Forecast 2002

It’s not often almost a hundred online advertising professionals can agree on something. At Media Magazine’s Forecast 2002 show in New York yesterday, the industry’s top minds did just that – they agreed on five issues the industry is facing and suggested real solutions to the many challenges ahead.

Produced by MediaPost, the parent company of MediaDailyNews and Media magazine, the invitation-only event was composed of five panel discussions, each with a goal of getting the panel and the audience to agree on a resolution. Complete coverage of the event will be published in the December issue of Media magazine, but here is a quick synopsis.

The day started out with a discussion on whether the Internet is a branding or a direct response medium. The panel, led by Tim McHale, Chief Media Officer at Tribal DDB, quickly agreed that the Internet is indeed a branding medium. As panelist Denise Siedner of Wunderman pointed out, "anytime you put yourself out there for a million people to see it says something about your brand."

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The second panel of the day was all about pricing models, and whether the industry should do away with all non-CPM pricing. Following a heated debate led by Jason Burnham of Mass Transit Interactive, the panel and the audience agreed that CPM is and will remain the predominant pricing model.

The third discussion was led by Tom Hespos, Internet Strategist at Mezzina Brown, who was charged with getting the panel to decide on a standard for measuring an online ad impression. Hespos and panel focused their attention on defining the impression and coming up with a way of minimizing discrepancies. Maggie Boyer of Avenue A said, third party ad servers are the most reliable sources of impression counts. David Smith of Mediasmith agreed with the statement, and the rest of the panel followed suit.

Joseph Jaffe, Director of Interactive Media at TBWA/Chiat Day was faced with the task of leading his panel in a discussion about online creative. The panel agreed that it is possible to deliver effective creative to the online audience, and there is definitely room for improvement in the field. When it comes to creative, the common theme heard was there is definitely room for improvement - we are essentially only at the tip of the creative iceberg.

The final panel of the day tackled the future of the big 3 - AOL, MSN, and Yahoo!, and the possibility of these companies controlling the entire online media landscape. Adam Gerber of The Digital Edge, pointed out that in all other media, there are just a few players that control the majority of the ad dollars and set the standards for the rest of the industry, so it shouldn't surprise us to see AOL, MSN, and Yahoo! controlling much of the net in the future. He did point out that there are still smaller players still trying to make it big, and there always will be, but everyone seemed to come to the conclusion that the big 3 are the big 3 for a reason, and will continue to be the big 3.

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