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Interview with Graeme Wood, Zed Media Director of Planning

Ahead of the iMedia Agency Summit, taking place in Brighton on 11-13 May, we spoke to one of the event's speakers: Graeme Wood, Head of Planning at Zed Media.

AOP members are eligible for a £300 discount to attend the event - more details.

Q. What particular companies (other than agencies) would you most be interested in meeting at this year’s event?

Companies that really ‘get’ the evolutionary nature of this business. Personally, I think that digital is a means to store and transmit information, rather than being a media channel (for example, look at the amount of TV and outdoor that is digital). It's not so much a name that we can give channels based on the screens that people view them on any more. One company in the U.S is becoming even more interesting than a pure video/tv hybrid, because it is now bringing in social functionality through Facebook Connect. On a smaller scale, there was an ITV demonstration recently where the first episode of Primeval’s new series was simulcast with a live in-stream Twitter feed on their website. So to me, the really interesting companies would be those that are genuinely working out what their business model will be in a networked-converged world, and how brands can partner with them to build it.

Q.Is there anyone doing anything exciting or interesting with media owners that agencies might find useful to hear about?

The Guardian recently opened up to third party developers through their API with a view to extending their advertising business by giving content away anywhere, rather than just giving it away on their own site. Technology that has the potential to completely rewrite a category: the iPhone is still a great example for many reasons, but particularly there is the question of running Skype applications - what exactly will the future be for mobile networks? Likewise, Google Android makes waves if it increases its handset uptake - as Google has no vested interest in the telecoms status quo. Spotify is also one app that everyone loves, and that are just beginning to scale up their advertising proposition.

But in terms of what the agencies in particular would find useful - the big question as we try and move on from the addiction to reach, frequency and awareness is how we prove return on investment: some of that is based on the value of word of mouth - we've always known that it is the most powerful medium, but never felt it was our remit. Some is based on data, on how we mine this data, how we aggregate and visualise it - so media owners and publishers, plus other companies, that are already active in those sort of spaces, whether from a research, PR or data provider background are always very good to meet.

Q. Do you think the concept of iMedia, as it informally connects agencies and solutions experts together works well overall and achieved a comfortable balance?

I certainly like the concept and like the way it connects people in a non-pressured way. Personally, I learned a lot from the account planners and digital strategists who were there. And the environment was certainly well set up to informally get to know people.

Q. Did you meet any quality technology/solution providers last year that you partnered up with/did business with at all?

I've been working with Facilitate Digital after last year's event over a year ago, but I have also put a few of the people I met at iMedia in touch with the relevant people within Zed and at Zenith Optimedia.

Graeme Wood is Director of Planning at Zed Media and blogs at GeekMedia

The iMedia Summit is going to fundamentally address the core challenges the digital community faces as the relationship rules between media owners, publishers, brands and agencies are fundamentally re-written.

And while the recession is something crucial that must be addressed from a strategic level, it is the increasing role of social media and the value of content that possesses perhaps the greatest challenge from brands to come to terms with.

Hopefully the Summit will connect the right people to make the right decisions about the future of digital communication.

AOP members are eligible for a £300 discount to attend the event - more details.

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