DigitalReport030507

What's the Biggest Trend or Challenge in Digital Media?

For These Execs It's All About Video -- How to Make It, Monetize It, Distribute It

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In case there was still any doubt, digital is emerging "as the hub of marketing," and it's changing the ad world at a rapid pace. Advertising Age's Emily Tan asked some of digital's top movers to identify the biggest trends and challenges that lie ahead. Here are excerpts from their e-mail responses.

David Verklin
David Verklin
David Verklin, CEO, Carat Americas
"The biggest [marketing] challenge for digital media in the next 12 months will be online and offline collaboration and coordination. Effective online programs require support from offline media. Virtually all creative offline programs now require a highly inventive online component. The online and offline worlds are now intertwined."

Curt Hecht
Curt Hecht
Curt Hecht, exec VP-chief digital officer, GM Planworks
"We will see more uses of video to support advertising than just pre-roll. While 90% of the online market is pre-roll-based, marketers are beginning to experiment with different uses of video storytelling and information. GM has built out their own video showroom with the largest cable operators ... to make their product compelling in a high-consideration category. They've also distributed to destinations like YouTube, Google Video and Edmunds to allow the auto shopper to have that experience wherever they want. No pre-roll, great levels of consumer engagement."

Mike Vorhaus
Mike Vorhaus Credit: Stephanie Diani
Mike Vorhaus, senior VP-managing director, new media and strategy, Frank N. Magid Associates
"The most important new trend in marketing today is the easy advent of tools for making video, combining material, editing, posting and distributing consumer-based content across the web -- often for a marketing or publicity purpose or impact.

"The most important change ... is the rise of video across many platforms, particularly online. Online video is already consumed by more than 40% of Americans 12-64 at least once a week. This is going to grow, and within a few years it will be very easy to send IP content from your PC to your TV. The internet, TV monitor and the home wireless network (32% of internet homes) are all changing the face of home entertainment, media and leisure time."

Matt Freeman
Matt Freeman
Matt Freeman, CEO, Tribal DDB Worldwide
"The most important challenge in digital media for 2007 is that the industry is diversifying faster than it is growing. The exploding diversity of digital media channels, platforms, properties, behaviors and requirements -- expounded by the geographical expansion and idiosyncrasies -- has widened the gap between what marketers can afford to embrace and what consumers are consuming.

"With finite budgets and infinite media choices, the challenge for marketers is to become attractive rather than merely present, to not just buy media but to also earn it."

Shane Steele
Shane Steele
Shane Steele, director-emerging media and online advertising, Coca-Cola Co.
"One key challenge for marketers is to determine how to evaluate and choose from the ever-expanding new-media and advertising options. While there is simply not enough time and resources to take advantage of every opportunity, it's imperative that marketers evolve with the changing media landscape.

"The ideal is to identify and test new platforms that offer a first-mover advantage, that are measurable and that can be scaled effectively to deliver a significant return on investment. From a process perspective, this requires risk tolerance, rigor and speed, which can be significant challenges for organizations to overcome."

Geoff Ramsey
Geoff Ramsey
Geoff Ramsey, CEO, eMarketer
"If there is one sweeping trend that provides a monumental opportunity -- and challenge -- for digital marketers this year, it's the harnessing of online video as an advertising and marketing platform.

"Despite the media frenzy surrounding online video, its use as an advertising vehicle is still limited by several barriers. (EMarketer estimates advertisers will spend only $775 million this year for online video ads out of a total online advertising pie of more than $19 billion.)

"The overarching constraint is the lack of business model or universally approved standards. While television has had a long history of being supported by ad dollars, with consumers willing to put up with 15 minutes of commercials for every hour of programming content they enjoy, online video is still finding its way in terms of commercial monetization.

"There are real questions about what consumers will tolerate in the online video space. Marketers will need to be bold in their experimentation with different online video advertising formats, including pre-roll, mid-roll, end-roll, sponsorships, paid search, e-mail and countless other options not yet even conceived.

"The video revolution is here, but it's still [in its] very early days."

Laura Lang
Laura Lang
Laura Lang, president, Digitas
"The old-media production and distribution hierarchies are crumbling. Everything is in flux, and nothing is a given anymore -- except for the fact that customers are in control. Brands can and must start earning the attention of these customers through the creation of compelling and valuable digital content."

Nick Law
Nick Law
Nick Law, chief creative officer, R/GA
"The emergence of digital as the hub of marketing. More and more agencies with a robust digital discipline at their center will be asked to steer clients' brands."