Online ad networks will rule

Joe Mandese

Ordinarily, I'm not a gambling man, but this month I would like to tell you about two wagers I have made about the future of the media industry.

The first is a bet I made recently with Nick Denton, the founder of blog publisher Gawker Media. The other is an ongoing wager I have with a good friend, who has been head of media for big US agencies, but who is now a top executive at a global media company, and wishes to remain anonymous.

My wager with Denton is based on how the online advertising industry will perform during the current global economic recession. The bet with my anonymous friend is that media-buying is about to shift from a largely human – and I would argue inefficient – practice to one that is machine-based and much more akin to financial industry exchanges. The two wagers are linked in a way, because, if I'm right, the way the online advertising sector performs over the next year or so will have a profound influence on the way all media is traded. If, on the other hand, Denton is right, and the online advertising economy collapses yet again, it will set change in the broader industry back years.