Ad Industry Media Options Explode: From 8 In The 1970s To 100+ Today

KEY LARGO, FL – One of the greatest challenges confronting the ad industry over the past several decades has been media fragmentation, but most agencies and advertisers typically think of it in terms of how it affects consumers – and their ability to reach them. On Thursday, during MediaPost’s Mobile Insider Summit here a highly regarded researcher and analyst presented data indicating it has had a profound impact on the number of media options advertisers and agencies must also now choose from.

“In the 1970s, there were eight choices,” Patrick Quinn, founder and CEO of PQ Media, said during a presentation of a new study on mobile and social media at the summit. He was referring to the number of media platforms that advertisers and agencies had to research, plan, buy and analyze the effects of when mounting a campaign to reach consumers with advertising.

“Today there are more than 100, and 17 from mobile alone,” he added.

Quinn said that fragmentation of options, and the problems it has caused in manpower, workflow, thinking and comparing media options, is the No. challenge cited by PQ Media’s panel of industry leaders that it surveys periodically. Among other things, he noted, many of those platforms have entirely different ways of thinking about and estimating how consumers are exposed to their medium.

To illustrate how vexing, and sometimes emotional, the problem can be, Quinn said he had “just left an angry guy” at New York’s LaGuardia Airport who unleashed his frustration about media fragmentation on him, before departing to come to the summit here.

“Which are right for you,” Quinn asked Summit attendees of the 100-plus media options they must now consider.

Among other things, the fragmentation and inconsistency among those platforms is creating challenging issues such as “incompatibility” in their measurement systems and metrics, coverage issues, and user experience and ad effectiveness issues.

Even within a given platform that marketers and agencies may think of as a single medium -- say mobile, as an example -- Quinn noted that there are now “44 different revenue streams” for the various sub-components – carriers, networks, publishers, exchanges, app developers, etc. – that make up the mobile media industry today.

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4 comments about "Ad Industry Media Options Explode: From 8 In The 1970s To 100+ Today".
  1. David Smith from Mediasmith , January 27, 2012 at 9:21 a.m.
    A post like this would be so much better with a graphic/list
  2. Joel Rubinson from Rubinson Partners, Inc. , January 27, 2012 at 9:32 a.m.
    perhaps Joe Mandese or the person quoted from PQ could list the media platforms? It is hard for me to get to these numbers otherwise...
  3. Myles Younger from Canned Banners , January 27, 2012 at 11:55 a.m.
    Yeah, I'm left wanting here, but genuinely curious to see a list of these media options. This is what infographics were created for.
  4. Jeroen Hoekman from Freelance Digital & Social Business Consultant , January 29, 2012 at 7:38 a.m.
    I am not so much concerned about the list of media, as the problem obviously is that there are too many of them to handle. I was actually hoping to hear some suggestions how the ad industry can deal with this problem and how this changes the way we reach customers.