A ‘not so new’ age remains new to many
The IAB Forum, arguably the most authoritative event of the year for digital communications, took place last week in Milan. The two day event, with a theme around the new age of comms, held many workshops, presentations and drove the digital and tech news in Italy whilst it was on. For me though, it highlighted that the ‘new age’, which already dominates the global landscape, is still not that common in Italy.
Undoubtedly, the real star of the show was Arianna Huffington, the founder of the popular US news and blog site The Huffington Post. Arianna highlighted that the web represents the future, dominating how people consume news. However, Huffington predicted that print is not going to die, provided that online journalists increase content quality and respect the foundation of traditional journalism: accuracy and the control of facts. Her speech also generated some polemics around the Huffington Post itself.
The current status
In my opinion, the real surprising news stemmed from the figures disclosed during the event, which demonstrated Italy as a nation that is moving in a digital direction. Despite the economic crisis, online advertising has shown a two-digit growth. The figures put online second only to TV, surpassing print and representing 14% of the total investment. Display advertising, rich media and video have been key to this, while investments in search engine marketing are also increasing. It seems that, in a general landscape of crisis and the decrease of traditional advertising investments, the web represents an anchor for the economy, with online at the heart.
My hope is that institutions will recognize the potential and take up the digital challenge. I believe that without a digital education there cannot be any real innovation. And it is innovation that will win the battle against economic crisis.