February 2015 – the month that media fell in love with digital advertising

Strategy Analytics

Dove ad campaign ()

Last week Strategy Analytics predicted that digital ad-spend would account for 50 per cent of the total UK advertising industry in 2015, while spend across Western Europe would reach €100bn for the first time in history. Strategy Analytics spokesman, Michael Goodman, called it a “seminal moment in the history of the ad industry”.


Gian Fulgoni, comScore ()

But prior to that, an even more telling announcement had already begun to move dollars on Wall Street. My old company, comScore (chairman Gian Fulgoni, pictured above) agreed to sell a “significant amount” of equity to WPP, believed to be in the region of anything up to a 20 per cent stake and a US$250m investment. Subject to regulatory approvals. 


Kantar Media logo ()

This is significant because it has long been predicted that there will be an arms race in the online analytics market, with huge online conglomerates lining up to acquire more and more measurement technologies. To see Sir Martin Sorrell ride in roughshod with the backing of his Whacky Races team, undoubtedly strikes a blow for the traditional media and advertising industries. 

Magazine media

Mag spread ()

When I wrote The Magazine Media Handbook for the UK’s Professional Publishers Association in 2007, we were berated for overstating the importance of digital revenue streams within the magazine media matrix. Fast forward eight years and we find ourselves in a month when Eric Salama, chief executive of Kantar and part of the WPP Group, is announcing a commitment to “putting digital at the heart of all we do”. 

Crowning moment

Digital king of media ()

That represents a crowning achievement in the ascent of digital, in the same month that it breaks the €100bn mark in Western Europe and is backed to take 50 per cent of the pie in the UK. 

Painting the picture

Media landscape ()

As a media analyst you’re constantly looking for canaries in cages, pine cones in weather stations, and allegorical narrative. Raw data simply won’t do. One month’s Vice is another month’s BuzzFeed. But when we look back at the evolution of digital and it’s ascent into the mainstream, the emergence of these two stories in unison might just provide a notable brush stroke in our painting of media history: February 2015: the month that media fell in love with digital advertising.

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