The Web's The Thing at IRTS Breakfast Panel

The Webs the Thing at IRTS Panel

Very early this morning in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria in New York, I attended a crowded breakfast panel hosted by the International Radio and Television Society. Over a hum of chatter and heaping platefuls of croissants and muffins, I listened to an impressive panel discuss “Today’s Media Marketplace.”The panel included William Cella (Chairman and CE) of MAGNA Global Worldwide), Kathy Crawford (President of Local Broadcast, Mindshare), Steve Grubbs (CEO of PHD USA), John S. Muszynski (CEO, Starcom USA) and Anita Bajaj Newton (VP, Marketing, Sprint). The panel was successfully moderated by Tom Wolzien, President of Wolzien LLC.

As Wolzien was quick to point out, just a few years ago the same breakfast panel was all about cable networks—and very little of the talk was about what is going on in new media. At one point, he even asked the panel, “Are cable networks old media?”But what a difference a few years—and the introduction of a few new digital platforms– makes. The entire panel centered around online marketing and advertising: Does it work? How much should you commit? Is the Upfront dead? How to better cater to clients in the digital age?How much advertising are people willing to tolerate on different size screens? (The answer to that one, by the way, is nine seconds on a cell phone, 13 seconds on an I-Pod, 18 seconds on a computer, and a whooping 42 seconds on radio or television.)

While most panelists concluded that online marketing and advertising is here to stay, they also warned that we are still evaluating and testing how well it works—and how much money clients should be investing at this point (general consensus was between five and ten percent) although Anita Bajaj Newton, who struck me as the most forward thinking and plugged in of the bunch, was positively enthusiastic about the changes taking place—and the rewards forward thinking companies could reap.

By Caroline Palmer