After a decade of denial, both mainstream media companies and major marketers are now accepting the facts: The methods by which consumers absorb information and entertainment and the ways they perceive, retain, and engage with brands and brand messages have changed irrevocably. As marketers take notice, their decisions are reshaping the media environment. Magazines are losing advertising to the Web (with total ad revenues declining about 2 percent per year since 1998); radio broadcasters are losing listeners, talent, and revenues to satellite upstarts and iPod playlists. Television networks also see the writing on the wall, as the penetration of digital television heralds the rise of video-on-demand, video downloads, interactive game networks, Internet TV, and other broadcast- and cable-busting enterprises.
Interviews with more than 50 senior marketers and media executives, ongoing research conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA); and analysis of data from a score of research services all gathered from 2005 through early 2006 support the observation that the prevailing attitudes among marketers have shifted. Most have come to accept the signal lesson of what is coming to be called the nonlinear and engagement-focused media environment: Marketing communications must be reborn as a consumer-centered craft.