Media Owner Executives share their BRAVEHEART Moments

"When you begin a new role you have a short period of time to deliver the unvarnished truth.  It requires candor and a need to tell it the way it is. Any sugar coating will worsen it.”

These were just some of the bold words and brave leadership lessons Guardian Media Group’s CEO David Pemsel delivered to an international audience of 180 media and communication executives recently at a client meeting we convened at Gleneagles, Scotland.

Pemsel was reflecting on the Guardian Media Group's successful and recently concluded three-year turnaround plan which he steered. The business, after years of crippling losses, has had three consecutive years of revenue growth and has recently returned to profitability.

Pemsel highlighted the investments made in the organizations digital future centered on a new "relationship strategy" with its readers that has resulted in over 655,000 regular supporters and an additional 300,000 "one-off contributions" by April 2019. Revenue from readers now makes up over half of the Guardian's revenue - helping to fund the award-winning journalism.

Three years ago, the group had just 12,000 annual subscribers. Guardian Media Group now attributes more than 50% of its revenues toward digital and print advertising now accounts for less than 10% of the overall portfolio.

Pemsel wasn’t the only media owner executive who shared their recent experiences and decision points in these turbulent times of media fragmentation. The theme of the meeting - Braver, Bolder - seemed to inspire  speakers from online platforms like Facebook and Google and regional giants like Corus, Multichoice, Channel 4  and Tencent to remark on the lessons they are learning as they use advanced data and insights to deliver results in audience segmentation , cross media measurement, consumer engagement and addressable advertising.

And while perhaps not all our clients have experienced overseeing a smash international hit that the Love Island franchise has become, hearing ITV's Director of Audiences, Neil Mortensen describe how their use of key ratings data helped drive critical programming decisions was relatable to all.  Mortensen shared that during the program’s first season ITV’s deep analysis of its viewer behavior spotted engagement trends that were not easily seen on the surface. The resulting changes made to their program strategy landed successfully and continues across the globe.

Brave leadership lessons and bold case studies were shared throughout the meeting. The opportunity to hear how their peers are leading their media businesses through turbulent change is what continues to make conversations like these hallmarks in any senior media executives calendar.

Please get in touch if you’d like to find out more. 


Steve Davis is Global Product Director for Advertising Intelligence services at Kantar. He leads Kantar’s development work helping clients manage the impact video transformation is having on their business. This is realized through the delivery of multimedia, competitive advertising intelligence applications.

Are you involved in business development, media strategy, planning and activation and/or focused on the emerging media channels of Advanced TV, Paid Social, Search, eCommerce and Digital Video activities? Get in touch with Steve to find out more about how Kantar’s products can help.

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