Are Media Agencies Doomed?

John made a futurology post today and invited predictions from the blogosphere around what would be different in ten years time in the world of agencies/brands/comms etc. I made a post about the future of media agencies, and it’s got me thinking a bit more about how it might pan out. It strikes me that there are actually loads of problems facing traditional media shops, who, I believe, are likely to be squeezed from all angles.

So, in no particular order:


– Ever-reducing margins and increase in pooled negotiations forces media buying to be outsourced abroad


– Communications planning to align more closely with account planning – possibly moving into creative agencies (or an increase in comms planning specialist agencies like Naked) as clients seek genuinely joined-up thinking across creative & media for brand comms


– Data planning becoming a more important function and potentially leading to some media agencies moving more into DR territory


– Digital media to usurp broadcast media as the power-holder in most media shops


– More clients recruiting in-house comms planning specialists and asking media agencies to simply execute strategies that have been formulated in-house


This is potentially all a bit worrying for the traditional media shop. Is it all doom and gloom, though? Will direct response (and its inherent accountability) become more of a focus for media agencies? Will media agencies in their current guise really cease to exist?
Interesting times ahead.

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One Response to “Are Media Agencies Doomed?”

  1. Ben Mason Says:

    I agree with you on the need for media planning and account planning (or whatever we call communication strategy) to move much closer. Working on the digital side, in a creative agency with no media arm, I find the distance that we are from the media agency so frustrating. It often inhibits our ability to formulate the most effective response to a client brief.

    As for the future, I reckon it’s all in the long tail (one answer for all questions at present!). We’ll see some slow-moving large media agencies flounder but mostly we’ll see a proliferation of specialist shops. The question for the big shops is whether they can be proficient in all emerging skills. Will search become an exclusive specialism etc.

    I don’t we’ll see media-owners become any less in demand than they currently are. We may see the advertising models change and the number of media-owners change but people will always have attention to give.

    This deserves more thought…

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