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Sorrell backs traditional media

News, 14 September 2015

SYDNEY: Sir Martin Sorrell believes too much marketing emphasis has been placed on digital and that the pendulum will swing back towards traditional print and TV.

But that doesn't mean a return to the status quo ante, the head of WPP, the global agency holding company, told the Future Forum conference in Sydney, organised by The Newspaper Works. "People are still going to read, they're still going to watch, but they're going to read and watch in a different way," he said.

And amid the enthusiasm for all things digital he took a swipe at the undemanding measurement criteria that applied to these channels, Mumbrella reported.

"The hurdle that a Nielsen applies to offline viewership or offline readership is much higher than the standard that online measurement services apply," he said.

"About half of all video is watched without the sound. The scale that is used for viewership is three seconds. That is ludicrous compared to [the standards of] traditional viewership on TV or newspaper readership."

Sorrell also argued that companies such as Google and Facebook were effectively media owners and not tech businesses.

"You wouldn't give your media plan to a client, to a media owner, so why do you give it to Google who monetises its inventory just like any other owner?" he asked.

Separately, Michael Miller, incoming chairman of News Corp Australia, called for newspaper publishers to stop fighting each other and to instead focus their efforts on those same tech/media businesses, Ad News reported. "We need to stop playing defence and play attack," he said.

"It's not just our ability to create great content, it's branded content," Miller explained. "We are in a position to be able to distribute that content properly and that is a unique difference that we have.

"They're [Google, Facebook] taking it from others, but we are creating content tailored to the client's needs."

Data from Warc's International Ad Forecast show global print ad revenue has fallen an average 9.8% over the last three years, compared to growth in online adspend of 16.1% during this time.

Data sourced from Ad News, Mumbrella; additional content by Warc staff