The State of the Indusry : I-MIS 2014


This year’s International Media Image Survey 2014 (I-MIS) is out.  The survey itself is broken into 3 sections; The State of the Industry, The Agency Report and The Media Report.  The Agency and the Media Reports tend to get the most interest – which agency is top of the dream pitch list this year and how does Google stack up against The Financial Times in terms of reputation and service.  However, these are not the sections which interest me most personally.  The State of the Industry section included some new questions in 2014, they were relatively small simple questions about the recession, transparency, communication methods – but they produced some really interesting and positive insights.

A positive vibe

The two really strong positives were in the area of recession and human interaction!  Firstly, there was an overwhelming sense that the worst of the media recession is now over, with the UK and North America being most positive.  Secondly, was the importance of ‘people’, this may sound stupid but if you believe the trade media and what you hear at conferences, the media industry is already well on the way to being fully automated and RTB is the new ‘holy grail’.  While no one can deny the increased importance of automation in media transactions, I-MIS and in particular the advertisers who responded still highly value human interaction and face to face meetings.  Media is still reassuringly a people business, where smart thinking is valued as highly as the latest app or gizmo.

Transparency (Clear as mud)

This surprised me, we asked respondents whether they felt transparency had improved, the overall response was significantly more positive than I expected: 43% improved, 40% stayed the same, 16% declined.  There was a split, however, between agencies and advertisers – advertisers were considerably more cynical than their agency counterparts: Improved = 31% advertisers, 48% agencies.  One interpretation of this could be that while agencies believe they are having more transparent dealings with media owner, advertisers do not feel the same about their dealings with agencies!

Mobilization or not

In both the 2013 and 2014 surveys, we ask broadly how budgets are being cut up between the different communication platforms and what if any change is expected in the next 18months.  Funnily enough, there was very little change, this is only funny when you look back on the predicted changes in 2013.  If you believed the 2013 predictions everyone would be shifting massive amounts of budget out of print and TV and almost all expenditure in 2014 would be digital and particularly mobile (83% predicted growth).  Actually shifts year on year have been tiny +1% here and -1% there.  There is no doubt change is happening but let’s not hysterical about it!

To download the key findings please go to

BACKGROUND TO I-MIS:  The second annual International Media Image Survey was conducted by InSites Consulting in May and June 2014 on behalf of BSB Media and The Vision Network in conjunction with the International Advertising Association, Warc, M&M Global, AudienceScience and Loudmouth PR.  In total, there were 795 responders, with 486 working in agencies, 189 for a media/tech company, 82 were advertisers and 38 were consultants, academics or otherwise associated with the media industry.  See Editors Notes below for full list of the 13 agencies studied in the report, along with additional key findings.