ad:tech Paris: Evolving Media with the BBC
Yesterday EVP/GM-Global Ad Sales Chris Dobson of the BBC conducted a keynote on what it takes to succeed in the rapidly-changing media landscape.
The BBC, of course, was his primary example; though whether you believe it's one of the most forward-moving brands in the stratosphere is subjective. (Frankly, I'll buy it when the iPlayer is finally Mac-ready.)
Here Dobson ties brand adaptation to Darwinism (always a fun comparison!):
As media evolves, content will increasingly scale toward high reach and personal communication. That is to say, great stuff will get to more people, but everyone will experience said great stuff in the manner most appropriate to them.
That romantic mental picture you have of the whole family eating pot pies in front of the tube? That's dead. Because maybe Skippy'd rather watch the game from his iPhone, and Dad sure as hell isn't switching off Bloomberg.
Have your content how you like it. That's the thing about knowledge: it wants to move, to be fluid, to spread.
Amid so much flux, here's one constant you can count on:
Big takeaway: the media landscape is both expanding and shrinking. There are more options for consuming content than ever before, but at the same time all those options have to be unified -- the better for advertisers that want to make smoother ad buys, and for a more consistent brand-to-user experience. Dobson repeatedly positioned the BBC's iPlayer as a frontier-breaker in this regard.
Another interesting thing worth noting: Dobson is adamant that advertising continue to help fuel content dissemination. But a brand, particularly a news brand, needs to be ever conscious of how intimately to wed advertising into its fold.
Asked how the BBC addresses concerns that advertising may sully the quality of its content, Dobson said the company takes a "separation of church and state" approach -- with content as the church. Advertising regulations for the BBC are extremely stringent, and in the end there's no real pressure to sell remnant ad space.
"If a position [on the site] isn't sold, it's replaced by more editorial," he said simply.
Bottom line for brands concerned about losing the crowd? "If you get quality right, you start to drive a lot of catch-up behaviour."