Advertising and media are being disrupted – here’s what to do about it

Over the last five years we’ve seen digital advertising spend overtake TV advertising. We’ve also seen the growth of a content marketing industry that’s doubled in size and is predicted to be worth over $300 billion by 2019. But much bigger disruption is coming – in the next five years, 50% of the worldwide advertising budget will be re-allocated.

This transformation is being driven by two main disruptive influences:

1. TV viewing is being redefined

Traditionally, broadcast TV channels were our first and natural choice for news, entertainment and live events. Now, broadcasters have already largely lost the first two functions. We use the internet and social media for news updates and new OTT channels, such as Netflix, to watch our favourite series and films.

While the volume and time spent consuming content has risen, the hours we spend watching linear TV programming has dropped steeply. We still watch TV, but it’s no longer a one-size-fits-all medium. We tend to only use our big screen for sociable viewing of sports or live shows with friends and family.

In this new world, viewers don’t have to tolerate intrusive advertising. It’s estimated that we fast forward through 80% of advertising on non-linear TV (that’s programmes watched online or on-demand). Even the third function of broadcasters– the social watching of live events – is under pressure as challengers, such as Amazon and Facebook, bid for that content.

2. The routes to market are much more fragmented

There’s no monopoly on content production any more. You might question the quality of some of the content, but the fact is anyone can be a content creator. Interested in Indian cooking? There’re bloggers and Instagrammers with recipes and videos. Need to learn about DIY? A quick search will reveal YouTubers with video tutorials. Fancy a weekend in Lisbon? You’ll find a host of recommendations amongst the travel social media influencers.

This democratization of content is combined with a multi-platform eco-system. Consumers find information and inspiration from a huge variety of sources. Answering the question “how will I reach my audience and get my message across?” used to be fairly simple. Not anymore.

The effect of this disruption on the marketing industry will be massive. Multiple broadcasters are already reporting advertising revenue falls of over 20%. But the impact will be felt across the whole marketing, advertising and media sectors.

What should marketers do?

Classical advertising does not work anymore. Creative and media agencies need to shift their focus from push marketing to pull marketing and adapt to a more fragmented market. The ones who offer the best content in the most optimal way for the consumer across all platforms will take the market. Brands will need help with generating and distributing content at scale and accurately measuring ROI.

Corporate marketing departments will need to re-structure their teams and budgets, and be much more nimble. Two-year product launch timelines with reports, board meetings and workshops is the stuff of fantasy. New challengers to the market see six months as a lifetime.

Marketers need to start changing their strategy now. Take small steps: test and measure ROI across different channels and adapt as you go. It’s a continuous process but you can’t afford to wait and do nothing. The forces that threaten the whole marketing ecosystem are also what make it so interesting for those that seize the opportunities. If you want to find out more about how can help you rise to the challenges, get in touch today.

This is the first in a series of blogs about disruption in the marketing and advertising industry. In future blogs, the team will examine in more detail how these disruptive forces will affect content creators, brands, retailers, publishers and multi-screen content distributors.

Michel De Wachter is co-founder of, a content marketing SaaS platform that allows users to make any content (pictures and videos) interactive, enriched and shoppable. By processing it once, it becomes interactive across all platforms: your own websites, social media channels, third party websites, interactive video player platforms and even physical assets, such as paper magazines and boarding. The dashboard benchmarks performance of every unit of content on all platforms based on views, clicks and baskets. User profiling is available on request.

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