Well, I guess this doesn’t come as a big surprise: Revenues for the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity were down 9% this year.
That’s according to the festival’s parent Ascential, which just issued its financial results for the first half the year.
I say not surprising because as most of you know, Publicis Groupe opted out of the festival this year (as well as other award shows) to concentrate on the development of its internal communications platform Marcel.
The absence of a major holding company is going to have an impact on an awards show. Other holding companies reportedly cut back of the number of attendees they had at the show.
Also, the festival cut back on the length of the show and the number of awards after talks last year with various groups. Many believed the festival had strayed a bit too far from its core mission of recognizing good advertising.
As Ascential noted in its mid-year report: “Following extensive discussions last year with key stakeholders, the 2018 Festival featured some important changes, most notably a new awards structure that included the retirement of three Lion awards and a reduction of over 120 sub-categories. Additionally, the Festival was focused into a five-day period [versus the previous eight], a feature that makes participation more cost effective for our customers.
"This year, owing principally to the one-year withdrawal of Publicis and the refreshed awards structure, revenues declined by 9% on a constant currency organic basis to £57.3m ($75 million). The revenue mix also continued to move away from other major advertising holding companies.”
While revenue was down from admissions entries and attendance passes, gains were achieved in both partnership and digital revenues.
“Overall, we are encouraged that these developments, together with the well-received format changes and the high level of stakeholder engagement evident during the Festival, position Cannes Lions well for long-term growth.”
I hope that’s the case.
After all, a Lion award is considered to be in a league by itself. Hopefully, the Lions organization and the industry are now aligned on what that festival and the awards it bestows stand for going forward.