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Future of Media: Big tech enjoys ad spend boom, ITV's metaverse, publishing the Olympics

The Drum's media editor John McCarthy rounds up the latest media trends each Thursday, this is also available in your inbox. Sign up here.

Have you heard? Ad spend is back? As per AA/Warc this morning, we've seen the fastest UK ad spend growth ever recorded (tracking started in 1982). This trend even includes the 2008 recession. Some notes:

  • Digital is now 70p of every £1.

  • Growth will hit 18.2% in 2021 (up from 15.2% forecast in April).

  • By 2022, £30bn will be spent on ads.

  • TV will increase 15.1% in 2021 (almost doubling its 8.8% forecast).

More here.

For those of you rightly skeptical of a single report, recently IPA Bellwether announced an end to five consecutive quarters of budget cuts. It's happening, the money's flowing... but is it going to the right places?

Where is it going?

You're unlikely to have missed that Alphabet, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Snap and Twitter's earnings.

Alphabet smashing analyst expectations after increasing 69% from the same pandemic-depressed quarter last year to hit $50.44bn. YouTube advertising alone brought in $7bn. Google only bought the video platform for a mere $1.6bn remember.

At Microsoft, search advertising grew by 53% – a healthy indication it's not to be ignored.

And Apple, with its disruptive IDFA razoring digital media norms, has ad ambitions, laid out here by Casey Saran, chief executive of Spaceback.

Meanwhile, Snap posted its biggest-ever quarter. We spoke to CMO Kenny Mitchell.

Snap is building something really worth checking out and has made great strides. But that comes with the smallest pinch of salt. Snap's record $982m revenue for Q2 pales in comparison to Facebook’s Q2 ($29.08bn). Snap's record quarter could comfortably fit into Facebook's growth for the last year – it's pocket change. But it is funny how quickly pocket change adds up. Snap's now at the stage where it's making these comparisons and is seeing the greater plan come to fruition.

Storytelling and innovation

Storytelling is a word that media companies love to use, it's like catnip for advertisers. This week, Chris Sutcliffe looked at the cool ways that news publishers are using the Olympics as a proving ground to new tech to engage audiences. They've had to, of course, with staff restricted to the UK. Discovery and The Guardian shared their tips of the trade here.

Meanwhile, ITV has invested in metaverse and gaming companies. We explored just how these pushes can help assure ITV's future. Dan Colton, group strategy and transformation director, ITV said something that stuck with me: "You can't move the audience."

We've seen Channel 4 invest in Snap shows and branded content on social media and Netflix has pushed into gaming. In this last year, we've learned that you can either lose your audience or steal someone else's.

Meet the Media Minds

Craig Tuck, chief revenue officer of Ozone Project, was in the hot seat for Meet the Media Minds where we interrogate the cleverest people in the industry until they say something, well, clever.

Reflecting nicely on all the money flowing into social media this quarter especially, Tuck (who we must remember is repping a network of premium news publishers) says: "I would liken the current situation to being on the motorway and spending all your money on the service station experience as opposed to the boutique beach-side hotel in Cornwall. This destination is where quality time is created and I like to think of our sites as the place where quality engagement is created for our customers – and that's where they should invest."

More here.

Other Stuff

That's you all caught up. If you missed the last installment, read it here. You can subscribe to our other briefings here. And if you want to talk to me, I'm on Twitter, Linkedin and email.

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