This Is The End, My Friend, The End-User

Joe Mandese

Of the many threats confronting the traditional advertising model, none seems quite so destabilising and irrevocable as the one being waged by the 'end-user'. End-user, of course, is investment banker parlance for consumers, and a new report from a top communications industry banker is littered with data suggesting that if they keep behaving the way they do, end-users may just bring an end to using advertising.

People in the ad business tend to focus on the symptoms of advertising's ill-health. Things like clutter and fragmentation, or even bedevilling new technologies like digital video recorders, but you need to look at consumer behaviour, and you need to look at it over a long timeframe, to understand what is really going on. That is what US banker Veronis Suhler Stevenson does every year in its Communications Industry Forecast & Report, which has shown a constant progression away from ad-supported media towards so-called end-user-supported media. In fact, the just-released 2004 edition reveals a remarkable fact: consumers now spend more money on media than advertisers do.