The slow motion train wreck that is the media rebate and transparency crisis

media rebate and transparency crisis

The recent K2 Report on media transparency and rebates commissioned by the ANA has articulated what we have observed in APAC and especially Australia for the past 4 years or more. It has literally been like watching a train wreck in slow motion. My recent claims of conflict within the AANA are driven by frustration over the continued lack of action on this matter, considering we have seen it coming since 2012. But in fact it all started before then with the Global Recession or Financial Crisis. To explain why we remain so frustrated about the inaction of the AANA and other peak bodies, we’ve taken the time to detail all our main interventions, blog posts and comments around this issue over the last several years, with links for those interested in reading the original material.

What can marketers do now to manage brands through the media transparency debate?

There’s an old saying. If it swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then even if it’s not 100% duck, it’s certainly been ducking around. Last week’s ANA report on media transparency, and whatever follows in Australia, means that this issue is going to run and run. Maybe it’s the refreshing clarity of the ANA report that has finally made the problem impossible to ignore. But it cannot be a surprise to anyone in the industry for more than five minutes – agencies, marketers or publishers – that the issue itself has finally come to a head.

The K2 Intelligence Media Report: Rebate-Gate or Stalemate-Gate?

Earlier this week, the investigative company K2 Intelligence, on behalf of the ANA, issued a report entitled ‘An Independent Study of Media Transparency in the U.S. Advertising Industry’. Industry speculation has been that the report would go some way to cementing wide-held beliefs about ‘non-transparent’ practices inherent in media agencies and their holding companies. No pulling punches. For the naysayers, the report hasn’t disappointed. ‘Pervasive’ and ‘substantial’ were words used more than once to describe what the report termed as ‘non-transparent media practices’, across a broad range of areas.

You want transparency from your media agency? Look at your own behaviour first

I read with interest the recent interview with Jon Mandel, the ex-Mediacom CEO credited, via some forthright conference commentary about his experiences, with playing a major role in sparking the global media agency transparency debate that has dominated much of the industry agenda over the last 12-24 months. All the key topics were covered; the role of AVBs, the US-based investigation into agency practices, the newly released ISBA guideline contract out of the UK, the legal action allegedly taken by some agencies to protect their secrets, and the drain of distrust, complaint and counter-complaint around which media agencies, marketers and commentators are viciously circling.