Media Analysis: Making the media a talking point

As CNBC Europe and BBC 4 prepare to launch shows on the media business,Richard Cann analyses how the media industry has matured to get dedicated slots, and the opportunities the shows will give PROs.

The wide coverage gained by marketing powerhouse WPP's takeover of Grey Global Group shows there is interest in the machinations of the media world. And the launch of media shows Media Talk on CNBC this week and The Desk on BBC 4 next January suggests an interest in exploring the business advantages of a sophisticated media strategy.

The programmes offer a fresh outlet for those long served by the media pages of broadsheets and a slew of trade press titles including Broadcast, Media Week, Campaign, Marketing and Marketing Week, and a window to demonstrate their expertise and the value their disciplines can add to business.

But will the wider business community take interest or is it just more evidence of the British media's self-obsessed nature?

Preaching to the converted?

Andrew McGuinness, chief executive of advertising agency TBWA/London whose controversial campaigns for FCUK and Wonderbra drew consumers attention to the process of advertising, believes they will engage in these programmes as long 'as they are not too insular or a Soho lovefest'.

'In the US, advertising and media are treated as a much more mainstream part of business, but coverage here is based on exchange of equity rather than the strategies, processes and motivations behind marketing,' he says.

McGuinness warns that it is easier to 'mess up' on TV than with the trade press, where you can be more inward looking and reference other marketing industry talk.

He suggests content could include a look at the making of a commercial, examining a celebrity's marketing value or analysing changing a brand strategy can affect a firm's financial performance.

Five director of corporate affairs Sue Robertson says the programme launches are indicative of TV's increased interest in business issues, which she says has been lacking.

The media, of course, is particularly relevant because it touches both consumers and business.

MEDIA TALK

Presenter: Kavita Maharaj

Channel: CNBC Europe

Screens: Fridays for six weeks from 24 September, 6pm (30 minutes)

Executive producer: Gill Parker What's your editorial focus?

We will look at the bigger ideas and trends in marketing, not individual campaigns. It takes an intellectual approach to show business people what they can do with their brands and cover what happens globally.

What will the format be?

Each show covers key stories, but the critical thing is the 'major trends' discussions. These will take a country theme or look at a particular sector.

The first show will look at the renaissance of direct market and marketing to an ageing population.

Will you pit guests against each other?

Discussion panelists should be complementary in terms of experience. I don't want rows. The crucial idea is to have a good discussion.

Who will you talk to?

Guests are real players, ranging from strategists at advertising agencies and heads of major media buyers and some senior marketers.

THE DESK

Presenter: Tyler Brule

Channel: BBC 4

Screens: January 2005, weekly (30 minutes)

Executive producer: Anne Reevell Who will watch it?

Everyone is a media consumer, whether you like it or not, and there is a genuine fascination with how it works, who the players are and what is coming up. We've aimed the programme at people who work in the industry and those who don't.

What will The Desk cover?

Part of the programme is analysis and looking behind the spin. It will cover the week's big media story, take a global perspective and look at the big domestic issues. There will be studio interviews with big players, discussions and analysis.

Who do you want to interview?

We want to cover and explain what makes the media world go round. So we'll want to speak to programme editors and magazine editors, as well as the big names in PR.

How can PROs get involved?

By doing what they do best - keeping in touch and keeping us informed.

MEDIA BEAT

Presenter: Ross Westgate

Channel: CNBC Europe

Screens: Wednesdays, 11.45am (15 minutes)

Assistant producer: Harris Braude

Who is the audience?

The media and marketing sector and general business, because media is such a good bellwether of how the economy is performing.

What do you want to hear about?

If a major company is doing something innovative and using media in a different way, we'd like to hear about it. We'd then bring in a third party to comment on it.

Who are your guests?

We look for senior people, but as we cover the issues and media strategies in depth, we want people such as heads of teams, sales and marketing directors, editors and media strategists involved in the work. We also need media-savvy people who can handle themselves on TV.

How far ahead do you plan?

We work about three weeks in advance. If people have a topic they think we should cover, they should contact us with that in mind.

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