In 2023 the media industry was marked by the rise of generative AI, an increased focus on privacy, sustainability and brand safety, and economic challenges. These changes also led to gains in innovation, advocacy and industry collaboration.
As we anticipate the new year, we asked leaders from media and marketing industry associations to share their thoughts about the past year, how global challenges will continue to impact businesses and what the industry should look forward to in 2024.
Here is who we interviewed:
- Sonia Carreno, President, Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB Canada)
- Julie Ford, Executive Director, Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada (DAAC)
- Jason Kint, CEO, Digital Content Next (DCN)
- Derek Lackey, Managing Director, Response Marketing Association (RMA)
- Shannon Lewis, President, Canadian Media Directors' Council (CMDC)
- Bertrand Mossiat, Outreach and Development Manager, Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI)
- Simon Redlich, President, International Federation of Audit Bureaux of Certification and Chief Executive, ABC UK
- Dean Ridings, CEO, America’s Newspapers
- Jay Small, COO, Local Media Association (LMA)
- Fran Wills, CEO, Local Media Consortium (LMC)
In the second article of this two-part series, we asked industry organizations about what the media industry should look forward to, anticipated challenges, and what word should guide businesses in 2024. You can also read part one.
What should the industry look forward to next year?
Jason Kint, DCN: I expect 2024 to be the year in which the industry gets back to basics. The Association of National Advertisers just released a brilliant report of recommendations to all media buyers, which emphasizes knowing your customer, proactively using inclusion lists rather than exclusion lists, reducing the sites your brands run on and avoiding made-for-advertising (MFA) sites.
Derek Lackey, RMA: The industry is emerging from the digital fog it has lived in for the past 25 years. We forgot that marketing's job is to represent the consumer and started abusing personal information for our profits. I believe in 2024 we’ll see some marketers return to the basics and start treating their consumers with respect.
Shannon Lewis, CMDC: Stepping into 2024, it is evident that responsible media is vital. In the current economic climate, leaders have a unique opportunity to make a substantial impact on the health of the Canadian media business. We must acknowledge the profound influence of the advertising sector on society, from ensuring access to reliable news for citizens to combating misinformation and hate speech, safeguarding personal data, and preserving the integrity of the media and creative industry with the rise of AI.
Jay Small, LMA: Next year is perhaps the most profoundly important election year in decades, in an environment of low trust for institutional news media, general political polarization and uncertainties about the future of democracy. Journalists at all levels will need to rise to the challenge of understanding the issues and covering them effectively for broad constituencies.
Bertrand Mossiat, JTI: 2024 will be packed with general elections worldwide. The Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) certification offers a way for news publishers to stand out as the most professional, transparent and credible sources, particularly during elections when the pressure on media is at an all-time high. This year Microsoft announced that it will boost online discoverability of news sources that are JTI-certified. 2024 will see more announcements from an ever-growing community that supports this mechanism.
Dean Ridings, America’s Newspapers: Ownership models will continue to evolve in the coming year. While some owners may decide it’s time to make an exit, others will consider expansion into adjoining markets with opportunity. Overall audience growth will continue and there will be a focus on consumer and new advertising revenue that leverage local relationships.
Fran Wills, LMC: Since first-party data is king, publishers’ audiences will only increase in value next year. Advertisers are prioritizing first-party, consented audiences, which means publishers can garner higher CPMs for their ad inventory. Expansion across multiple high-demand platforms like OTT/CTV, video and newsletters also presents a way for publishers to acquire, engage and monetize new audiences.
What challenges will impact businesses in 2024?
Sonia Carreno, IAB Canada: Mounting pressure to comply with domestic and international regulatory requirements will be felt as enforcement takes hold on several laws. Businesses will have to juggle compliance as intense data workflow overhauls are taking place to prepare for new realities in ad tech and the disappearance of the third-party cookie.
Julie Ford, DAAC: Despite the significant financial challenges many businesses expect to face next year, the importance of adapting to technological shifts and evolving legislation remains unchanged. The industry must collaborate and steer through these challenges, propelling the media and marketing landscape into its next transformative chapter.
Simon Redlich, IFABC: COP28 is taking place as I write this, and taking care of the environment must be a priority for all of us. Clearly that’s a longer-term commitment beyond 2024, but it’s one we must address — governments, business and individuals alike. Ultimately it will impact all of us; the sooner we accept that, and take positive steps to make a difference, the better.
Dean Ridings, America’s Newspapers: Economic challenges will continue to impact local media operations. Although slowing, the effect of inflation and other economic factors has already taken a toll on many local newspaper markets. Hiring continues to be at the forefront in most markets as hiring and retaining employees continues to be difficult.
Jay Small, LMA: We will see continued tough economics for local advertising, challenges preserving revenue while converting legacy subscription media to digital, higher operating costs and poor marks for trust in media (though local media tend to fare better).
Fran Wills, LMC: The biggest challenge will likely be the upcoming third-party cookie deprecation. This change to ad targeting poses a significant risk to ad revenue, particularly programmatic and audience extension campaigns. Publishers need to prepare for the transition by expanding their first-party data acquisition, testing new targeting capabilities and tracking the impact on revenue.
What’s one word your clients should use to guide their businesses in 2024 and why?
Julie Ford, DAAC: Experiment. While Canada traditionally allocates less money and resources to research and development than other countries, this coming year presents an opportunity to invest in exploring innovative products and services that align with the evolving Canadian consumer.
Jason Kint, DCN: Consumer-first. As one DCN executive mentioned recently in an interview, a subscription business is one of the most honest businesses as each day you just try to serve the consumer and in exchange, they pay you for it. Those consumers are also incredibly valuable to advertisers and commerce channels, but success starts with delighting the consumer by fulfilling their trust in your brand.
Derek Lackey, RMA: I do not have one word, but I do have one phrase: tickle 'em pink. If everything you do as a marketer does not tickle your audience pink, then seriously consider whether you should do it. We must start respecting our customers and prospects and earn their trust and business by being decent people ourselves.
Bertrand Mossiat, JTI: Steadiness. We work with news organizations in Ukraine, in the Near East, in Africa, in exile from authoritarian regimes. Whatever the country or context, they steadily uphold the best journalism standards and professional practices.
Simon Redlich, IFABC: Value. When people value what we do there will be a market for it. And value (for money) is a relative term. The price can be high or low but either way the value is key.
Jay Small, LMA: Sustainability. Local media leaders should focus on preserving businesses that can provide enough high-quality journalism to inform and educate the communities they serve. That focus will require discipline, resistance to “bright, shiny objects” and a commitment to public service balanced with the need to make ends meet.
Fran Wills, LMC: Courage. Courage to confront challenges and navigate the rapid pace of change. Courage to take risks and try new things. Courage to remain confident and find a way to succeed.
This is the second of two articles featuring leaders from ten industry associations and their predictions for 2024. If you missed the first article, you can read it here.