Event Recap: District Dialogues – The Future of Media

On August 27th, the IPG Media Lab attended a District Dialogue Meet Up on the future of media. The panel included Chelsea Emery, Deputy Editor of BBC Capital at BBC Worldwide; Jessica Manis, Digital Associate Director at Optimedia and; Alicianne Rand, VP of Marketing at Newscred.

There was a lively discussion about where the ad industry is headed and the best ways to reach audiences in the future. All the panelists (and most of the audience) agreed that it is becoming increasingly important to add value to consumers and create content that users will choose to engage in. Audiences are already less responsive to and tolerant of traditional banner advertisements and this trend will continue going forward. The panelists believe that banner ads will never go away entirely although they agree that they are becoming less effective, especially with most browsers ending support for flash and enabling ad blockers.

Another topic that was discussed at length was the fact that the lines between editorial and advertorial are getting increasingly blurred. It was interesting to hear the panelists discuss this separation between church and state. Those on the editorial side were adamant that the line must be drawn and that journalistic integrity must be preserved. Those on the marketing side believed that although the distinction is important, it was not quite as essential. They argued that great content could be created even when paid for by a marketer. Interestingly, one member of the editorial side of the discussion did acknowledge that her salary is funded entirely by ad revenues.

The final trend discussed was the fact that the power to create content is shifting from big publishers to consumers. Social media is allowing anyone with access to the internet to become a source of information and thought-leader. The distribution channels allow individuals to be heard on a much wider scale than ever before and these avenues are only going to become magnified as technology brings people closer together. A member of the audience summed it up perfectly: “Content is king but distribution is queen and she wears the pants in the relationship.” The advertising landscape is certainly shifting in many ways and marketers must adapt to provide value to consumers and take advantage of rising distribution models.