Thinking Our Way Into A Depression

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There are dozens of media trade publications and hundreds (thousands?) of blogs writing about the media business.  For the past six months, nearly all of them have adopted this “world is coming to an end” mentality that seems to leave little choice for anyone selling online media but to drink heavily and abandon all hope of making your numbers.

I like that.  You know why?  Because the truth is that there is as much money out there right now as there was yesterday and there will be more tomorrow.  If your business is wallowing in the “oh, the market sucks and I can’t make my numbers” mentality, then I’m happy.  While you’re pleading with your money guy to relieve you of the burden of a revenue commitment, my clients and I are out picking up the cash.

You think I’m making this up?  Two quick quotes:

The media agency projects 5 percent online ad growth in ’09, way down from GroupM’s expectation for 16 percent gains this year. … Back in August, , GroupM had forecast U.S. online ad spend to rise 14.7 percent this year. GroupM’s downward revision follows eMarketers’ downgraded forecast for online ads in ’09 last month, saying it now believes spending will grow only 8.9 percent, compared to the 14.5 percent increase it saw in August.

Magna Global’s Bob Coen has downgraded his forecast for U.S. online ad spend to 8 percent growth from his earlier call this summer’s for web ad dollars to rise 12 percent. At this point, it looks like 2009 growth in online will slow significantly, rising only 5 percent, he said.

Hmm.  Growing ONLY 5%.  See, in the media business, and particularly in the new media business, what would be nice growth in any other business is a recession.  Flat is a depression.  Please note that I am NOT talking about those sectors of the media business such as newspapers whose business models are in the process of dying.  That’s a different and very challenging situation.  But it is true in digital media.  I went through this with a company we had repping our digital sales 8 years ago when the last big slowing occurred.  This bunch of rocket scientists talked themselves into believing that the 7% growth that year meant that digital was dead.  6 months later, digital wasn’t dead – they were.

So let’s repeat.  There is more money being spent in digital advertising today than yesterday.  There will be even more spent tomorrow.  Yes, the growth is slower than it was and slower than the migration of audiences which should be commanding the investment.  But the money is there.  What are you doing to go get it?

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Filed under Consulting, digital media, Helpful Hints, What's Going On

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