digital expertise and strategic leadership and innovation, but that also needs to be blended into the core of the agency and the mainstream areas as well. What is the biggest issue facing the industry? The shortage of talent and retaining talent. The Media Federation is trying to recruit people through the cadet program and work in with tertiary campuses to try and get media on the radar and make sure that it is part of a marketing and communications curriculum and that it has visibility so that people knowit is a career choice in the fi rst place. We have to start to get our fair share of graduates. They don’t even knowthat we exist. We are a bit invisible, because no one thinks about how ads get to where they get to and what is involved in all of that. At an agency level, we are certainly trying to recruit people from different areas. We are trying to recruit graduates and train them, but we are trying to pull people in from non-traditional agency areas and get a broader talent base, certainly from some of the strategic and digital areas. What do media buyer/planners need to knowgoing forward? The fi rst thing is that they can’t knoweverything. We have had to become increasingly specialised with what we are doing. The old days of the planner/buyer that knew every medium are well and truly falling behind and now people are specialising in particular areas of media because you just can’t keep up. The thing that I keep coming back to is that we are not just about technology and devices and proliferation, we are about understanding human beings and what human drivers are and why people do the things they do. For me that is relevant irrespective of what role you are doing. I think that everybody should have a grounding in terms of human psychology and sociology that will give you a compass to navigate from.