Kelly Scott Madison




Report: 2012 STATE OF MEDIA encourages industry to embrace 'chaos'

The report examines which factors are driving big changes in advertising and media today

CHICAGO – April 24, 2012

Kelly Scott Madison today announced the release of its "2012 STATE OF MEDIA" report, a 55-page analysis that details the current media and advertising landscape and forecasts upcoming industry trends.

The annual report, which breaks down media segments into five main categories, indicated that the industry is currently in the midst of a revolution due to unprecedented rates of consumer technology adoption, platform convergence and increased access to analytics. Not only has the introduction and true embracement of cutting-edge gear, such as tablets and continuously-evolving mobile devices changed the very way consumers absorb media, but now more than ever trends are showing that users increasingly expect to interact with all content providers through multiple online and offline formats.

While these factors have and continue to create challenges for media companies, advertisers and outlets alike, there are still many who find the developments a reenergizing shift from previous industry standards.

KSM President Joni Williams gave her thoughts on the current state of change by saying, "Our industry is experiencing more progress at a faster pace than we’ve ever seen before. The amount of data now available to both advertisers and consumers is astounding. Even our traditional classifications of media segments will evolve as they continue to converge. To some this may all sound overwhelming, but it shouldn’t. Technological advancements are allowing us to do more for our clients than ever before, and that’s the sort of chaos we should be excited to embrace."

Still, KSM’s report found that changes in consumer demands and behaviors initially caused a scramble among media entities, and continues to generate issues. Ever since digital reached mass adoption, outlets have been forced to produce and deliver content across all formats, or risk losing audience share. "What’s incredible is we’re seeing media that used to be highly segmented now depending upon one another for survival. Cable, radio, broadcast, print and digital formats all find themselves in the same position; they need each other’s content to function and hopefully remain profitable. It’s a fragile ecosystem, and if one source dies all will be affected," added Elizabeth Kalmbach, KSM’s vice president of strategy.

Industry shifts are also causing advertisers to experience big changes, specifically in regards to audience targeting. Because of market convergence, agencies are now more apt to experiment with a mix of digital and traditional tactics in new campaigns. However, due to the speed at which analytics and technology are constantly advancing along with recent developments in privacy regulation, indicators show that companies will be testing these efforts in a trial and error manner into the foreseeable future.

Williams weighed in on this issue by saying, "Given the current rate of change, these new methods and developments may require specialized guidance to make sense of it all, but that’s what makes our jobs as both students and advisors of media strategies constantly entertaining and informative. Industry innovation should continue to outpace itself each year, and helping our clients grow alongside that change will be a truly invigorating undertaking."

Key findings from the 2012 STATE OF MEDIA report include:

  • Faster technology adoption: It took tablets less than two years to reach the 40 million unit mark; that same level of adoption took seven years for smartphones.
  • Market clutter: Less than 4 percent of videos on YouTube exceed the 100,000 viewer mark. Now more than ever, advertisers have to find the most appropriate delivery method and make strong marketing decisions in order to avoid having their messages lost in the clutter.
  • Privacy Issues: As the industry continues to battle consumer misconceptions and fears over privacy issues, education and self-regulatory practices will be key to maintaining order. Regulators will continue to face outcry from advertisers that are unsure of how costly proposed standards will benefit all those involved.
  • Data overload: The digital media industry is "drowning in data" and will only overcome this issue by successfully understanding how their key target groups are currently consuming media, thus allowing them to separate insignificant performance metrics from those that matter most.
  • Wireless Spectrum shortage: Better known as wireless signals, spectrum is a finite resource and licensed to companies by the government. Its availability over the coming years will become a large issue as smartphones and tablets are essentially rendered useless without it. Cable, broadcast and mobile providers will fight to maintain a hold on spectrum, and whoever wins will literally own the market.

The full report is available online at KSM’s website, or interested parties can request a hard copy by emailing their shipping address to with the subject line "Send 2012 SOM Report."

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