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Facebook and Google have ‘won the battle’ against publishers and are now coming for media agencies

Goobook – the collective behemoth of Facebook and Google – is simply too big for publishers to compete with and could also replace media buyers and planners, the industry has been warned.

Goobook: Unbeatable

In an emotive stance against the internet giants at Mumbrella360 Asia, Olivier Burlot, a Singapore-based publisher, said despite scandal after scandal, publishers just kept feeding the monster.

“You know funnily enough, you talk about transparency, and Facebook two days ago announced that 207 million accounts were fake or duplicated. Was it a scandal? It was not. So, I was like, ‘If any of us had this kind of big lie, 207 million are fake, it would be a big scandal’. With them, it is not,” the president of the Media Publishers Association of Singapore and CEO of Heart Media said.

No one, he said, can compete with a monster of that size, particularly when everyone else – including the traditional publishing giants – is small and niche by comparison.

“Yes we have lost the battle against Facebook. We have lost the battle against Google. Today they are so huge that for us, it’s just impossible to compete.”

Only the bravest, he said, would dare to go up against the monster.

“We have some people smart enough, like in London, Havas advertising agency, said ‘Enough Google. We place our clients’ money in Google and we face Daesh beheading people’,” he said.

Burlot (second from left) on stage at Mumbrella360 Asia

“We are just feeding these giants, these monsters, who don’t produce content. We are the ones who produce content… and basically…. for us today, we have kind of lost.”

He said being a publisher in 2017 was “frankly super hard”, but the industry had to better position itself in front of advertisers in order to survive.

“We still want revenues. We still want ad dollars. [So we need to tell our advertisers] ‘Look let’s get back to basics. What is the value of the audience we have currently?’ And on our side, from print [we have] a lot of one-to-one, a lot of events. With digital a lot of companies are trying to go beyond the banner, beyond the very simplistic message and trying to do a lot of videos, trying to do a lot of behind the scenes.”

He also issued a warning to media agencies about the crushing power Facebook and Google could have on them. Publishers and agencies should be on the same team though, he said.

“We want you to do well. We want you as agencies to survive. I don’t want to be dealing with Facebook and Google who have their own internal teams today doing media planning, doing media buying themselves, which is a bigger threat for you,” he said.

“I don’t want to be dealing with Facebook or Google in the next year or two years. It’s very simple.”

Anyone who questioned the dominance of Google and Facebook compared to the strong agencies and networks of yesteryear, only need to look to Cannes to see where the power lies, he said.

“They were the ones with the big yachts. They were the ones doing huge parties and many of the big agencies were super low profile. The risks are there and this is major. I don’t want to be dealing with them. I really respect agencies. We respect agencies.”

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