Research Briefing: Meetings and dealmaking are top of mind for execs headed to Cannes

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In this edition of the Digiday+ Research Briefing, we examine how meetings and dealmaking are top of mind for ad industry professionals as they head to Cannes, how LinkedIn’s Wire Program may yield new ad revenue for publishers, and how OpenAI continues to sign content licensing and tech development deals with publishers, as seen in recent data from Digiday+ Research.

40% of ad industry pros plan to attend Cannes

Members of the advertising industry are heading to the South of France for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity next week. And, according to a recent Digiday+ Research survey of agency, brand, retailer, publisher and technology professionals, more industry members are planning on attending the event, with meetings and dealmaking in mind this year.

Digiday’s survey found that 40% of ad industry members have plans to attend Cannes this year. This is a significant jump from last year, when not even one-quarter of agency, brand, retailer, publisher and tech pros (22%) said they were planning on attending the event. And, one-third of ad industry members (33%) said that meetings are the most important reason to head out to the French Riviera, followed by 26% who said dealmaking is the most important reason to attend Cannes.

If you’re one of the ad industry pros jetting off for Cannes, Digiday prepared a guide with wisdom from Cannes veterans to help inform on everything from packing and scheduling to on-the-ground behavior. Some suggested dos and don’ts from those who’ve seen it all before:

Do: If you’re a judge, do have the utmost integrity. This is the highest profile position you’ll ever be in when it comes to judging a work show. You are picking the work that’s going to be part of a time capsule for the rest of time, for lack of a better phrase. So it is important that you take it seriously, you watch all the case studies, you treat all the work with respect too. — Rob Reilly, global chief creative officer, WPP

Don’t: Waste the time you will inevitably be spending in lines. Some of the most interesting people you will meet might be standing right next to you, so say hi, and make random connections — you never know where they might go. — Jamie Shuttleworth, chief strategy officer, Dentsu Creative

To stay in the loop on all things Riviera, sign up for the Digiday Cannes Briefing, which will keep you informed with all the industry buzz surrounding this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Insights and stats:

  • “Have clear goals. Before my trip last year, I made sure there were three things I wanted to hit. I was very clear about these three goals. I wanted to meet clients, I wanted to meet more senior level people and I wanted to have fun.” — Grace Teng, Chief Media Officer, Scale by Zambezi
  • For Cannes newcomers: Take your socializing to new heights at the Cannes Connect Bar, perched atop the Palais with sweeping vistas and sponsored networking events. Or, for a change of scenery, venture to the rooftops along the Croisette for a taste of Cannes from above.
  • Cost is keeping nearly half of industry members from Cannes. Forty-two percent of agency, brand, publisher and tech pros said cost is the main reason they’re not going to Cannes this year, while 27% said the value of the event is keeping them from going.

Read more about ad industry pros’ Cannes attendance plans

Digiday+ Research Briefing

LinkedIn’s Wire Program launched its beta test phase last week. The Wire Program, which enables media companies to sell 3- to 15-second-long pre-roll ads on their editorial video, is part of LinkedIn’s larger investment into news. Prior to its launch in beta, executives from Bloomberg, Reuters, Forbes and The Wall Street Journal all said they sold ads through the program, signing on anywhere from three to 35 clients. According to a Q4 2023 Digiday+ Research survey of publisher professionals, more than half of publishers (56%) grew their ad products last year. 

Insights and stats:

  • The increase, however, wasn’t an overwhelming one as far as how many ad products publishers added. Fifty-three percent of publisher pros said the number of ad products they offered increased only somewhat in 2023. In comparison, only 3% said their ad products grew by a significant amount.
  • On the flip side of that, any decreases in ad products offered by publishers last year appear to have been fairly minimal in terms of how many products were cut. Not one respondent to Digiday’s survey said the number of ad products their companies offered decreased significantly last year.
  • “Our goal [for LinkedIn’s Wire Program] will be to drive performance for our clients while maximizing our own revenue potential. I expect us to optimize in a way that drives efficiency; however, the old adage stays true, you get what you pay for, and in this case it will be premium editorial content and LinkedIn’s [first-party] data. Win-win especially in an open internet flooded with misinformation and MFA content.” — Josef Najm, director of programmatic and partnerships at Thomson Reuters

Read more about how publishers are growing ad offerings

Earlier this month, OpenAI announced content licensing and tech development agreements with Vox Media and The Atlantic. This comes on the heels of recent deals with IAC’s Dotdash Meredith and The Wall Street Journal’s parent company News Corp. The deals mean publishers are getting compensated for their content being used to feed and train large language models. But the agreements are also getting a fair amount of criticism, including whether publishers are getting paid enough and whether they’re signing away their most valuable assets.

Insights and stats:

  • “The recent agreements between AI developers and publishers represent a positive step toward recognizing the critical role publishers play in AI training. However, it’s important to consider the long-term viability of these partnerships. Once an AI company licenses an archive and completes initial model training, there is little incentive for the company to renew data access agreements.” — Francesco Marconi, co-founder of Applied XL
  • A whopping 91% of publisher professionals said in Q3 2023 that AI will be the technology that has the biggest impact on their businesses in the next few years. Seventy-eight percent of brand pros and 76% of agency pros said the same.
  • Publishers and brands dramatically upped their use of AI last year. Less than half of publisher pros and brand pros said in Q2 2023 that they were using AI. By Q3 2023, 89% of publisher pros and 80% of brand pros said they were using AI.

Read more about publishers’, brands’ and agencies’ use of AI


See research from all Digiday Media Brands:

Digiday+ Research

Glossy+ Research

Modern Retail+ Research

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