How do you think the industry could face challenges such as traditional media erosion creatively?
Organizing and thinking beyond your own ecosystem is fundamental. The abilities to scale and be a one-stop-shop for advertiser’s needs are important as we moved into a larger global reality. When I was sitting on the board for Egta, I was very persistent on envisioning our competition as international entities – we speak of Google not Google France. The giants like GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft), to which we now should count Tiktok as well, are already at that stage. This global view is difficult as we are fundamentally national players and defined by the territory yet are active internationally.
What about Brand Safety?
Brand safety is an important point the industry tends to forget, as advertisers and agencies are looking firstly for the highest returns on investment. We risk losing the perspective of this responsibility in which traditional media plays an important role.
In Canada, the media players raised this concern to the industry stakeholders and the Canadian Media Directors Council decide to take the initiative. The goal was to redistribute digital media investments to be more in line with time spent on all digital platforms. GAFMAT was benefiting from a disproportionate size of advertisers’ budgets, and this needed to be corrected. On this background, the Canadian Media Manifesto – the idea of motivating brands to invest by diverging a portion of their investments to local national media brands – was developped. Investment should not suffer, on the contrary, profitability and returns might increase, while also ensuring brand safe environments. Furthermore, these advertising spends are helping to save the industry.
The digital sphere is dominated by algorithms that show you content based on things you have previously consumed. During the last few years, we have seen an increase in the problems this can bring. Certainly, from a media perspective and the advent of the polarisation of populations in many countries, the US being a clear example of the direction this can take.
As a public service organisation, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation made a significant effort to build a means by which this can be stopped. As a public service organization, it felt it had the responsibility to make sure that they are providing as much as possible a diversified point of view, on all issues, so that readers do not get boxed into a narrow vision of the world that keeps being reinforced. They went against what is the base of digital platforms by implementing an algorithm that prevents confirmation bias.
Now, nearly all major news players have rolled out this kind of approach on their digital platforms. The RTBF in Belgium was a leader in this initiative but not far behind was France Télévision, SRG SSR in Switzerland, ABC in Australia and the BBC in England have also been very active in that field.