Skip to main content

What's holding us back from reaching media convergence?

February 11, 2016

Convergence is hands-down the most critical, disruptive trend in our industry today.  It’s generating big budget shifts for agencies.  It’s the root of so many other trends like programmatic, addressable, social TV, and more. These are mere branches that wouldn’t even exist, let alone flourish, without convergence.

But let’s take a step back, because there is still, to this day, disagreement around the actual definition of convergence.  We’re not talking about how TV and video are starting to appear and act similarly.  That is such a small piece (even if it is the most visible) with the greatest current impact.  But what we’re really talking about is the tendency for different advertising inventory types, and systems used, to evolve toward performing similar functions.  This goes across all media types, and all workflows.  It’s holistic.

So, what do people truly care about when it comes to convergence?  Planning, execution, and analysis.  Across all media types, the workflow remains overall the same: plan, pre buy, order inventory, track/monitor performance, and reconcile/prove performance.

In each of these steps, there’s one commonality: the need to establish harmony between the buy and sell sides.  If the buy and sell sides were better aligned, then there could be one common workflow and interface for all media.

So what would it take to get the buy and sell side to coexist?  Data needs to emerge that will enable individual media types to be measured on a common metric.  Instead of impressions vs. GRPs, there would be one new metric, defined in a common way across media types.

Ultimately, the buy and sell technologies must evolve in lock-step with the research data and inventory, so that both can plan, price, negotiate, and transact in an even fashion.  When you add up all of the time invested in separate processes and workflows within each media type, it totals thousands of years – that’s a lot of history and learned behavior to adjust.  The silver lining is that each media type has already evolved to share best common practices - so the path leading to media convergence is becoming clear. 


What do you think is holding us back from reaching true media convergence? Who will emerge as the convergence leaders in our time? Share your thoughts in response to this blog post by emailing us at