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The Changing Production Economy
- Friday, Dec. 14, 2018
The industry is constantly evolving, but one trend that looks like it will continue is the decrease in economic pressure on production, which will occur due to several factors.
First, the easy accessibility of the technological tools for content production has driven a rapid growth in the number of “content producers” for clients to tap. Smartphone penetration is at nearly 90% of U.S. households, meaning those households have access to basic filming, editing and broadcasting tools to deliver content to channels like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram--channels that have become broadcast networks in their own right. Anyone with interest, persistence, and a little bit of gumption can become a content production house with little effort.
The need for assets and content continues to outpace the budgets set to make it. Quality content will take more and more of a backseat to the economics of a need for a volume of content to fill a rapidly expanding media space and time. Brands are feeling pressure to be across too many channels for the funds they have available. In the process, brands are underinvesting in the quality needed to compel people to give a shit.
Also, the old-world production-to-distribution math persists in a new world of media consumption. The 80/20 media-to-production model is broken. The sharing economy favors quality of content to quantity of media dollars. A great video piece with a
compelling story will be seen, liked, shared, and talked about far more than the same faux focus group truck ad that gets pounded into your head 16 times if you binge watch 3 episodes of your favorite show.
Finally, the marketing industry continues to cannibalize the idea of brand equity to win shrinking client budgets. Pressure to simply make cheap “branded asset things” that fill time and space to drive awareness and frequency will heat up. The ability to tell a story that builds emotional equity will come under even harsher attack from the belief that a simple logo and line that can be algorithmically optimized is a brand-building idea.
Meanwhile, really creative work will stand out more than ever. Creative agencies that can weather the economic storm will rise to the top. We see a renaissance for the creative boutique as large agencies with heavy rent loads are folded into one another. The disruption of mergers and re-orgs will irritate most clients eager to get on with it and achieve results. Advertising will be leaner, faster and more productive than ever in the boutique agency scene. Watch for many “big” agencies to suddenly announce they are adopting the practices of much, much smaller groups. Small, smart and nimble will be hip in 2019.
Franklin Tipton is partner, CCO at San Francisco-based ad agency Odysseus Arms.