AWM Media Outlook 2011

AdweekMedia’s Media Outlook for 2011 shows that spending in the coming year will likely hinge on three factors: Media innovation, marketing wars in several sectors and how many cars people buy.

Media technology will advance digital advertising in the form of more sophisticated demand-side platforms and exchanges. Experimentation with new display forms will also appear and perhaps even move the needle toward a greater balance with the search ad business. In print, tablet publishing will continue to hold promise for the challenged magazine industry. The iPad will have fresh competition, which will greatly broaden the overall tablet audience. Publishers have moved to reposition themselves for this sea change and expect spending on tablet advertising will begin in earnest in 2011. In the out-of-home sector, digital billboards, placed-based advances and increasingly sophisticated measurement are expected to grab buyers’ attention in a bigger way.

Also driving spending, especially on the broadcast cable networks with the biggest reach, are marketing wars waged by the insurance, telecom and automotive industries desperate to gain and keep share. If the broadcast networks can retain viewers with improved programming fare, the gains in the upfront and scatter markets will continue into 2011. Cable will likewise see dollars flow its way as providers continue to push for pricing parity with the networks.

Finally, cars will be a key driver for the local broadcast industry. Enjoying a banner year fueled by robust midterm election spending, radio and TV stations are expected to see a falloff in 2011. However, that could change if people continue to buy cars through the end of this year and into the early quarters of 2011 and auto mashes the pedal on local marketing dollars in support of those sales.

The one X-factor looming is a double-dip recession that could strip money out of the market and return conditions to 2009. Fingers crossed that fourth-quarter 2010 will prove those concerns unfounded.