Media & Consumer Technology

IAB Annual Meeting Recap: 2024 Will Be a Pressure Cooker Year

Matt Bartels and Igor Uroic, principals at Alexander Group, recently attended the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting. Bob Bakish spoke at the event and emphasized that significant developments are underway in the media industry with three major themes are expected to shape the industry:

  • Consolidation
  • Measurement and Performance
  • Profitability

Alexander Group expects this year will be a “pressure cooker,” indicating intense challenges and opportunities.

Matt Bartels: Just got back from IAB’s ALM, what was it, 12 days ago? We were there Sunday, a very exciting time. A lot of thought leadership going on. The day kicked off with Bob Bakish saying there’s a lot going on and things are going to happen in the industry. So, Igor, what are some of those things that Bob might be talking about that is going to be happening in the industry, in your point of view?

Igor Uroic: Yeah. It was a very interesting comment. Certainly there’s a lot swirling around in the industry around what might be happening with some of the folks within the streaming space. Right? Consolidation. There’s been a lot of organizations that have entered that space over the last several years, and so there might be some saturation here. So that’s one of the core things he was alluding to. I think the other things that we’ll certainly get into is this notion around measurement and performance, certainly with the, you know, eventual going away of the cookie and what do we do with first-party data. So that certainly was top of mind for a lot of folks. And I think that that piggybacks to the overall theme, not just in media but more broadly around profitability. We’ve had a lot of change in the last several years, and so there’s a look now towards profitable growth, doing more with the same or sometimes even fewer resources than we had a few years ago. So those are kind of three big themes that he was alluding to in terms of what he expects to happen. And we do too, with the Alexander Group in 2024.

Matt Bartels: Yeah. Very interesting. I know we just completed a recent market trend survey. And it looks to me and it sounds to me from what everybody’s saying, this is going to be what we call a “pressure cooker” of a year. So when we looked at what was happening, you know, with the Alexander Group, what we do is we help organizations with the commercial model and growth strategies. And when we looked at the expectation of cost for that commercial model, it has grown at the fastest rate that it’s ever grown, which means that the organization – think about that, so now we’ve got extra costs that we weren’t anticipating. So it’s the equivalent of adding extra FTEs to your sales or go-to-market organization without actually the capability of having them produce something revenue-wise. So now we’re dealing in this heavy cost-constrained environment where we have to shift towards efficiency and profitability. And we’re seeing a lot of that trend translate into the people programs that organizations are putting in place here, driving more pay for performance aspects,and it’s that pressure cooker of an environment that we’re looking at in 2024.

Igor Uroic: Yeah. But Matt, we saw some of that with the organizations about a year ago, and even right now, toying with using AI on the creative side. And do I need as many folks in the creative? Do I need the agency? Do I bring some of that in-house? How do I become more efficient with at least that portion early on in the process? Where that’s the same play there, right? To be able to be more efficient with our dollar spend. So that trend certainly we expect to continue as well.

Matt Bartels: Yeah. No doubt it’s going to be a fun 2024. Looking forward to it.

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