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Interpublic Media's Chief Sees Vastly Altered Media Landscape on Horizon

NEW YORK — It's been only 90 days since Mark Rosenthal took his new job as boss of Interpublic Media, and he's already full of fire and brimstone about advertising in the media landscape of 2010.

The fragmentation of media and audiences, coupled with the plethora of choices offered by the Internet, will most affect advertisers and agencies, according to the chairman/CEO of Interpublic Group of Companies Inc.'s media business.

“Once the consumer is given choices — and in this case, massive choice — he will never, ever give it up,” Rosenthal told delegates yesterday at the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Adweek Magazines' MIXX Conference and Expo.

Rosenthal sees several trends. First, consumers are in control. Media will have to give them what they want, when they want and how they want. Second, advertisers will create highly branded video on-demand content that consumers will drill down. Product placement as we know it today will be scorned.

Third, television networks will question their model, and so will Wall Street. Fourth, customization will let consumers choose their media consumption. Portals will be back in favor, organized as gateways to the digital home. Fifth, consumers will have the power to block all content.

Equally important, consumers will become ambivalent about the device to access content. It will largely be time of day and convenience that determine media consumption.

Interactive marketing executives listening to Rosenthal were spellbound by his media usage forecast for 2010. For example, 80 million homes by then will have broadband Internet access. Laptop computers and technologies like 3G, WiFi and WiMax will be ubiquitous. Fifty million consumers will have MP3-type players, and 250 million will have cell phones.

Moreover, the 40 million people who don't have broadband will access the Internet through their cell phones, he said. Thirty-five million will have satellite radio, and 60 million households will have digital video recorders.

Also, Internet protocol TV will become a mainstay of every cable network as 15 million consumers will have media PCs. And 25 percent of consumers will live in fully digital homes.

“Convergence does become a reality by 2010,” Rosenthal said.

He acknowledged that his long career in cable TV, most recently as president and chief operating officer of Viacom's MTV Networks, prepared him well for this evolving media environment. Cable got consumers used to the idea of choice, which is what the Internet today offers.

The consumers of 2010 will be the children of the 1980s MTV generation. These younger consumers acted as filters and then editors of content as the Internet took hold in the late 1990s. Now they are turning creators.

“Be aware of what consumers want from their media experience,” Rosenthal said.

In this device-agnostic environment, distinctive content is all the more critical to grab the consumer's attention. For advertisers, it means associating themselves with the pertinent content online and offline, as well as ensuring their ads make a lasting impression.

“The single most important thing, as we've seen with cable TV, is that in a sea of choices, brands rule,” Rosenthal said. “Brands really have to rule.”

Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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