At the Neustar Connect Forum, Suzanne Vranica, Advertising Editor at the Wall Street Journal moderated a panel with Lisa Mann, Global Nutrition Group President and CMO of PepsiCo; Donna Speciale, President, Broadcasting Ad Sales, at Turner; and Jay Sethi, VP, Marketing at Diageo about The Future of Media. As digital disruption, data-driven addressability, and consumer behavior collide; these panelists discussed how brand, agency, and media leaders must band together to successfully navigate this new landscape of content consumption.

With digital spending, per eMarketer, projected to outpace TV by 2018 and with the Facebook/Google duopoly muscling dollars away from smaller publishers, media buyers and sellers are forced to think differently about media measurement, content creation, and big data in order to penetrate the daily lives of consumers in the digital world. This was the theme of a conversation about The Future of Media led by Suzanne Vranica, Advertising Editor at the Wall Street Journal at Neustar Connect in New York on September 12.  Vranica was joined by esteemed panelists Lisa Mann, Global Nutrition Group President and CMO of PepsiCo; Donna Speciale, President, Broadcasting Ad Sales, at Turner; and Jay Sethi, VP, Marketing at Diageo.

So how does a marketer achieve scale in a targeted way, when they’re handcuffed by the high premiums required to reach the right consumer at the right time?

“The whole ecosystem has to change” Turner’s Speciale stated. “It’s not just going to be one person. We [Turner] created Open A.P. with Fox and Viacom to literally bring television to a scalable level.”

The new age of digital and the connected world no longer relies on short form or long form brand sponsorship to be sustainable. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon have changed the game by capturing not only the eyes, but also the hearts, of digital consumers. And they’ve done so with full control over media exposure in the palm of their hands.

To stay competitive, brands have begun to shy away from traditional marketing tactics, thinking more like startups, digital entrepreneurs that understand these new, always-on consumers.

”How do we meet consumers in a completely different way?” Mann asked, adding that PepsiCo is “thinking more about targeting and how we can leverage data better to be smarter and reach consumers.”

Now is the time for both media buyers and sellers to take chances, to test and learn what works and what doesn’t. “It’s like we are in the eye of the hurricane,” said Mann, adding: “It’s a little quiet right now.

If publishers fail to innovate and challenge the Facebook and Google, the duopoly may win not only media dollars but, potentially, the increasingly tough fight for survival.  

“This is the moment of truth for our entire industry,” Diageo’s Sethi said, adding: “As a person who is buying and spending the dollars, I am going to prioritize the [channels] that are data driven and smart and safe. This is all so new for us. Let’s just get out there and say what is working and what isn’t.”  

Television has been one of those critical channels providing both scale and safety. Before programmatic TV, the technology didn’t exist to capture the data necessary to connect the dots between media spend and consumer views. Now that connected and addressable television provides these metrics, the field has leveled a bit. Thanks to data-driven TV, there’s been a market correction providing the accuracy and scale media buyers and sellers have long chased from digital media. Marketers that have the right tools and partnerships in place, along with the creative juice to bring the media to life, now have the power to truly understand their consumers across channels.

In order for media buyers and sellers to succeed; in order for the advertising industry as we know it to continue to make money as well as provide compelling digital customer experiences, all the panelists agreed, we will need to work together. Consumer attention spans are not likely to get any longer; and there is no end in sight for new formats, platforms, big ideas, and formidable competition to captivate and disrupt the consumer journey. Marketers still have the power to win over consumers. But advertising media that doesn’t connect all the dots -- data, innovation, engagement, and measurement -- risk driving consumers away.