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Media Intelligence : 2008 Intelligence
expert analysis BELINDA ROWE CEO, ZenithOptimedia. National Chair, Advertising Federation of Australia What do changes in cross media ownership laws and the on- going consolidation in the industry mean for marketers? I think it probably gives them more opportunity to do further integrated communication programs. I think that is one benefit, because obviously as we have seen, many companies such as Fairfax and News Ltd are buying up digital companies, production companies and so it really lifts the game in terms of what we can do for the market. What does this mean for niche and independent media companies? It doesn’t mean they are going to become obsolete. There is an absolute role for them in the marketplace, because I think the other big trend is the drive and need to build communities of interest and really highly targeted programs. There is always going to be a big market out there for specialised magazines, that focus around communities of interest. I think there will always be opportunities for everyone out there. Do you think that rapid growth and innovation, especially with digital is being handled well by agencies? I think in the main, yes. Because the growth has been so extraordinary, the challenge has been for people to be able to resource and invest quickly enough. Obviously there is a people shortage, so finding the talent to be able towork in that space is challenging. What we (at ZenithOptimeda) are doing, is a lot of re-skilling, so rather than trying to rely on fi nding people from around the world or recruiting from other companies, we are trying to re-skill our whole business. We have a program called Digital Fitness and we put all of our people through it so that everyone understands the terminology, the role, can talk about it to clients, and we are also now doing it with our clients to try 28 MEDIA Trends + Strategy and educate them as quickly as possible. We think that training is critical, and what we are starting to see is more staff are being attracted to the digital side and are really incorporating it into what they are doing. People are asking to swap jobs, so it is having a really positive effect. What is the biggest issue facing the industry? I think speed and change have obviously been challenging. One of the things we have noticed is that we have two speeds. We have the speed of the internet and the changes that are happening there, but also the speed of the media industry with regard to changes in media ownership, regulations, and also changes in the way consumers are using the media. That means that we have to be smarter about how we structure ourselves and how we can build systems that enable us to move faster. I think the other one is defi nitely people and making sure that we are attracting and retaining talent. At the Advertising Federation, one of our key pillars is education. We have really revamped the graduate program and it is attracting many more people, because obviously the industry isn’t just competing in the communications space, it is competing with any graduate that is looking for a career. What do media buyer/planners need to knowgoing forward? I think one of the biggest things emerging is the whole area of content and connection and the importance of those two things working together. I suppose my passion is making sure that people are not working in isolation. When we are working on campaigns we need to really understand the client’s business goal, but also the message and the content they want to put into the market, and make sure that we are really marrying that with the channels that we are selecting. I think that sometimes media and creative companies sit in isolation of each other and don’twork together enough and as we know in the digital space, those things need towork much more closely together.