Magazine article Marketing

Media Analysis: Local Custom

Magazine article Marketing

Media Analysis: Local Custom

Article excerpt

Media owners are rethinking their pan-regional structures to better address advertiser needs. Jeremy Lee reports.

MTV's announcement last week that it was cutting staff from its pan-regional sales and marketing teams to focus on local markets was the latest in a series of changes in the normally quiet world of pan-regional media owners.

The restructure follows the closure of Forbes' and Business Week's international editions at the end of last year, leading to speculation that pan-regional advertising is in crisis.

MTV has stressed that its restructure, which will see a cull of MTV's marketing and ad sales functions in New York and at its European headquarters in London, does not mean that it will no longer trade with media agencies or service advertisers at a pan-regional level. Rather, it claims the move is a mere realignment that will allow it to better serve the needs of advertisers and that flagship events, such as the MTV Europe Music Awards, which last year were sponsored by brands including Vodafone, remain unthreatened by the changes.

Some agencies think the decision of the Viacom-owned TV network could be a sensible one. Ian Clarke, a managing partner at Starcom, points out that as multichannel penetration has increased across Europe, MTV is no longer the niche cross-continent youth brand it once was and that it may be able to achieve a better return by concentrating its resources on servicing local clients, and providing local programming in each of its territories, while continuing to offer brands pan-regional media opportunities.

Network strengths

MTV, business publications and international news networks attract very different audiences, but figures from the International TV Research Group, formerly known as the Pan-European TV Group, reveal that pan-regional TV is in good shape.

According to Nick Mawditt, chairman of the body and head of research at CNBC Europe, the pan-European TV market is growing 20% annually. He says that business news network CNBC Europe is outperforming the market, with 2005 advertising sales up 30%, and that both Euronews and BBC World also performed strongly last year.

Elsewhere, Jonathan Davies, senior vice-president for advertising sales at CNN, says the Turner-owned channel enjoyed double-digit growth last year and expects to deliver another strong performance in 2006.

Pan-regional media owners have for a long time been forced to attract business from a relatively small pool of advertisers, but Liz Jones, vice-president and European sales director for CNBC Europe, says that blue-chip corporate brands such as financial services and energy companies have been increasing their spend and other sectors are coming to the market. …

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