Tuesday

Q&A Interview with Brad Adgate, SVP Research Horizon Media

As the market slowly moves into upfront mode, I interviewed Brad Adgate, a media research veteran of 31 years. He is an industry expert on media trends with experience at cable networks and at agencies.

There are seven separate videos in this interview, which cover a range of subjects including Brad's views on research quality, crowdsourcing, set top box data, the upfront season and an assessment of future trends in the media landscape.


Video                                         (length)
Background                                 (3:42)
Future of TV                                (3:39)
Past Trends                                  (2:43)
Crowdsourcing                            (4:03)
Predictions                                   (4:14)
Quality of Research                    (1:45)
Conclusion                                  (1:41)




CW: Brad, you are one of the best people in the industry to answer this question – what do you think has been the most dramatic change in the industry in the past five years?

BA: I think one of the biggest changes and how that impacts research is the availability of information. It used to be that research was a gatekeeper. This may go back more than five years but when I was starting out in this industry in Research we were the ones who did all the runs, the crosstabs, the rankings, the ratings and all but because of the technology it is now available on desktops for planners, buyers and account people throughout the industry so I think Research has changed a little bit in following trends. There is so much that is going on that aren’t available on desktops and I think part of the challenge in Research is just trying to find out what is good data, what is bad data. You can look at five different studies in reports and see five different answers and that can be a little frustrating. But I think that Media is just in an exciting time. There are so many different opportunities going out there for marketers and I think it is Research’s job to find out what is going to work and what is not going to work. We can talk about whether it’s crowdsourcing or whether it’s cars becoming living rooms on wheels or pretty soon you’ll be able to watch live tv broadcasts on your cell phone with the digital transition that took place in June. These are things that all of us have to pay attention to and I think research companies are struggling to keep up with that. Research departments have become a conduit between what the marketers want because a lot of marketers want to be ahead of the curve. Right now a lot of it is a concept buy of an idea of what is going to work and what is not going to work. Research is lagging behind that: the Nielsens, the Arbitrons and MRI try to keep up with the industry but there is a lag there. So we have to pull the two together and try to make some sense of where marketers should allocate their dollars.


Brad Adgate, Senior Vice President of Research at Horizon Media talks to Charlene Weisler about how he got into the Research field and his work background in this video taken in July 2009:





Brad Adgate, Senior Vice President of Research at Horizon Media talks to Charlene Weisler about the future of television and the potential of set top box data in this video taken in July 2009:




Brad Adgate, Senior Vice President of Research at Horizon Media talks to Charlene Weisler about past trends in television and media in this video taken in July 2009:




CW: Let’s talk a little about crowdsourcing. How are you using it? How are you defining it? And how applicable is it for your part of the business in advertising?

BA: I think it is more of a collaboration today between consumers and marketers. It is no longer the top down approach. It’s almost like a bottom up approach. And the internet has made this more of a level playing field – more of a democratization. The strategy of building brand awareness to try and sell product, while still viable, is also how consumers experience a brand or product and how they share that experience with other consumers. You see whether it’s through blogs or Youtube or social networks or any other internet applications. Crowds of consumers are in control of the success of a product.

CW: It sounds like crowdsourcing is “word-of-mouth squared”.

BA: Well it is. I’ve found that the irony in all of this new technology is that two of the oldest media – word of mouth and out of home – are having a renaissance.


Brad Adgate, Senior Vice President of Research at Horizon Media talks to Charlene Weisler about crowdsourcing and word of mouth marketing in this video taken in July 2009:





CW: Where do you see the upfront this year? How do you think it is going to go?

BA: I just think this is going to be the Cuban Missile Crisis – who is going to blink first. Although not as catastrophic, because it’s just between marketers and networks. For years people have been writing off the networks and their ability to get dollars during this period. We had the writers strike last year and everyone predicted doom and gloom because of that but they wound up doing pretty well dollarwise. The year before that it was DVRs and the C3 ratings but it was pretty much business as usual. The networks have been suffering ratings erosion as the competition from cable networks continue to proliferate and yet they still do okay. Now this year we are faced with a slow economy and a lot of product categories like automotive and financial and banking and investment companies that have been beforehand very prominent product categories for television and are having a tough time and we are starting to see perhaps a start of a little rollback – and I would expect to see that there would be a rollback.


CW: In terms of dollars versus last year, do you feel comfortable making a prediction – will it be flat? Will it be down? Up?

BA: I think probably it will be down. It’s just a question of how much down it will be and I think that is what is the delay is right now. I think the marketers want a percentage and the networks want another percentage and that is why there is pretty much of a standstill, why there has been a delay in the upfront right now. What those numbers are, I really don’t know.


Brad Adgate, Senior Vice President of Research at Horizon Media talks to Charlene Weisler about his predictions for the next five years in this video taken in July 2009:





Brad Adgate, Senior Vice President of Research at Horizon Media talks to Charlene Weisler about the upcoming upfront marketplace in this video taken in July 2009:



Brad Adgate, Senior Vice President of Research at Horizon Media talks to Charlene Weisler about the quality of research today in this video taken in July 2009:




Brad Adgate, Senior Vice President of Research at Horizon Media talks to Charlene Weisler about Horizon Media's research blog in this concluding portion of the interview video taken in July 2009:




CW: Brad, is there anything that you would like to add?

BA: I think as a research person it is always good to try keep up with the latest in consumer trends and how consumers are using things. Recently we opened up a blog call the Bradgate blog that is on the Horizon Media website. There is a link there that will take you to the blog. It has some thoughts and things that are going on in the industry.



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