During the twice-yearly evening event of the GVR (Dutch Association of Advertising), Wouter was asked to give a talk. This was then published on Adformatie. Below, you can find an edited version.
‘For me, the newspaper I buy every Saturday is still a source of information. However, my one-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Neva, sees something completely different. She sees the newspaper as paper. As a toy. Will she ever read a paper newspaper?
Changes are coming, across the world and in the communications branch. Changes that might threaten the influence and the leading role of our country in the communications branch.
- The first change signifies our viewing habits. Who still has a television connection? Two years ago, when I cancelled my television service, I was laughed at. Television streaming was barely on the radar. Now, over 4 million families in the Netherlands have a subscription to Netflix. Families that won’t see our marketing messages when they are watching House of Cards.
- My second point is about print. Already online platform Blendle has 400,000 subscribers, most of whom are Dutch. Initiatives such as Blendle, as well as De Correspondent and apps that Apple and Facebook are working on, are pushing media titles into the background and handing the power over to individuals, the talented journalist. Which is something you probably would not mind making a micro-payment for.
Have you ever seen an advertisement in Blendle when you clicked on an article for €0.10?
- The third trend I have observed is the complete shift from reach to online. That there are YouTubers and bloggers that need to be given a police escort because they are mobbed by five thousand people is probably nothing new. Or that culinary bloggers have a far bigger reach with people under the age of 35 than all culinary magazines and papers combined.
These YouTubers and bloggers make a decent sum of money through advertisements.
This shift is not the only problem. There is more going on. And once again, the threat comes from Silicon Valley, Apple specifically. By allowing ad blockers in iOS 9.0, Apple has secured ‘veto power’ over the web. Just when everyone has made the transition to the web. It is like telling someone; “Either you buy an advertisement with us, or your users won’t see you at all. You choose.”
All these transformations mean that the ultimate power in marketing, media and communication is being absorbed by a small area around San Francisco.
This transformation will impact the creative industry. Soon, you will be able to sent out a worldwide campaign through Google, Apple and Facebook to any precisely-defined target group. Is there still going to be an American or non-Dutch brand that will call on our creative industry?
How can we turn the tide?
- Hope that among the Syrian Refugees, there is a new Steve Jobs (who was also the child of two refugees from that area)?
We need our own Steve Jobs or Elon Musk in the Netherlands and Europe. Leaders that inspire and have courage.
- Dutch citizens are creative, effective and efficient. What Victor Knaap is doing with MediaMonk on a worldwide scale is amazing.
For now, he still is not Elon Musk (sorry, Victor), but he is a brilliant ambassador of our industry.
- Should we be worried? Yes. But are we managing to keep up better then the rest of Europe? Again, the answer is ‘Yes’. The communication branch needs to be redefined and, once again, we will have to figure out how to reach people. Advertising, agencies, PR and media; under the influence of the activity in the American west coast, they will have to go through radical changes.
There is no such thing as change. And maybe that is an advantage. In the creative branch, fortunately, we have grown accustomed to adapting continuously.
For companies that advertise through billboards as well as social influencers and native advertising companies, there is good news. Because they are still breaking through the filters of the American giants. For the rest of the communication branch it is important to recognize these trends, acknowledge their existence and engage with them.
My daughter’s name is Neva and she has a future, a future that will look quite different than the one you foresee.
Wouter Glaser is the founder of the communication agency Glasnost.
This article can also be found on adformatie: Adformatie