Future of Media: American billboards, BAME ads, SVOD's next step


By John McCarthy | Media editor

August 20, 2020 | 7 min read

This is an extract from The Drum's Future of Media briefing. You can subscribe to it here if you'd like it your inbox once a week.

Future of Media: Daily Mail charm offensive, Inside Dugout and TikTok threat

Future of Media: American billboards, BAME ads, SVOD's next step

John McCarthy here. First, I’ve got some good news for fans of a pluralistic, well-funded media.

According to eMarketer, Facebook and Google's combined UK digital ad market share will fall from 67.8% in 2019 to 65.9% in 2020. Finally. Will the spend be redistributed across a waning, cut-ridden media?

Afraid not.

The duopoly will rebound to 69.1% of the market in 2021, despite the supposed culling of third-party cookies, boycotts from top brands, and a US election which, let's be honest, will likely prove problematic for both firms.

SVOD wars

We are firmly in the era of the video streaming wars. We're all aware of, we're all using, and perhaps many of us are dependent on streaming video services at this stage of lockdown. But the recession will soon bite into the consumer wallet. The competition will be hotter than ever according to Alex Vale, head of J3 Northern Europe at UM London.

According to Deloitte, US consumers subscribe to an average of three paid-for platforms. That was 2019, now there's a hell of a lot more platforms – including a huge rally in gaming around the Netflix model.

Vale suspects we’ll see the vast SVOD subscriber growth coming to an end soon, and a greater emphasis on alternative revenue streams like advertising.

If you've noticed the higher-than-usual ad saturation on YouTube, you may have already been worried that all the perks that drove us to SVOD services are eroding away, month by month. Well, maybe we can go back outside soon instead?

Moving in America

Speaking of, Christian Vollerslev, president of out-of-home and location marketing agency Posterscope USA, talked me through the OOH recovery in the US. Let me remind you, the nation took a laissez-faire approach to the lockdown in general.

Last week, OOH bosses told me how they were adapting to the pandemic, but what struck me was the connection between OOH revenue and lockdown intensity.

For bosses like Vollerslev, to get spend back in the door, agencies need to prove that people are on the move again and where.

BAME in advertising

In the UK, TV broadcaster Channel 4 launched the fifth iteration of its Diversity in Advertising Award.

Following the death of George Floyd and the surge of the Black Lives Matter movement, it was perhaps inevitable that this year’s initiative would focus on the authentic representation of BAME people in advertising, with previous years concentrating on sexism, disability, mental health and LGBTQ+ communities.

Channel 4 is enticing brands to improve the representation of diverse groups with an offer of £1m's worth of airtime for the best spot that meets its brief.

4Sales research outlined that BAME groups generally don’t think they are represented on TV. Channel 4’s framing this as a social good as well as a huge opportunity for brands.

Since 2016, the scheme’s sparked some fantastic work; check out previous winners here and learn how to enter.

The Times they are a-changing

The New York Times: Life Needs Truth is the latest marketing work from the top news brand. Droga5 animated a poem penned in real-time, another hit from the agency.

The long-term relationship with Droga5 shows the lengths that the NYT is going to in order to convey the value of its content.

Instead of relying on ad revenue, to fuel its subscription growth, the NYT has become a powerful ad creator. It's perhaps ironic that its ads will litter the homepages of other news brands.

NME growth and South China Morning Post’s (SCMP) subscriptions

With British music title New Musical Express (NME) being owned by Singapore-based Bandlab Technologies, it was only a matter of time before an APAC-flavoured expansion was on the books. Our Shawn Lim explored what this means for the brand.

Additionally, he looked at the South China Morning Post’s (SCMP) decision to return to a subscription model after four years. Prantik Mazumdar, managing partner at Happy Marketer, told The Drum. “If people are willing to subscribe to Netflix, Prime and Spotify for entertainment, and Coursera and Udemy for education, why not pay for quality journalism through subscriptions?”

Well, for one thing, Netflix, Prime and Spotify are fun. They help us escape from the horrible realities of the world. In the war for consumer wallet, funding journalism is weighed in competition with the monkey-brain, endorphin-chasing, binge-watching rush of Netflix.

Well, that’s this week’s round-up. If you missed last week’s, I’ve summarised it here.

If you’ve anything to share – a tip, a correction, a complaint – or if you just want to chat, you can get me at or @johngeemccarthy on Twitter.


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