Agencies Must Address New Media, New Challenges

How dramatic is the digital revolution in the media agency business? At an event Wednesday, top Starcom MediaVest executive Laura Desmond suggested that a day could come when up to 60% of clients' budgets are apportioned for what's now still known as new media.

"Change isn't going to slow down," said Initiative North America CEO Richard Beaven, another member of the panel of top media agency executives convened for Advertising Week.

Desmond says adaptations to the evolving climate need to happen at the operating/agency level, but can benefit from or be "enabled by the right holding company environment." Starcom MediaVest is part of Publicis.

In addition to alterations in where dollars are going, panelists concurred that media agencies need to expand their operations into new arenas, whether data analytics or branded content development--two areas that MindShare North America CEO Scott Neslund said his agency has entered aggressively.

"In the past, media (agencies) have been cut off" from the content side of the business, Neslund said--citing creating Webisodes and other types of advertainment as marketing vehicles that can succeed amid today's clutter.

As with many discussions about the current state and future of media, Google's impact was noted--whether in regard to its potential for bypassing agencies or its ability to provide concrete results for ad plays.

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