The Media Industry Hits a Wall

Posted 21 September 2022 by Rinaldi in Our experts

Over the past years, the Canadian media industry has undergone major changes. The progressive decline of linear media distribution in favour of on-demand content has forced players to adapt.

This decline started off as a gradual process with an almost linear progression, in which the ability to adapt to the new rules depended on competition between different actors on the media market. However, a strict deadline has now been established: by 2024, they will need to adapt to and master these major changes.

This compels the various players in media to urgently conform to the new rules of the game that are currently being drawn up.

Here are the three trends that must be mastered, on both a legal and a technological level, in order to stay in the game.

1/ Adapting to a cookie-free environment 

This remains the number one challenge for the upcoming months, even though Google postponed the end of cookies to 2024 and thereby gave the players in media an additional year to adjust.

The challenge comes from the impossibility of tracking users from one session to another without third-party cookies. The disappearance of cookies will therefore complicate user data collection and cohort creation, to the point of causing problems to the economic model that has been in place for years.

Indeed, without the possibility of creating relevant audience segments, the media will lose (financial) value. It is thus necessary to provide advertisers with a qualitative continuity for the suggested audience segments, in order to make one’s offer more valuable and unique.

If they want to preserve the value of their data and inventory and be able to pride themselves on keeping the same level of performance with advertisers, industry actors must maintain their ability to showcase their uniqueness and the consistence of their audiences on all their platforms.

As of today, user authentication is the only way to ensure continuity in terms of creating cohorts to build relevant audiences. The problem of cross-platform tracking for advertisers remains unsolved. But in this case, the creation of data walled gardens and cross-media partnerships offers an interesting solution; these strategies are based on the use of user data, which is itself facing another deadline.

2/ Conforming to legislation around data protection

Initially passed in Europe (CNIL in France and GDPR in the countries of the EU), legislation surrounding user data protection is currently spreading in North America, starting with California (OPPA) before reaching Québec (L.25) and Canada (C.27).

The issue is all the more important as it directly concerns the necessary evolution of data collection.

Indeed, while promoting platform user authentication and the monetization of behavioural data, the media industry will have to respect restrictive rules. This will inevitably encumber the relationships between media and advertisers, especially in the context of partnerships based on audience – and by extension data – sharing.

The creation of legal tools pertaining to these new legislations is essential. Furthermore, these tools will have to be user-friendly for commercial teams in order to avoid mistakes and tensions with advertisers.

3/ The evolution of programmatic media buying

Advertisers’ and agencies’ demand for instant access to advertising inventory is growing. It is therefore crucial to be able to meet this demand by offering an inventory available for programmatic buying on all platforms (web, podcast, VOD, CTV, etc.) and for all formats (Display, audio, video, and native).

This trend is growing in a more linear fashion in Québec, but nevertheless remains timely. Indeed, the Québec market (still unique in North America and relative to Europe in its media buying habits) is increasingly abandoning traditional sales channels in favour of automated buying via DSPs.

For the media industry, the key issue is to adapt to the rapid evolution of advertising inventories’ price positioning, and to a market that’s become more open to this type of sales.