Reunification isn’t going to happen so get over it: Why media is already planning for a future that’s here already. and why that’s awesome.

last week Adnews posted the above video from earlier this year in which the CEO of Cummins & Partners Sean Cummins lambasted the egos of agencies as the only thing stopping the grand reunification of media and advertising agencies under one roof. Cummins was rebuffed by both Henry Tajer “There is no going back, there is no return, there is nothing but forward” and Rob Morgan “With all the money media agencies need to spend on planning and buying, no ad agency has the cash or the clients to justify doing the same”.

the return to full-service debate is not only unfounded (there is no going back, silly) but misses the broader point that both Tajer and Morgan make (whilst still managing to disagree) … that, if anything, we’re set to see further diversification rather than consolidation of media agency offerings.

to get an idea of just how far media has moved on – take a look at this little puppy, and make a mental note of when you need to start really concentrating to track exactly what is going on.

OK so anyone with a bit of media know-how can stay on the tracks, but remember this is the Sesame Street version of what’s happening. this is programmatic buying for dummies, simplified so that even a strategist can understand it. just about. programmatic now exists at one extreme end of the spectrum across which media agencies operate – and I don’t think its what Cummins has in mind when he’s making his bid for reunification.

this spectrum across which agencies operate is reflected, I increasingly believe, in a bifurcation that now exists in how people consumer media. conventional wisdom is that media consumption is now a fragmented, disparate and diverse set of behaviours and attitudes that necessitates the need for a host of segmentation and profiling to understand the media footprint for a specific target group.

but I’m increasingly wondering if it isn’t a whole lot more simple … that people sit at one or other end of a spectrum of media consumption – and therefore planning. or, as the rather awesome William Gibson put it: “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed”. the future is here, and it’s distributed exclusively at the programmatic end of the media spectrum.

… the end of the spectrum at which people have now moved so post-broadcast that the very idea of appointment to view is something they associate with house rather than TV viewing. these are the platform-agnostics. the content-demanders. the subscription viewers, like the 325k who watched last nights GOT S4 finale (thanks for the heads up MCM). they are the digital natives who have only ever accessed the internet through apps (not browsers). they are the rampant social mediarites and twitterati, an army of instgrammers who get news from buzzfeed and buzz from newsfeeds.

it’s for these people that content, social and a host of other offerings including – yes – programmatic buying capabilities have been developed and deployed by media agencies. capabilities that will see further diversification not reunification into their ad agency houses of old. for these people the future is already here and they and their smart phones and TVs are reveling in it. do they expect more or brands? no. do brands need to radically adjust their comms strategies to market to them? yes … and that adjustment has barely started.

… we’ll get a glimpse of just how far we yet have to go in a little over three hours when PHD’s Mark Holden introduces Jason Silva to the Cannes stage. the session is designed as a complete paradigm reboot of the mind-set through which we see the (media) world. changes that, in Mark and Jason’s words, will open up boundless possibilities.

so let’s put aside our reunification talk. we’re well past that point of return. we all of us – media and ad agencies alike – are on the same trip to those endless possibilities … the perspectives are different but that’s only to be expected: after all, the future is here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.

you can watch Jason’s Cannes presentation live as it happens right here … enjoy the trip.

featured image – Jason Silva and his ‘come to future’ eyes, via flavorwire.com

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