Year In Review: Industry leaders on what 2022 has looked like in sales

year in review

Mediaweek speaks to Danny Lavell, Kurt Burnette, and Luke Minto

As the year comes to a close and 2023 looms on the horizon, it’s time to pause and look back at the successes of a year that wasn’t necessarily predicted to end as well as it has.

Mediaweek spoke to Danny Lavell (GM sales NSW, News Corp), Kurt Burnette (chief revenue officer, Seven), and Luke Minto (group commercial director, Nova Entertainment) to get their thoughts on the year that was, and what comes next.

What have your key highlights of 2022 been?

Lavell: “Not too long ago, we were all in lockdown and working from home. I look after a pretty large team, so getting them through this year and the back end of last year – transitioning from their homes, units, caravans, cars or wherever they were working from and getting them back into the office. 

“The highlight for me as a sales leader would be bringing the people back into the office, sharpening them up in terms of their skills and getting them work-ready again, after a long period of working from home. The work that we’ve done for our clients would be second, and third would be the results of our business – some of the work we’ve done with our clients and agencies has been exceptional this year.”

Burnette: “My highlights of the year would include the 2022 Commonwealth Games. It brought back the wonderful Tokyo 2020 Olympic memories and created quite a few of its own inspiring wins and stories. With the seamless integration of para sports into the competition, it once again proved what a truly incredibly powerful and inclusive event it is.

“After the huge interest in the Commonwealth Games and the current FIFA 2022 World Cup, we are excited to have a history-making home FIFA 2023 Women’s World Cup next year in July and August, so there will be a whole lot more huge cultural moments to come.

“While not a highlight as such, the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, was a significant moment that moved me in a way I did not think it would. And judging by record audience in Australia and across the globe, coupled with the way it was watched on linear TV, connected TVs and devices, it was recognition of the evolution of how we consume moments in history forever.

“A further highlight is the progress we have made as an industry in areas of sustainability. It is a long journey ahead, but it feels like there has been real progress by all media to help create awareness and change people minds and perceptions, and turn that into meaningful change for good. Not by scorecards to measure who is doing what, but by meaningful action and change.

“Another special highlight is the market returning to some resemblance of normality, with more face-to-face interactions and the ad industry getting back to some more of the fun side of the business, proving that together is still where the best ideas and most effective ideas and connections are made. Long may it continue.”

Seven’s Commonwealth Games coverage

Minto: “After a challenging couple of years, 2019 can finally be left in the past. 2022 will be forever known as the ‘return to normal’ and the new benchmark for revenue budgeting in most businesses. 

“It’s been great to be able to interact with our teams again in person and see the positive frame of mind that comes from working together and creating compelling, award-winning content that resonates with our audiences and clients.”

How much of an impact has economic uncertainty had on sales this year?  

Lavell: “It has been uncertain in calendar year 22, but we’ve had record spending, we’ve had incredible results, and News Corp has never put more revenue through our newspapers and our website. It’s been a really poignant time. 

“It’s a complex business, and there are many, many different parts that make up our company. Our job is to make sure that our sales teams are easy to trade with, we create great value, and we keep providing really sound solutions for clients – whether it is boom time or whether it be in times where it might be a little bit negative or pessimistic.”

Burnette: “There have been multiple and mixed lead indicators creating, not what I would call uncertainty in 2022, but caution. From COVID supply chain issues to the horrors and far-reaching impact of war, to now interest rates and global slowdowns. They all lead to caution and volatility. But despite all that, this year will be seen as a record year in advertising. However, the impact to the economy, perhaps not fully felt in 2022, may manifest itself to feel like uncertainty to start 2023.”

Minto: “There was only upside for audio businesses in 2022 with growth in audience, investment and revenue. As much as the ‘head winds’ are real, there is still work to be done and our team have been brilliant at executing and building trust in uncertain times.

“Predicting the future continues to be challenging, but despite the end of financial year, election slow down and global uncertainty, predictions have mostly been wrong in terms of growth for audio, with solid gains in audiences having resulted in greater revenue opportunities.”

fitzy and wippa

Nova’s Fitzy and Wippa

What are your thoughts on the current state of the industry?

Lavell: “The number one soundbite I hear coming back from clients and agencies is about maintaining value. There’s a lot of inflation at the moment from traditional media companies, and we all know that getting eyeballs is sometimes a challenge. 

“It’s been good to deliver deflation, and I think News Corp has done an incredible job. It’s nice to be here delivering clients and agencies deflation, we’ve met the market with our pricing and we’ve got growing websites, subscribers, and brands within our portfolio.”

Burnette: “I believe we are experiencing the equivalent of the industrial revolution of video. Although the industrial revolution occurred over 200 years ago, it is a period that left a profound impact on how people lived, and the way businesses operated. Like it did then, this activity will help increase innovation that will result in revolutionising new ways of working and trading with the combination of linear TV, BVOD and other screens as we shed uncertainty and speed into what we believe will be a return to growth in the second  half of 2023 into a booming start and full year 2024.”

Minto: “The competitive nature of media continues to ensure we have a healthy industry but the resilience of audio in puts us in a good place.  Client expectations are always linked to results, so if we continue to demonstrate value for services we deliver, we will grow together.”

Looking ahead, what do you think the key trends of 2023 are?

Lavell: “Quarter three is the quarter I’m looking towards as the one that will be really interesting. Cost of living, interest rate hikes – I’m not sure they have bitten fully yet.

“For us, it’s about content, commerce, and having a point of differentiation. Covid has changed the way that we’ve been able to get in front of clients and agencies, and that’s going to remain a really interesting point – how we come out of this lockdown, how we talk to our audiences, how we communicate with our clients, and work with our agencies and our partners. 

“I think the biggest challenge will be inflation and navigating the inflation conversation.”

news corp

Burnette: “The key trends will be the return of the travel category and the big brand creative for cut-through. Along with the continued growth of premium video. The industry itself will continue to look to solve the challenges in measurement, attribution, and efficiency, with even more focus on automation and the acceleration of the way media is created, transacted, measured and the user experience. We will also see even more consolidation for scale using audience-led decisions across screen to reach people as fragmentation continues. The UX or user experience, not just content, will be a key factor more than it ever has.

“As trials of new ways and media mix succeed and fail with equal fervour, new ways of working will be discovered and actioned. It will be a time to embrace change.

“The industrial revolution of video is here. Whatever happens It is an exciting time to be in media and even more exciting to be in content creation that is connected to mass and addressable audience through linear and premium video products on demand.”

Minto: “There will be a trend toward job security based on the cyclical economic shifts so I believe employee attrition at good workplaces will decline from 2021 highs. There is no doubt that consumer attention in all mediums will be scrutinised and some platforms will see growth whilst other are rationalised for their value to the marketing mix in effectiveness. With a greater focus on relationships, I’m looking forward to a move away from video calls as people see the value and importance of interacting and pitching in person.”

Top Image: Danny Lavell, Kurt Burnette, Luke Minto

To Top