Borrell: an Autobahn of Data and Ideas


The Borrell Local Media Conference wrapped up earlier this week. It was a two day Autobahn of data and ideas.  Here are a few of the big themes: 


"Voice is seminal and already bigger than most people think.”


Rishad Tobaccowala, the Chief Growth Officer at Publicis Groupe made the case that it is an imperative for marketers to make fundamental changes to their business and not tomorrow.

His own company is reinventing. "Don't think about impressions, think about interactions" he told the crowd.  "Maybe you don’t know what business you are in anymore."  "Dollar Shave Club grabbed 15% of the razor business off of funny videos and lower prices".... and in the process made a wreck of Gillette who spends millions.  This is happening to legacy companies in sector after sector. 

He believes we are in the third connected age - Browsers, Smartphones and now Voice.  "Voice is seminal and already bigger than most people think.”  Boom. More on that in a moment.

Rishad says many businesses are "organized to maximize the present, not the future"and his warning is that "companies that eat up industries have never come from the same business." 

Lots of Retail Under Pressure From the Internet


IAB's CEO Randall Rothenberg followed down a similar path looking at business disruption and noted that 8,600 retail stores closed in 2017.  

Direct to consumer selling is exploding. Harry’s Shavers, Away, Warby Parker, Boll & Branch, etc.  

Mobile is Eating the World

App use differs by age

App use differs by age

Mobile makes up 2/3rds of all time spent online -  Chairman Emeritus Gian Fulgoni of comScore talked about the seismic shift to mobile, reporting that time online has doubled in 3 years. Digital commerce now represents 1 in 5 discretionary spending dollars. Fulgoni reinforced the pressure on retail from the IAB presentation showing apparel as the top selling category on the web.  

Addressing the maturity of the app business, Fulgoni told the audience "you must be on the front page of the smartphone."  Digital time spent on smartphones is highly focused; consumers spend half their time in their #1 app and nearly 9 in 10 minutes with their top 5.

The News Moat is History

facebook today.jpg

Facebook is testing new local news options - A Facebook representative talked about a multi-market test of "Today" a local news and events aggregation.  That pretty much telegraphed to local media that Facebook will continue to fine-tune the news business.  

More Digital TV Viewing Than Linear

TV is digital - Gen Xers and Millennials spend more time with digital video than live TV.  1/3rd of the OTT audience is “cordless.”   

Radio Thinks Beyond the Ratings

Radio & Attribution -  Entercom's Tim Murphy laid out an ambitious and thoughtful plan for radio to move beyond rankers and into rich ROI from a variety of sources including email and in-car data via Drive Time Metrics which collects in-car listening.    

"Smart Speakers Talk About Smart Speakers" 

Sonic Ai official photo by Pierre Bouvard

Sonic Ai official photo by Pierre Bouvard

That was Gordon Borrell's line, and we'll take it.  There was plenty of talk about Smart Speakers throughout the conference, which is a good set up for the presentation Fred Jacobs and I did entitled "Key Strategy For Future Platforms: Smart Speakers."  There are over 25,000 skills and many of them have low retention. We talked about why TV, newspapers and radio stations can't "just check the box" on building skills for smart speakers.  An effective "voice-first" strategy involves the development of targeted content that is often original for smart speakers.  Every platform needs its own content.

Thanks to Gordon and his remarkable team for running a conference where note taking is not optional.  I just hit a few highlights.  


And speaking of notes, we debuted a gorgeous SonicAi e-Book at our session: "Look, No Hands, The Rise of Voice." We focus on what happens after you build a skill.  You can download a free copy here

Steven GoldsteinComment