Looking forward to 2010 – Nicholas Gray, ninemsn


Today (Tuesday 15 December) Nicholas Gray was announced as the new Commercial Director of ninemsn, replacing Kerry Mccabe who is leaving the company before Christmas.

About 3-4 weeks back Nicholas was nice enough to provide me with his key areas for 2010. I thought it was timely to run this now.

Nicholas Gray: Ten weeks ago I moved roles from ninemsn’s Strategy Director to National Sales Director.  My old job had me thinking about the future a lot, but ironically having left that role I now get asked about the future a lot more by fellow lovers of digital.  Here are my themes to watch in digital media in 2010:

Targeting will be mainstream.  The promise of targeting is increasingly matched by the technology, and I believe this will accelerate.   Publishers, search engines and social networks all offer it, and agencies and clients are also looking to own and re-communicate with audiences who have previously engaged with their ads.  Winners will be those who can target with precision without whittling away their entire audience in the process.

Video will dominate the conversation. The internet is closer to being viewed from the living room couch than ever before, more and more high quality short and long form video is available online, and this is one area of web content where ninemsn (and I believe others) are consistently sold out of their commercial inventory. The TV networks, Foxtel, Telstra and the international players are all circling, and whilst the long term winners in online video will probably not be determined in 2010, decisive steps in that direction will be taken.

The push to revalue digital content will grow.  Not only will News Corporation’s global campaign to charge for online content continue, but in parallel the prospects of an increase in the perceived value of digital advertising have never been better.  The case for digital as an above the line brand building medium is strengthening, means of comparison with other media will improve (and will demonstrate the value of digital), and some agencies will tire of the (ad network driven) race to the bottom of the price curve. Importantly, the economic recovery will drive longer lead times, better planning and ultimately greater value delivery from publishers and agencies.

Search and social media will power on.  Two of the largest drivers of audience (both) and revenue (search) will continue their dominance in 2010.  The challenge for Facebook, Twitter, et al is to get their share of the clear investment that agencies are beginning to make in social media. The challenge for Bing is to localise the product and chip away at Google’s phenomenal market position. At ninemsn we are making some of our biggest investments here.

Comparison engines will near their tipping point.  We are still 3-5 years behind the US and the UK, but the use of comparison engines will accelerate in Australia.  With consumers now willing to buy financial services online, and a rising interest rate environment likely to drive switching, look for strong growth and winners starting to emerge in 2010. ninemsn has placed its bets with investments in iSelect and Rate City.

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2 responses to “Looking forward to 2010 – Nicholas Gray, ninemsn

  1. Hmmmm the “Ad Network drive to the bottom”, obviously MSDR is excluded from this race to the bottom.

    Value is determined by the market my friend.

  2. Nicholas there is no reason for you to be running out of video inventory. There is no shortage of quality mid-tail publishers out there who’d love to lend a hand…

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