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Key SA media player hits back at "doom and gloom"

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This week, we hand over the Media Week column to Royce Zygarlicki who takes issue with last week’s assertion that Adelaide’s national significance in the media and advertising industries is in decline. Rather, he argues that digital media is invigorating the local industry.

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The reportedly struggling state of the South Australian economy has been gaining a lot of media coverage in recent months, as has the significance of the media and advertising industry within Adelaide. Stories of doom and gloom and of businesses shutting up shop and moving to the eastern states are easy headlines.

This could not be further from the truth. Yes, the world of media and advertising is going through a rapid period of change, as are many other industries. Agencies and media companies need to evolve and continue to invest in their people and product just like any other business in this fast-moving digital age. Media agencies need to meet their customers’ needs through the creation of new and more addressable products, plus the addition of new roles and smarter, more highly trained and skilled employees.

Luckily, our industry thrives on innovation and business in Adelaide is in fact booming. Figures from Nielsen Media, which monitors advertising expenditure, show that the Adelaide market was worth more than $228 million in the 12 months to June 2017, and agencies in Adelaide have never been stronger. Creative agency Kojo recently reported a 70 per cent increase in revenue across four years and KWP was ranked equal fifth in Australia by US-based bestadsontv.com for its work in 2016 on campaigns such as the Motor Accident Commission and Coopers.

At MEC Adelaide, in the past two years we have attracted clients based in Europe and China, as well as securing new clients from Australia’s eastern states. We have brought specialist media agency work for multiple clients back to Adelaide and launched a start-up that is projected to be a major contributor to the South Australian economy in years to come.

As a direct result of the new business and specialist media work required by clients, MEC has appointed five new staff in the past 12 months with specific skills in the areas of digital strategy, performance, SEO, data and technology, attracting staff from large agencies in Melbourne. Hardly the stuff of economic nightmares.

Seven years ago we had one digital specialist based in our Adelaide office – we now have more than 15. Digital expenditure has grown by 70 per cent in the past five years.

Adelaide also boasts strong media representation from all major media outlets. There are staff located here in Adelaide working for the likes of Nine Network, Yahoo, News Corp, Fairfax and MCN among others, ensuring all local clients have first access to major properties just as they would if they were based in one of the bigger capital cities. Even the likes of Facebook, Google and Snapchat are regularly flying in to meet with our team and our clients.

Naturally, the conversations we are having with clients are also evolving. We are no longer just advising on advertising placement but helping them navigate this exciting new world of data, technology and how they can compete in a global marketplace.

Ensuring our clients have access to the latest tools and knowledge to build their businesses and guarantee they can compete in a global market place is vitally important. We are by no means lagging behind the rest of Australia or the rest of the world.

For example, MEC Adelaide was the first to trial dynamic trading of Network Ten channels late last year and our Search team was one of the first in Australia to deploy Visual Sitelinks on behalf of one of our clients. Currently we are working closely with one of our clients on a data project, which, if adopted, will be a world-first – no other client in its category has embarked on a project of this scale.

The evidence is clear. The Adelaide advertising industry is thriving and talk of doom and gloom has little to do with the facts.

Royce Zygarlicki is managing director of MEC Adelaide.

Media Week is a regular column about the South Australian media, advertising and PR industries.

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