Sir Martin Speaks

Sparksheet, a newsletter published by Spafax, a division of WPP interviewed Sir Martin Sorrell.  This may seem on the face of it to be fairly self-serving, and maybe so.  But during the course of the interview he had one or two notable things to say about media, media habits, and the whole money issue.

 “Media habits are changing, becoming much more one to one. That’s good news, but it’s also bad news because it’s highly fragmented, and therefore you don’t have large globs of ad revenue sticking to properties anymore. So it makes life for newspapers, magazines, and free-to-air TV much more difficult.It also means that smaller fragmented audiences are much more important. For example, the Transumer [people who travel a lot – consumer in transit] audience becomes much more important because it becomes more defined and more easily addressable and targetable.The JetBlue example shows you how violently media consumption – particularly amongst younger people – is changing, how it is likely to keep changing, and how specific it can all be. And actually it can be very effective and cheap for everyone.

What’s the missing link in getting brands to seriously spend on the Web? Is it that advertisers flock to quality content, and that just doesn’t exist to scale online?

Time. A lot of it’s to do with time. I’ve described it in the past as “age” but that’s gotten me in trouble. Agencies are run by old people like me, and older people like me are media owners and clients as well.

People take time to change. They might not get it yet. You become the CEO of a company and it’s taken you 25 years and the last thing you want in your last four or five years is violent change. You want things to go on just as they have before. So it’s a natural human emotion if you like – a human feeling – to resist this change. But it’s only a question of time. Because if consumers are spending 20, or 25 percent of their time online and clients are spending 12 or 13 percent of their budgets online, there’s a natural gravitational pull to that 25 percent.


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