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ARF Leadership Lab: What’s Old is New Again — Transforming TV, Radio & Print

Our current 7-week summer session focuses on cross-platform. Last week, three “professors” led a wide ranging conversation centered on the ongoing changes in three media. ARF President & CEO Gayle Fugitt served as moderator, joined by David Poltrack (CRO, CBS), Radha Subramanyam (President Insights, iHeartMedia) and Britta Cleveland (SVP, Meredith).

Watching the 80-minute video below is ideal but below are some of their illuminating comments, by topics, without attribution.

Media and Media Content

  • The nature of content has not really changed, instead how you access it has.
  • Media should be everywhere the consumer wants, when she wants.
  • We are using new media talent (e.g. from You Tube) as discovery, i.e. from Internet to TV.
  • Every medium serves a purpose and magazines should be doing what magazines should do – not what TV or smartphones are doing
  • We have to be platform agnostic. You cannot control the consumer. All you can do is understand them and service them and it will all work out.
  • As long as you have reach and engagement all grounded in context and content, you will do well.
  • How the Business Has Changed
  • We used to have three weeks to prepare an answer. Now they want answers in real time, sometimes before the meeting itself even ends.
  • We spent so much time trying to find the data sources. Now we have the ability to crunch through large datasets and derive meaning. It is interesting and empowering. But we have barely cracked the surface.

Skill Sets

  • Curiosity – rather than just looking at the numbers.
  • Flexibility and Confidence. After all, it is very hard to predict the future.
  • A passion for the business.
  • Being tenacious.
  • Listening for intent (e.g., during focus groups, one on one conversations).
  • Toughest part of the business is objectivity.
  • There’s always hype – but it is researchers responsibility to provide the facts.
  • Immersion and observation to uncover underlying motivations.

What’s Coming Within the Next Year

  • More use of Virtual Reality.
  • Dollars swinging back to “traditional” media.
  • Growth in Smart TV’s: many have access but have not used it. Offers big potential for data.


  • The consumer does not want a world free of advertising. They want less advertising and better advertising and relevant advertising.
  • Mobile advertising solutions remain elusive.
  • Less reliance on advertising and more directly from consumer subscriptions (e.g., CBS All-Access, Netflix).
  • While watching TV, when commercials came on, people traditionally turned to diversions. Because with today’s 2nd stream devices, tweeting and IM’ing (for example) have become the new form of diversion. Surprisingly, when ads come up, we have seen higher recall for using those devices (i.e. paying more attention to the screen). Even DVR fast-forwarding is declining.

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