PwC Global Outlook launch looks at the future of innovation

A deeper dive into Canadian numbers and thoughts on modern media companies with PwC global entertainment and media head Marcel Fenez.

PricewaterhouseCoopers hosted a launch for their 2014-2018 Global Entertainment and Media Outlook in Toronto earlier this week, showing those in Canada’s media industry what they should be doing to hold on to a connected audience, and why.

The launch featured an overview of the report’s findings, trends and projections for the future, as well as a panel discussion featuring marketers and brand professionals from advertising, entertainment media and retail on how their companies are dealing with the trends PwC pointed out.

The major takeaway from the report is that Canada’s digital landscape is one of the most robust in the world, and the money is migrating online from traditional media platforms.

“In Canada, we are seeing the tipping point,” Lisa Coulman, partner, assurance, national entertainment and media practice at PwC said during the presentation. “Canada is faster than you would expect, over countries that you would expect to tip faster.”

Last week, MiC reported that the numbers in the report showed that spending on internet advertising had outpaced spending on television advertising for the first time. It’s something Coulman echoed.

“It’s true,” she told MiC following her presentation. “I had to run and triple check that once I saw it, but yes, it’s there.”

That trend is going to continue, with Coulman noting the room for even greater internet and mobile growth driven by improved services that Canadians are willing to pay for. By 2018, PwC projects that internet advertising will represent the majority of advertising spending across all platforms in Canada.

Canada’s digital strength comes at the expense of some of our traditional media, as print advertising and TV subscriptions are already seeing the beginning of a projected downward trend.

“We are starting to see some erosion from a cord-cutting perspective in Canada, whereas in the United States, they would say the traditional TV model is here to stay,” Coulman said. “That’s why, in the United States, the tipping point will not occur within the next five years. In Canada, it’s a different story.”

Coulman’s presentation highlighted some of the report’s suggestions for what media companies need to do in order to embrace the trends for the future. A key point was that the idea of digital innovation is outdated. Media is past the point where digital can be considered an innovation; it must be integrated into every aspect and day-to-day tasks of any company, and must be used in a way that is focused on the needs, habits and interests of individual media consumers.

“We’re past that. We’re now into consumer relationship innovation. How do you innovate while developing that ultimate, utopia world?” Coulman said. “Digital has to become part of everyday conversation, and you should build strategies to measure impact on your consumer.”

That idea was reflected in the panel’s discussion about data. Across all industries, brands are looking for ways to use the data they observe to best target their content to it’s ideal user in a programmatic way. Advertisers in Canada seem to be slow to embrace that.

“We’re still seeing, by 2018, digital advertising will still be banner and search focused,” Coulman said. “It’s going to move from a print and TV static environment to a digital, un-targeted environment. You’re still going after your demographics and big pools of consumers that you’re spending your advertising on, versus targeted.”

Simply having both physical and digital platforms should not be the goal. The goal should be using them both effectively, and as a unified whole.

“I don’t think it’s about digital, it’s just about business,” said Frederick Lecoq, vice president of marketing and e-commerce at FGL Sports Ltd., which operates the Sport Chek and Atmosphere brands, amoung others. “The fact that digital is ubiquitous now is setting the foundation for trying to avoid the digital ghettos that can be created in an organization.”

“The consumer doesn’t know these silos,” added Lama. “They don’t bounce around your entire experience and drop nuggets of data into each one. They just do their thing. Brands and organizations are really trying to play catch-up as they break down those silos. Once you capture all those pieces, you can build what the entire experience needs to be.”

Marcel Fenez, global entertainment and media leader for PwC was in Cannes talking about the report and echoed findings from the Canadian report, saying globally internet ad spend will overtake TV by 2018, adding that new dollars for the most part are going online.

Check out his thoughts on modern media companies live from the PwC yacht in Cannes below.

Video by Jennifer Horn

For a more detailed look at PwC’s findings and projections, read MiC’s story on the 2014-2018 Global Entertainment and Media Outlook.