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6 surprising things about the media industry

3 min, 44 sec read
9:30 AM | 25 January 2017
by Elspeth Spelzini
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Digital media industry professional, Elspeth Spelzini, now Client Investment Director at Starcom shares six surprising insights about life in the media industry.

I asked friends and colleagues to tell me what they didn’t know about media until they started working in it. The results were very revealing.


“So much is based on experience and other people’s opinion – it made me accept that I didn’t and couldn’t know everything.”

We're used to the idea of “the right answer” after being told that there is one across school, college and university. But one of the best things about media is that it’s subjective. It’s all about insight and strategy.

Someone will always have a different perspective but the wonderful thing is that their opinion is not necessarily more valid than yours just because they’re a media veteran and you’re the new kid. Having an opinion, sticking to your guns and really believing in your recommendations are the things that will stand you in good stead. It’s not about being right or wrong.


“I imagined a psychedelic media world filled with incessant brainstorms, punctuated by lunches aboard full-scale yachts.”

There are some jollies. Some great parties. The opportunity to eat at some restaurants you probably couldn’t afford to eat at otherwise. 

But times have changed and entertainment budgets aren’t what they used to be. In a world of click bait, advert space and freelancing, revenue streams are changing for all media outlets.  There is definitely fun to be had in working in any creative industry, but if you’re considering getting into a career purely for perks, The Wolf of Wall Street DVD may have to do.


“I once read OOH as “oh” as in “Oh my!” in a client meeting. It actually stands for Out Of Home. I was mortified.”

OMG, the media industry loves an acronym! It can be overwhelming, but at least if you’re unsure you can just shout some letters. “Can you get the ATB from GMO for the PPC, SEO and OOH plan ASAP, and check the PO with the AV team. Once they’ve confirmed the TVRs from DDS, send the proposals to AMV BBDO but check the KPIs first.” 

Sometimes the way we communicate makes me feel like a surgeon and other times I just look around and think we must look like idiots.


“And who knew you could track EYEBALLS.”

We can target people by gender and mood by scanning their face. We can target users on Facebook based on the songs they listen to in Spotify. We can serve you advertising based on your heart rate (ok that one’s not quite true, but with the Xbox One it could be very very soon).

There's a whole host of nerdy techniques social media and tech experts are using to target you online - whether that be to sell you something, make you read something or get you to click somewhere, the insider tricks of the trade won't disappoint you.


“We take facts, we transform them, combine them and create something out of them – a wonderful process.”

Media is perceived as all numbers. Facts, figures, hard-nosed scientific stuff like indexes, reach, cost per thousands, impacts. I could go on. But let’s get something straight. In reality, we media bods get to be creative all the time. Creating whole new advertising formats, bespoke campaigns, content, big ideas, problem-solving, and new communication approaches.

If you like being grounded in fact and truthful insight, but also like the idea of taking that insight and turning it into something real and exciting then you belong in one of the many creative media sectors. 


“I can honestly say that I have never booked a campaign which corresponded exactly to the initial brief. Not once.”

Does that freak you out? It shouldn’t because it’s not a bad thing. Actually, when a plan evolves it can improve. You have to roll with the punches because every problem is an opportunity in disguise.

Collaboration is vital, flexibility is key. You can’t be precious. This absence of perfection is also great because perfection stops you from learning and developing; something that's vital in any creative media industry!

If you're thirsty for more information about media, check out our guide to the media industry.

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