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Challenging times for media industry as investors demand 'bang for their buck'


THE downturn has hit the media and marketing profession hard -- nobody would deny that. In this tougher climate, the quest for "return on investment", or to put it another way, "bang for your buck" has become more and more important.

Television will experience declining advertising revenue this year (down €5m from last year); according to Alan Cox of Core Media, and changes in the media landscape will be critical to how advertising progresses throughout the year.

In the television world the elephant in the room is the future of RTE says Mr Cox.

"RTE faces a tough year with share of viewing for RTE1 & RTE2 likely to decline by 1.3 and 0.7 points respectively as the penetration of digital platforms such as Sky and UPC increases.

"In addition to the funding issues it also has to contend with the Competition Authority's investigation into television airtime trading practices," he says.

Those funding issues are likely to come into sharp focus this year. The state broadcaster could lose €30m in 2011. Something that Mr Cox believes would be "unsustainable".

"Our industry needs a rock solid, high quality national broadcaster, but this will only be achieved through a major restructuring of the organisation, including the possible sale of its transmission network and other assets including 2FM.

"Some suggest that RTE 2 should be privatised but this is short-sighted and would limit the broadcaster's potential and lower programming quality."

One of the big changes that has affected advertisers in recent years is the advent of digital video recorders (DVRs).

As they become more prevalent -- Sky+ is the most obvious form of DVR -- there will be an "inevitable" fall in net commercial impact for advertisers as viewers fast forward ad breaks, according to the Core Media chief executive.

"This trend will inevitably place more emphasis on position-in-break and programme sponsorship. The latter is particularly effective in informing the viewer that a programme is about to recommence.

"Ultimately, the industry will need to put entertainment at the top of its agenda in the creation of advertising. Believe it or not, consumers actually enjoy TV advertising; in fact 15pc of viewers claim to enjoy commercials as much as the programmes! We need to build on this."

Griffith College takes to airwaves

GRIFFITH College's radio station Griff FM starts this week for a fortnight-long run. Students are operating all elements of the station from sound desk to presenting, to researching, producing, recording and scripting each of the shows. The content on the station will include a range of documentaries as well as political, sports and lifestyle shows and daily news bulletins at 1pm and 6pm.

Fleishman-Hillard appointment

JOHN Saunders has been appointed the regional president of Fleishman-Hillard's operations in Europe, UK and Africa.

He has served in leadership positions within the Omnicom-owned company for more than 20 years and has been heading up Fleishman-Hillard's Continental Europe and Ireland business since 2004. Fleishman-Hillard chief executive and president Dave Senay said: "John Saunders is a key member of our global leadership team."

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