GroupM Intel Chief On Why We're All Ad Trade Reporters

After nearly half a century of working with a chip on my shoulder, GroupM Global President of Business Intelligence boosted my self-esteem when she kicked off a press briefing ahead of this week's release of her mid-year ad industry forecast update.

"We have some trade reporters and some non-trades on the call," Scott-Dawkins began, adding, "My argument is that pretty much everyone these days is a trade reporter, because if you’re covering anyone of the largest companies in the world, you are talking about advertising."

She went on to back her argument up by citing some pretty daunting stats underlying one of the central themes of GroupM's new forecast: consolidation.

"Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, these are all companies that sell advertising, and Nvidia sells the chips on which these companies provide their advertising services," she explained.



Obviously, Scott-Dawkins was speaking euphemistically about everyone being an ad trade reporter, even if she was just referring to members of the general press, much less media planners and buyers like you.

Most of you probably write better than me, and certainly wouldn't use a gimmicky anecdote like this to make a point. But many of you probably also know I can't resist an invitation to do so when it's presented to me.

That said, there is a serious point in Scott-Dawkins quip, and all you need to do is look at the GroupM data below to consider the magnitude of it.

Yes, it shows how the share of ad industry spending increasingly is consolidating among a handful of its biggest players, but the biggest among them also happen to be the biggest companies in the world.

If you include AI chipmaker Nvidia, the five largest companies in the world are based in the U.S., and if you go deeper down the list, most of them are based here or in China, which relates to GroupM's second big visual data point:

The good news for the ad industry is both of those two giant ad markets are surging, which is a big part of GroupM's multiple percentage point upgrade for the global ad economy this year.

The bad news is it means advertisers, planners and buyers are more beholden to an increasingly consolidated supply chain than ever before.

3 comments about "GroupM Intel Chief On Why We're All Ad Trade Reporters".
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  1. Dan Ciccone from STACKED Entertainment, June 11, 2024 at 2:45 p.m.

    I'd be curious to see this chart from 1990 or 2000.

    I imagine most ad dollars have always gone to the biggest platforms, but especially since a lot of rules and regulations were changed between 1990 and 2010, and with the advent and growth of digital, I imagine the bulk of dollars just made a slow shift from certain mega, legacy media conglomerates in the late 90s to the new media conglomerates of today.

    Just shifting money to the new players.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 11, 2024 at 5:42 p.m.

    Could be right, Dan. Also, most of these companies are not competing for the same ad budgets, which means that Amazon's huge increase did not necessarily come at the expense of a Comcast or Meta. It's also interesting to note how flat the five TV biggies have been over the years---not good---but not a total disaster, either.

  3. Kate Scott-Dawkins from GroupM replied, June 11, 2024 at 5:50 p.m.

    While that might have been true to some extent in each individual market (i.e. the largest German TV players and the largest German newspapers), the difference now is that these companies are the largest sellers of advertising in every single global market (excluding China, Russia, etc). Globalization alongside concentration 

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