Each week, we will look at industry news curated by MediaScope. This week we look at the big five of tech, how short term careers are damaging the industry and the rise of the machines. Get to the board room!




Scott Brinker explains WTF the latest Martech graphic means (George Slefo – AdAge)

When Brinker made his first chart in 2011, there were 150 companies operating in the space. It grew to 350 the following year. Most people weren’t paying attention to what he was doing until 2014, when Brinker’s chart cracked 1,000 companies for the first time. Each year since then, people feverishly wait for Brinker to break out his next chart. His latest slide has a total of 5,381 logos, up nearly 40% from the previous year, that together represents the marketing technology landscape. “It just goes to show you how complex this marketplace really is,” said Joe Stanhope, principal analyst at market research firm Forrester. “In many ways it shows you a fairly unhealthy ecosystem of tech providers.” “The fact it keeps growing this way – and the fact a lot of the categories shouldn’t be categories in the first place – shows us that we still haven’t gotten to the tipping point where you’re going to start to see more consolidation,” he added. Also see the Australian digital MediaScape Year on Year Comparison (2010-2016).


Tech’s frightful five: They’ve got us (Farhad Manjoo – The New York Times)

We are, all of us, in inescapable thrall to one of the handful of American technology companies that now dominate much of the global economy. I speak, of course, of my old friends the Frightful Five: Amazon, AppleFacebookMicrosoft and Alphabet, the parent company of Google. The five are among the most valuable companies on the planet, collectively worth trillions. (Apple reached $800 billion in market capitalisation this week, the first of any public company to do so, and the others may not be far behind.) And despite the picture of Silicon Valley as a roiling sea of disruption, these five have gotten only stronger and richer over time. Their growth has prompted calls for greater regulation and antitrust intervention. There’s rising worry, too, over their softer, noneconomic influence over culture and information – for instance, fears over how Facebook might affect democracies – as well as the implicit threat they pose to the jurisdictions of world governments. These are all worthy topics for discussion, but they are also fairly cold and abstract. So a better way to appreciate the power of these five might be to take the very small view instead of the very large – to examine the role each of them plays in your own day-to-day activities, and the particular grip each holds on your psyche. So, last week I came up with a fun game…


Rise of the machines (The Drum)

The extraordinary power of digital technology, robotics, algorithms and all the machine-led tools that have transformed the media industry is something of a double-edged sword. At least that’s the message that has emerged from the new Rise of The Machines report, co-authored by Omnicom agencies TBWA and Hall & Partners. On the one hand, they allow us to know our audiences better, sell more products more effectively and enhance our brands with extreme rapidity. But just as that power is liberating, it can provoke extreme reactions – fear, intimidation and bewilderment. What will the age of the machine mean for jobs, do we need to craft new kinds of messages to suit the new technology, are we being seduced by cool gadgets rather than effective strategies?


The big picture has been lost to the short term click (Marcus Rich – Campaign)

The average chief executive is in the job for eight years. For chief financial officers, it is five years. For chief marketing officers, the average is just four years. Why does this matter? Well, thanks to a new report commissioned by Magnetic and compiled by Enders Analysis, we can identify this as just one piece of evidence of short-termism that is having a potentially crippling impact on marketing effectiveness. This would not be such a problem had companies got their trusted advisors by their sides. But again, when it comes to relationships with ad agencies, we see a move towards shorter-term arrangements. The average partnership between brand and agency fell from 86 months in 1984 to 30 months in 2013, according to the IPA. Which, alongside the need to deliver efficiencies, explains why procurement departments are now so heavily involved in marketing investment decisions.


Demonising the duopoly won’t save journalism (Peter Houston – Media Briefing)

The current argument is two publishers dominate the production of news content, but I struggle with it in reference to Google and Facebook’s dominance of content distribution. “Media plurality” is about supporting the “diversity of viewpoints available and consumed”. I would argue that by focusing on the distribution of content rather than creation, no two companies have done more in the entire history of humanity to enable a greater diversity of viewpoints. The filter bubbles inadvertently created by platform technology, and the elevation of some viewpoints at the extreme edges are problems. But you can’t deny the plurality of content facilitated by Google and Facebook. The real problem here is that Facebook and Google have come to control the money in the publishing industry. Analysts OC&C are saying that, by 2020, Google and Facebook are expected to take 71% of all the digital ad money in the UK. To raise the revenue threat that the so-called duopoly poses to publishers is absolutely fair. But this is not a new threat – it’s exactly the same threat that publishers have been worrying about since 1993 when the World Wide Web was first overlaid on the Internet. Now, instead of a print-digital standoff, we’ve got the media-duopoly smackdown. The danger with this new conflict is we finally have a couple of handy scapegoats to pin our problems on.


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