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Elie Khouri discusses the changing relationship between agencies and media

Planning media campaigns used to be purely about finding the best vehicles in which to place ads. When there was data available, it was a quantitative decision but often it was a judgement call made on the basis of a qualitative fit. The decision was based on whether the content or perceived audience was aligned with the brand. And then there was the small matter of pricing and negotiations. Today, with new media habits and a stronger focus on performance and conversions, the relationship between media owners and agencies is rapidly changing.

There’s no denying that advertising is everywhere. It’s so overwhelming that consumers are struggling to take it all in and are filtering out increasing amounts or even avoiding advertising altogether. As a response, brands are turning to content but then again, so does everyone else, creating an explosion of material 24/7. Media owners have lost the monopoly on content production.

So what now? Is this overflowing content diminishing its value? Are media owners doomed and, if so, where are brands’ messages going to live?

In a Gulf News article, our CEO, Elie Khouri, explores this very notion and considers the future of advertising. Initially based on the concept of interrupting the consumption of content produced by media owners, new habits have put the advertising model under significant strain. People can get what they want, when they want it and on the device of their choice. Their friends’ feeds are even more appealing than an editor or programming director’s choices.

So if content is no longer the envelope to carry advertising, what purpose do media owners have and how does this shape the relationship with agencies? Well it’s still about content but not as we know it. Advertising is turning into content experiences, produced in partnership with media owners, and it won’t be a one-size-fits-all anymore.  Data and analytics have transformed the way we target, plan and deliver advertising. They’ve also changed the way we look at content.

Advertising still dominates but brands’ budgets going to other forms of content are growing exponentially. At Omnicom Media Group MENA, we’ve been producing content for more than a decade and the field is becoming very competitive and diverse. Content studios at media companies are a much more recent development and a response to the declines in traditional advertising revenues. The influencer trend is another expression of brands moving from advertising to content as a means to connect with consumers on a more emotional level. Some brands are even creating their own content studios. This collectively elevates brand communication and leads to a different customer experience.

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