Simulmedia's Happy Hour Salons

There are a number of excellent industry get-togethers but there is only one that I can think of that blends the actual happy hour with the program itself. It is Simulmedia’s Happy Hour Salon which is a provocative speaker series that gives media and tech people the chance to mingle and share opinions on a trending industry hot topic, all over a pint of beer or a glass of wine.

I sat down with Simulmedia CEO Dave Morgan to talk about the salon: 

This salon series is relatively new but past speakers have included a range of experts from author Eric Asimov discussing wine to Nielsen’s Steve Hasker and Optimedia’s Maureen Bosetti discussing the changing media landscape. Dave Morgan believes that there is inevitable change coming into the industry that can be framed and guided by active, engaged thought leaders. By providing a place where the exchange of ideas can germinate, Simulmedia hopes to spur discussion and help move progressive change forward.

Steve Hasker spoke frankly about Nelsen’s strengths and weaknesses. According to Hasker, the Nielsen panel wasn’t working because the market has changed. When the panel was first created, television was a “must have” and there was no need for television executives to seek ROI. Now both buyers and sellers come to Nielsen for help in optimizing their media mix. While stating that Nielsen is the center of the media trade currency, he also admitted that there are times when Nielsen gets things wrong and that some of their products are not up to snuff. But, he asserted, “We get fewer things wrong every day.” To those who know Nielsen, this refreshing piece of humility led some to say that this was the most “un-Nielsen Nielsen talk” they had ever heard, according to Dave Morgan.

Maureen Bosetti of Optimedia spoke about how the digital world is placing more pressure on the media business from agency clients. Digital, she explained, has brought more accountability to the marketplace and that places more pressure on television to become more accountable too.  Agencies must become less siloed and more involved in social media metrics and measurement that help to ascertain ROI. Her wish list includes better cross platform analytics and metrics, perhaps a seamless measurement of reach across all platforms and consistent measurement as the industry continues to fragment. She summed it up by saying, “the future of media is Math Men not Mad Men.” I agree….

An investor panel in January included Brad Burnham of Union Square Ventures, Linda Gridley of Gridley & Company, Sheila Spence of WPP Group and Tim Spengler of Magna Global. They spoke about innovating the future of media and advertising stressing the value of companies that provide an emotional experience. But the measurement sector is still fairly static. Their conclusion - Even though Nielsen has more challenges to its business model than usual, there is still no other company in the marketplace that can match to the individual level. The group predicted tremendous disruption in the next 18 months especially in the payment sector as digital wallets continue to innovate.

These salons tend to be digitally centric, according to Dave Morgan, but there are enough audience and participants in the television, agency, supplier, pundits and analyst side that make for a rich experience.
Indeed, there are few places where you can hear a Nielsen mea-culpa and an Asimov wine lesson while sipping a beer. The salon takes place one a month and is by invitation only, but it is easy to get on the list by emailing

Interview conducted by Charlene Weisler, Weisler Media LLC. She can be reached through her research blog or at Twitter:

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