Cross-media ownership on the cards?
2016 could be the year when long talked about changes to media ownership laws become a reality. If it does there will be lasting repercussions for many Australian businesses. While a narrowing of editorial opinion in our media may well be a consequence of changes to cross-media ownership law, this is not what’s driving the move towards change.
From JP Morgan’s recent analysis of Australian media businesses the imperative for media businesses is existential. The likely mergers and acquisitions that may occur if cross-media ownership laws are relaxed might only provide short-term relief from the disruptive forces which are descending on media businesses.
Enlarged media companies protect their audience share through the delivery of popular content. Mergers and acquisitions mean consolidation of more owned content. The surge in popularity of NetFlix, Stan and co., notwithstanding the ever-increasing value of broadcasting rights for popular content like our major sporting codes, illustrate how its the content owners, not the publishers or distributors, which hold the balance of power.
Winners and losers
Traditional media businesses are intermediaries and ripe for disruption. This is best evidenced by the media companies that are performing well by owning and/or producing content and building communities of engaged audiences – think www.realestate.com.au or www.awol.com.au.
These strong performers understand the power of owned media (i.e. website, mobile apps, microsites, etc.), attracting and engaging larger and larger online communities with little need for paid media advertising. Brands that are able to grow audience numbers to levels that compare with traditional media, stand to gain the most. They will have the opportunity to on-sell their owned media to businesses interested in reaching their audiences.
Take Qantas’ awol for example. It currently attracts over 55,000 visits per month with visitors staying an average 2 minutes on-site. Awol’s audience number outranks many traditional media verticals which charge thousands of dollars per advertising page (think local newspapers) tenfold, making the site attractive media space for businesses interested in reaching the Qantas-awol audience – e.g. tour operators, travel insurance, car rental, luggage brands, et al.
Huge opportunities for owned media as brands become publishers
Exploiting popular owned media will be attractive to marketers, CEOs and CFOs as it turns the traditional marketing cost centre into a revenue generator. This is the mother lode for marketing communications which is forever trying to justify ROI. Lenovo’s recent decision to take its global media buying in-house provides a strong case in point.
Intermediary businesses in media buying will be the first to feel the pain of disruption to the media industry. Media publishers and broadcasters that do not secure the content necessary to attract and retain audiences will follow.
The businesses which will thrive in this new disrupted era will be those that understand the new realities in media communications and take an investment view of the marketing communications function.
If you think these insights could be important to your organisation and you’d like to learn more, contact Horizon Communication Group.
First published at www.horizoncg.com.au