Media Leaders and EU Politicians at European Parliament Agree on Importance of Advertising -19/10/11

Representatives of the European media and advertising industry – including the Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT), the Association of European Radios (AER), the European Publishers’ Council (EPC), the European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA), the association of television and radio sales houses (egta), the European Magazine Media Association (EMMA), the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA), the IAB Europe and the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) – met at the European Parliament today, with high level decision and policy makers from the European Parliament and from the Commission as well as with industry senior executives, to share their vision of Europe 2020, the European Union’s growth strategy, and to discuss how advertising could be more effectively used in order to catalyse growth, jobs and competitiveness.

The event was hosted by MEP Nadja Hirsch and introduced by Reinhard Buescher, Head of Unit for Support for Innovation from the European Commission. The opening presentation by McKinsey&Company entitled “Advertising and Economic Growth”, based on preliminary findings of the McKinsey Global Institute research reminded the audience that while it is a stylized fact that the state of the economy influences the amount spent on advertising, there is also a reverse cause-and-effect whereby advertising acts as a stimulus to both company performance as well as macroeconomic growth. According to the preliminary findings, “advertising’s contribution to economic growth is on average about 10-15% and may have been contributing as high as 20% of total economic growth in the past 10 years for the G20 countries. In addition, the report shows that digital advertising boosts the impact on economic growth, mostly through indirect effects with other investments in the economy”.

Proceedings then followed with panel discussion featuring industry leaders. In today’s uncertain economic context and with the growth strategy of the European Commission in mind, the panellists emphasised advertising’s leading role in helping to deliver Europe 2020’s ambitious goals for a “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth”. They also put forward the view that advertising is an essential source of revenue for the European media sector and that it contributes to ensuring high-quality content, as well as supporting the independence, pluralism and diversity of the European media landscape. They pointed out that advertising finances innovation in the media across all platforms, therefore offering citizens a constantly growing array of media choices (VOD, catch-up, mobile news services, digital magazines, podcasts etc.). Finally, associations called on politicians and regulators to establish a flexible regulatory environment by reminding the audience that self-regulation has been the ongoing driver of the responsible and sustainable approach developed by the advertising industry. They also insisted that at a time when Europe (and the Euro) desperately needs every catalyst for growth and competitiveness to avoid triggering a global economic crisis, full consideration ought to be given to how advertising’s proven role in driving growth, innovation and competitiveness can be encouraged.

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