Consumer Media Consumption Will Splinter in 2015

Cross-Industry Team Reveals Future of Media Research Findings

New York, February 17, 2010 – In 2015 consumers will be more in control of a fragmented media marketplace than they are today and will compartmentalize their media consumption habits into segments that align with their attention spans, personal tastes, information needs and technological savvy.

These findings and more about the role media could play in consumers’ lives five years from now are presented in a comprehensive new report called Media 2015: The Future of Media, which was commissioned by a powerhouse triumvirate of client, agency, and media companies: Unilever, Mindshare, and ESPN.

Based on the time-honored strategic tool of scenario planning, the report not only seeks to predict the future realities of media but also explores tough questions on how advertisers and the communi¬cations industry must evolve in order to successfully target different groups and get the most from their marketing dollars.

“In an environment where connecting with consumers becomes the paramount challenge, it is more important than ever for us as a brand marketer to explore consumer behavior and media interaction," said Unilever’s North America media director Rob Master. "Even though the future may be unpredictable, it is not usually random or chaotic. In this way, scenario planning allows us to understand how media, and consumer reaction to it, might look in 2015 and what our strategy should be.”

Media 2015 defines four possible future scenarios in which consumers’ appetites for media range from voracious to anemic while the sources of information they turn to stretch from many to few. The four scenarios are not exclusive of one another, but together form pieces of a possible future of media, evolving differently for varied sectors, audience groups and geographies. They are:

  • Tons of Twitter is a future where media access is unbridled and consumer attention is highly fragmented. Consumers frequently access information and entertainment, communicate with others and express themselves, and they do this across a wide range of sources and applications seamlessly from multiple locations. Because of the always-on nature of this scenario, there is an expectation that services, promotions and communications from brands will be tailored to time and place.
  • Portal of Me is a scenario in which media access always remains on, but consumer attention is narrowed and focused. While media is a constant companion for consumers, it is customized and filtered by third parties that tailor the information based on preferences stated and learned. Although privacy and control are trade-offs in this scenario, consumers know the value of their data, and trust and loyalty run strong. Brands are challenged by being on the outside of consumer media bubbles, but there is great opportunity for those that are permitted access.
  • Media Buffet is a future of highly fragmented consumer attention and restrained media access as consumers dip in and out of media, taking whatever catches their eye. They use multiple devices to sample multiple sources, but their appetites are limited, possibly due to a lack of trust in media and marketers. Though consumers are careful about whom they trust; they will draw on media industry and user-developed content even-handedly if it helps them get the information or entertainment they need. Brand marketers are challenged to deliver spot-on information via multiple channels.
  • Traditional New Media is the most passive of the scenarios in which consumer attention and media access are limited. Media consumption is habitual and linear, existing among few sources and in its designated time and place. Consumers care about utility and entertainment more than connectivity and engagement, and they expect brand messages to fit into their world.

For the outlined scenarios, the triumvirate sponsors plan to focus primarily on a course of action comprising four basic elements: create dynamic content; aggregate to meet demand; balance data with trust; and integrate media consumption early.

"In many ways the Media 2015 scenarios clearly identify the opportunities before us to work closely with marketers and agencies and to learn from these emerging consumption behaviors right now,” said Eric Johnson, executive vice president, multimedia sales, ESPN. “We serve many types of consumers across every screen—that’s the power of sports. Offering trusted content in multiple delivery formats that reach fans where and how they want is our priority—for our own content and the messages of our advertisers."

Mark Potts of Mindshare’s Business Planning unit added: “Media 2015 spans the media life-cycle—from inception of a brand and its message to execution of creative content to timing and delivery directly to the consumer. This type of unification is becoming more important, as the entire media industry strives to connect with consumers. We are seeing more brands and more networks working together in unique ways.” Read a full copy of the report ( 642KB ) .

About Media 2015

Unilever, Mindshare and ESPN engaged trend research firm The Futures Company to shepherd Media 2015’s scenario planning process during the spring of 2008. The group combined an analysis of third-party research and primary-sourced interviews with 15 media industry experts—all thought leaders in their respective fields, including digital marketing, mobility, consumer trend spotting and media regulation, among others. The output was a list of future media industry certainties and a host of probable driving trends. The insights were then narrowed to a handful of anticipated certainties that are expected to influence consumers’ relationships with media and uncertainties that will affect the impact and direction of the media industry.

About Unilever

Unilever’s mission is to add vitality to life. We meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Each day, around the world, consumers make 160 million decisions to purchase Unilever products. In the United States, the portfolio includes brand icons such as: Axe, Ben & Jerry’s, Bertolli, Breyers, Caress, Country Crock, Degree, Dove personal care products, Hellmann’s, Klondike, Knorr, Lipton, Popsicle, Promise, Q-Tips, Skippy, Slim-Fast, Suave, Sunsilk and Vaseline. All of the preceding brand names are registered trademarks of the Unilever Group of Companies. Dedicated to serving consumers and the communities where we live, work and play, Unilever employs more than 12,000 people in both the United States and Puerto Rico – generating nearly $10 billion in sales in 2008. For more information, visit

About ESPN

ESPN, Inc. is the world’s leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of over 50 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of six domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU), ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS and ESPNU HD simulcast services, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (45 networks, syndication, radio, web sites), ESPN Radio,, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN PPV, ESPN Zones (sports-themed restaurants), and other growing new businesses including (Broadband), ESPN Mobile Properties, ESPN on Demand and ESPN Interactive. Based in Bristol, Ct., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.

About Mindshare

Mindshare is a global marketing and media services network with billings in excess of $23 billion (source: RECMA). The network consists of 104 offices in 74 countries throughout the USA, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific; each dedicated to forging competitive marketing advantage for businesses and their brands. Mindshare is a member of WPP, the world’s leading communications service group with $63.5bn in billings (source: RECMA), and is part of GroupM, the world’s leading full service media investment management operation, which was created by WPP Group to oversee its assets in this sector. For more information, please visit:

Dean Mastrojohn

T: +1 201 894 7760

Amy Phillips/ESPN

T: +1 212 456 0226

John Wolfe/Mindshare

T: +1 212 297 7160

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