A new view of the future media landscape

C John Brady

Forecasting is always difficult in periods of disruption – and the communication environment is in just such a situation. C John Brady looks at three possible business models for the industry – powerful commodity volume media buyer; supercharged media planner; and the emergence of a comprehensive pure creative agency

THE MEDIA landscape – by which I mean the corporate topography of the industry (advertising agencies, media agencies, full marketing services firms, old media and new) – is adapting in response to the change all around us. But how will it look?

The most striking feature about the media landscape is how it has continually restructured itself over the past 50 years, in order to respond to forces for change, to innovate and to shape the value it delivers to its clients.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, there was the raft of mergers of small local advertising agencies to form bigger international firms. Then, in the 1970s and 1980s, there was the separation of media agencies (which did the planning and buying of media) from advertising agencies to bring more focus and reduce costs – ie separation either as independents or divisions within traditional advertising firms. The 1980s and 1990s saw more consolidation as the firms grew worldwide.