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The Future of Media Research - MediaTel Event report

AOP attended the latest Mediatel Seminar on 2nd April to keep up to date with the debate around the challenges facing research in the current climate. The theme of the morning was how the media industry can maximise the contribution of research despite the budgetary pressures on investment.

This summary concentrates on the discussion among the first panel, chaired by Torin Douglas, BBC and comprising Sheila Byfield of Mindshare, Daniel Brennan from Thinkbox, Mediaedge:CIA's David Fletcher and Jennie Beck of Kantar Media.

The recessesion may at first glance appear to constrict opportunities for research, but the positive side of the downturn is how the focus on research will have to shift to new ways of working. One such move is towards a more collaborative approach, joining together those with a vested interest to share the investment needed to make projects happen, even if those parties might be business competitors.

Media companies should expect research providers to raise the bar in terms of innovation and new solutions rather than simply doing what they've always done.

Good ideas will surface and others will lose out. As Sheila Byfield pointed out, recession encourages innovation.

It will also be a time for taking risks and trying new technologies to find the nuggets of new insight, according to David Brennan, while research will also need to prove its accountability, which new technologies can allow, said Jennie Beck.

Research will need to become increasingly consumer-centric, rather than following a 'media silo' approach. An example of this is how the combination of web analytics and survey data together provide a more rounded understanding of user behaviour than can be achieved following a single source approach. Currently they are rarely used together to tell the whole story.

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