Why Carol Cummings sees ads in Netflix’s future

The long-time director of broadcast solutions at IPG’s Media Experts makes her wish on the annual Industry Wish List.

Carol SmallThe Industry Wish List is back. MiC is looking back at the issues and trends of 2018 with some of the brightest minds in the business, discussing how the industry has changed in the last 365 days, what challenges lie ahead and how brands are adjusting.

After over two decades with Media Experts, long-time director of broadcast solutions Carol Cummings announced her “semi-retirement.” But that hasn’t stopped her from remaining a media expert herself.

Cummings shares her thoughts on the rapidly changing industry and why she’s glad she’s taking her exit sooner rather than later.

This interview has been condensed for clarity and length.

What do you feel the TV industry needs to do to compete with streaming?

Netflix is taking such a bite out of our whole ratings system, particularly unconventional ratings. Down the road, I would love to see all the screens purchased simultaneously and perhaps through one vendor so that, if we’re buying a TV campaign, it’s TV, it’s online, it’s tablet and it’s on your phone with an accurate audience measurement across all platforms.

I know that they’re working towards that goal but it would be nice if it was sooner rather than later.

Are the issues you’re seeing in the industry a content problem, a delivery problem, or both?

It’s just fragmentation. People have so many choices now that our traditional media is really suffering. Consequently, the vendors are having to charge more because there are fewer ratings in the marketplace – it’s not looking good. I’m kind of glad I’m at the end of my career. I got one foot out the door already.

You’ve seen a lot of TV investment – do you feel the current downward trend in TV spending is scary? Or is it no big deal in the long run?

It is a scary thing because it’s getting more and more expensive and you’re getting less and less for your money. More and more clients are just saying, “We can’t afford it anymore,” and they’re opting out.

In the long term, I’m kind of hoping that Netflix will come around and we’ll have access to their inventory. That would certainly help solve the problem.

Is that something you see happening?

I do because their subscription level – which is where they make their money – is plateauing, so in order to keep up the level of production that we’ve seen, they have to find another source of revenue. In the future, they’re going to have to open it up to advertising.

If the media industry could make one new year’s resolution going into 2019, what would you hope for?

We spend so much of our time doing posts, I would love to have stations send us automatic biweekly posts so that, A, we can optimize our campaigns as they’re happening, and B, we can negotiate compensation as we go rather than doing it after the fact.

Say I gave a show a “five” rating and it only did a “two”, right now, once a campaign has run, I’ve got to report that to the client and then go back to the station to get compensation. But by the time the posts are received from the station the campaign’s over, then you’ve got to wait until the next campaign to have your compensation run.

Some stations won’t even give you compensation anymore, so that’s a huge problem. If we could get the stations on board to send us posts as we go, it would be wonderful.