Future of Media: Christmas budgets, in-housing insights and actual hope?

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.

John McCarthy here bringing you the milestone event of the week, the Future of Media newsletter. I’m sure you’ve all had a peaceful, restful few days and that I have your full attention for what is to come…

Slashed Christmas

Last week we explored how lockdown two is affecting agency operations around the UK. Now, I’ve questioned some of the top media buyers about how we can expect advertisers’ budgets to shift as a result of the new restrictions.

As we now know, forcing millions of people to stay at home hugely alters the consumption of media and the commerce it drives. The question this time is whether clients have learned from the first wave and reshaped their businesses enough so they can still operate and advertise during lockdowns (which we all knew were in the post).

Tom Laranjo, managing director at Total Media, said the latest lockdown will “dampen an already depressed market”. It is certainly unfortunate timing. As James Bailey, interim chief executive of iProspect South told me, spend was returning “fairly dramatically” in the last quarter as 2020 and Christmas budgets were finally useable.

So, who will be the winners? Those with “strong digital experience backed up by excellent logistical platforms” like ASOS, Next, The Hut Group, Ocado and Amazon.

Read the analysis here.

The definitive guide to in-housing

We’ve explored how to do in-housing correctly. Ironically, it was written by someone locked in a house. The financial pressures driven by Covid-19 have inspired all sorts of cost reductions. While some favour outsourcing all sorts of tasks, longer-term thinkers are looking to build out their owned capabilities – by some estimates there are 50,000 marketers out of jobs right now ripe for recruitment.

But no man is an island, and to in-house any capabilities, you’ll need help. If you’re a brand considering bringing a function under your roof, or an agency ruing the very thought, this piece from Rebecca Stewart will guide you through the trends.

Read it here.

Actual hope from Channel 4

“We will emerge from this crisis stronger than ever,” said Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon last week on releasing its understandably delayed 2019 performance report.

The UK public-service broadcaster faced deep cuts, a production backlog and furloughed 10% of its staff, but looks set for a full recovery in the coming year. It said furloughed staff were all back to work as of last week (although you’ll wonder whether lockdown two has changed that again). It will repay the government around £1.5m in furlough funding. Mahon said it was too hasty in using the scheme.

Most interestingly, the performance of the ad market will directly influence how much production budget is dragged out of the abyss and allocated once more. Click ads – it gets things made.

Read it here.

Bad Influence

85% of FMCG companies reported that their brand has been negatively impacted through association with an influencer, yet despite that, they’ve increased spend generally.

Echoing the sentiment of George Michael’s Last Christmas – ‘Once bitten, twice shy, I keep my distance, but you still catch my eye’ – 24% of respondents said they’ve been stung by influencers more than once.

The report from Duff & Phelps-owned Kroll surveyed 917 FMCG marketing and brand managers and pointed out that 45% of respondents use between 51 and 100 influencers on the books – so one bad apple doesn’t spoil the batch. Does it?

Read it here.

Earnings and insights

Time to talk platforms. Facebook, Amazon, Google and Spotify all had results to share:

Other stuff

Despite fixating on the US election for a week, I’ve dug out some stories of interest for you from around the web.

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

Got a tip, a correction, a complaint, want a chat? I’m at john.mccarthy@thedrum.com or @johngeemccarthy on Twitter.

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