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  1. 1

    Patrick Carmody

    Justin you need to ask the question – where are the eyeballs going? They have shifted to digital so the spend will naturally follow – be it to a news app on your phone, facebook, email, youtube, pinterest, instagram, bbm, the mobile web, whatsapp, mixit, twitter or your favourite rugby blog. The spend naturally moves towards the eyeballs and will continue to do so as more and more devices and ‘things’ become internet ready. Your frame of reference is also very narrow and mainly focuses on display ads which offer notoriously poor CTR’s (albeit 100% better than print). Your case is also ad and media centric, instead of being brand-centric. Brands are starting to do great things online, outside of paid media, so I am not sure what your point is here. If it is to cling to the old media model that the big agency groups know so well, then it smacks of sony, emi and bmg clinging to cd’s in the early 2000’s . The shift is revolutionary and exponential and the tsunamis will keep coming.

  2. 2


    Arguing that Search doesn’t count because it’s not like Display, is a bit like saying TV spots shouldn’t count because they’re not like a print ad. Each medium has advertising that is native to that medium, and search is native to digital. Just because it counts thousands of small businesses who cannot afford to buy TV commercials but can afford to advertise on digital is no reason to exclude it.
    I’ll buy the argument on classifieds, but as long as newspapers keep including it in their ad revenue numbers what’s the difference.

    My biggest problem with your argument, however, is that your perspective on media is very narrow and limited to Paid ads. Going back to your KFC example, you would also need to include all the money spent by KFC on producing and managing their own website, youTube channel, Pinterest board etc and other Owned digital media. The figures you quote don’t include them – just as the traditional ad figures don’t include the amounts spent on styrofoam cups, packaging and the like. Since digital as a medium offers so much more opportunity for brands to be publishers themselves, this is really biased against digital. In many cases brands don’t have to spend as much on ads, because they are destinations themselves – think RedBull.

  3. 3

    Justin McCarthy

    1. I didn’t argue it doesn’t count – I argued that brands should be distinguished from me selling my MTB – just like classifieds.
    2. My “perspective on media” is not limited to paid advertising. I’m talking about advertising revenues and the advertising business, not the content business (of which paid media is still the vastly dominant player).
    3. Yeah right – KFC’s spend on owned media amounts to a nanofraction of their spend on physical branding.
    4. My argument is not “biased against digital” – it calls into question the degree to which digital is overhyped.
    Understand these not so subtle differences and you have a chance at understanding my point. I’m not an either-or advocate – I’m an advocate of balance and realism. Some people have a real problem with that unwelcome reality check.

  4. 4

    Justin McCarthy

    1. Patrick you need to read my argument again. The eyeballs are all over the place, including countless fragments of digital. Mass media is still delivering mass audiences. Fact.
    2. I focus on display because I’m talking advertising REVENUE. You clearly missed that clear distinction.
    3. Don’t get me started on CTR’s – unquestionably the biggest flop in media sales since the hot air balloon. It’s embarrassing just to mention the horror.
    4. Accusing me of “clinging to the old media model” is akin to me accusing you of being bald – when in fact I have no clue as to the status of your cerebral pate. The piece is about the advertising REVENUE models – not about branded content etc etc.
    5. For the record, I am a major proponent of most digital channels and a huge proponent of branded content (our agency is a long-time forerunner of this). Back to my point – if you want to reach large audiences, which every large brand must do, then mass media is still the most cost effective way by a factor of many. And will remain so for a long time.
    6. Lastly – go into a hundred middle class SA homes and report back to me on where the eyeballs are at. Please. I’d love to hear what you observe. Welcome to the 21st century emerging markets.

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