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Good piece by Alex Benady about the current state of the advertising industry in the latest issue of Management Today. The following excerpt makes for sobering reading – and not just for ad execs. It also doesn’t include any reference to Internet channels either:

In 1980 there was just one commercial TV channel.

By 1997
there were 58 pay-TV channels, 172 radio stations and 7,088 periodicals.

By late 2003 there were 296 pay-TV channels, 263 radio stations (and a
further 43 digital multiplexes with nine channels each) and 8,338
periodicals.

Today, 797 TV channels are licensed to broadcast, making it
harder and more expensive to reach consumers. And with fragmenting
audiences, advertising is losing much of the cultural currency that
comes from critical mass.

Perhaps the most ignominious sign of the adman’s descent in the
corporate pecking order is the fact that, increasingly, it’s the
procurement rather than the marketing department’s job to buy
advertising. The intrusion of purchasing professionals into advertising
contracts drives many in the agency world to distraction.

These people
know the price of everything and the value of nothing,’ fulminates a Top
30 agency chief. ‘How on earth can you value imponderables like a great
film script when you are talking to someone who was buying bog rolls by
the yard just an hour ago?’

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