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Local ad industry feels squeeze

PERTH’S advertising industry will be reduced to a handful of major players in the next ten years according to 303 Advertising managing director Stephen Wells.

Mr Wells said agencies’ abilities to consolidate information into a single communication proposition would be one of the things that determined their survival.

He said commercial television stations Channel 7 and Channel 10 were creating satellite network offices in Perth and bolstering resources in the eastern States.

“TV network success or failure is built in the eastern States,” Mr Wells said.

“Even so, the change won’t have much of an effect on us.”

Mr Wells said increasing commercial globalisation had drawn many companies away from Perth.

More resources now seem to be concentrated in head offices rather than branch offices.

Mr Wells said improved communications technologies had allowed businesses to follow that path.

“Theoretically, those technologies should remove the tyranny of distance that WA-based advertising agencies face,” he said.

“The technology is there now to communicate with clients in Sydney in real time. However, I would suggest that things are not going to get any easier locally.”

Mr Wells said new technologies such as digital television would be a big issue.

“Digital, or high definition, TV has the ability to transcend all other transmission technologies,” he said.

“It is also a similar issue for digital radio.

“How we use this technology will come down to the balance of public interest against those who own the technology and those that supply it.

“I believe we’ll be producing digital TV ads within the next five years and the new technology will dovetail with the expansion of the Internet.

“A consumer’s television set will become their portal to the Internet.”

Mr Wells said it was important for companies to have a brand focus to deal with the coming digital regime.

In the area of electronic retailing, consumers are far more likely to go for a known brand than unknown one.

“You want to have a positive orientation towards a company’s brand name prior to purchase,” he said.

“People coming to you expect to purchase what your brand name communicates.”

Mr Wells said 303 was well positioned for the future. He said the agency had deliberately limited itself to sixteen clients and would not let one client dominate its billings.

“We’ve had to say no to a lot of clients but I think that has actually worked for us.”

Mr Wells entered the advertising industry from television, being headhunted away from Channel 9 by WA advertising agency Marketforce.

With Channel 9, his focus had been on emerging technologies including pay-TV and digital TV.

He left Marketforce ten years ago with partners Lindsay Medalia and Ray van Kempen to form 303.

The agency counts BankWest, the WA Tourism Commission and the Office of Road Safety among its client list.

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