Media & Technology Conference | Key Takeaways

Media & Technology Conference | Key Takeaways

Our 20th Annual Media & Technology Conference was a preeminent, must-attend event for senior executives across the media, marketing, information and technology sectors.  Attendees heard intimate discussions from an array of world class business leaders and executives who shared their experiences managing through today’s fast-paced and rapidly evolving landscape as well as their strategies for success in the year ahead. Nearly 600 attendees joined us with a mixture of world-class founders and entrepreneurs, C-level executives and senior investment leaders creating an energized, vibrant and positive atmosphere once more.

Some of our key takeaways from the day include the following:

As we head into the Spring of 2024 the entrepreneurial spirit of the Founders we have worked with over the years has never been more apparent as companies have emerged from the pandemic with reimagined business models and an eye towards a future that brings both promise and uncertainty.

Human capital and board level cohesion has never been more important to a company’s long-term success.

AI is seen as a disruptive and transformative force of nature across the tech enabled services landscape. Early adoption of this technology is not an option; rapid yet responsible deployment of a test and learn approach is widely seen as the optimal path forward. The complexity and variety of use cases for the technology creates opportunities for consultancies and digital transformation strategists who will chart the path forward.

Data is the fuel that drives innovation. First party data in a post cookie and privacy constrained world is essential. A major shift in power is underway between media companies and retailers as purchase data creates leverage with brand marketers and product manufacturers.

Retail Media has emerged as the hottest subsector in digital and opens the door to a more direct customer and retailer relationship. Omnicom’s recent $850M acquisition of Flywheel, a retail services platform, demonstrates this shift as well as the proliferation of Retail Media Networks that have taken market share in the past year. Walmart’s recent bid for Vizio, a CTV manufacturer with a media business is also a sign of retail’s aggressive move into media.

The transformation of B2B is well underway resulting in the integration of customer touchpoints across the discover, learn, and buy continuum. Technology drives mass personalization, content engages and educates, and experiences provide amplification when integrated into the journey.

Google, Facebook, and Amazon dominate the digital media ecosystem, commanding 65% of digital spend in the U.S. The open market now represents about $14B in digital spend. CTV, online video, and YouTube combined represents $63B (now larger than the $60B linear broadcast market) and growing at a 20% CAGR. Building a business outside these walled gardens can be very difficult, but building capabilities inside them can be very rewarding.

M&A transactions can be complex and unpredictable but one important factor to be thinking about is “data readiness”; the idea here is to understand that a significant portion of your company’s value is determined by the strength of your business metrics, which includes: KPI’s, benchmarks, and of course financials.

Understanding how buyers value your business beyond the bottom-line and well in advance will always pay dividends down the road when it comes time to transact.

In the face of global crises, organizations have honed their crisis management skills adeptly but have neglected long-term strategic planning. Employees want inspiration, clarity regarding the company’s direction, transparency in its journey, and recognition of their contributions. These factors are managed differently when dealing with crises such as Covid. It is crucial to think about how to get back to a long-term strategic planning mindset.

In the era of Gen AI, the technology itself is not a barrier; the critical consideration lies in identifying which problems that technology can address effectively. It is important to be deliberate in selecting the appropriate applications for this technology.

The Corporate Transparency Act, which went into effect on January 1st of this year, requires entities formed by filings with Secretaries of State to submit beneficial ownership information to the Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Exemptions apply to 23 types of entities. However, many exemptions are far from straightforward in their drafting and application. Some examples of exemptions are employee headcount threshold and revenue threshold. This Act should be on all companies’ radars going forward.

Private Equity investors are hungry for deals based on prolonged holding periods for many portfolios. While JEGI CLARITY has executed over 25 deals in the last 15 months, there has been a dearth of deal flow in many sectors.

M&A activity has been markedly down over the last year, primarily attributed to difficult macro-economic conditions, geopolitical uncertainty, a slowdown in tech investments and valuations and a challenging bid ask spread between buyer and seller. Companies that have managed to maintain revenues and/or grow over the last year are in a fantastic position to stand out in a supply-constrained market.

Private Equity and Strategics have scaled up sourcing efforts in an attempt to identify targets, Founders should anticipate a ton of inbound in advance of an active Spring to Summer M&A market. The time value of money and pressure from LP’s will contribute to some harvesting of portfolio gains this year and perhaps reset valuations for the coming year. Net net, there’s a window of opportunity ahead for sellers and buyers alike.

To learn more about our 2024 conference, please visit here. If you have any other questions about our conference, please contact us.

Women in Finance Dinner

Women in Finance Dinner

We were thrilled to hold our Women in Finance dinner last week in London, hosted by Patricia Vicente, UK Director, and Kathleen Thomas, Managing Director in our New York office.  The event brought together an exceptional group of women from the M&A community, alongside senior executives in the digital media and content, marketing, B2B information and events and technology sectors. 

Return to Growth 

The prevailing sentiment among attendees was of cautious optimism for a return to growth in 2024, following a challenging year in 2023.  Encouraging signs, such as high levels of dry powder and approximately 50% of buyout portfolio companies held for over four years suggesting a need to deploy capital and hinted at increased activity in months ahead. 

This was also supported with the consensus that there would be a decline in interest rates in the UK by year end, although expectations tempered with the understanding that they were unlikely to revert to pre-2022 levels, bringing a level of continued pressure on valuations.  It was noted that premium assets were still trading at good multiples but there was hesitancy from sellers about not achieving expectations.  

The Impact of AI 

Discussions turned to AI and its transformative impact on various business models within the marketing services and media sectors, with the conclusion that the events and conference space would be less affected than advertising and marketing sectors.  It was remarked that investor discussions needed to incorporate clear strategies around embracing AI. 

As always, thank you to all of those who attended the Women in Finance dinner.  

If you are interested in attending one of our future events, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

MWC24 | Key Takeaways

MWC24 | Key Takeaways

Author: Patricia Vicente, Director

It was good to be back at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona last week, which once again confirmed its place as the preeminent place for innovation, showcasing the latest developments in mobile technology. Beyond merely presenting cutting-edge innovations, the event highlighted how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming the core fabric of mobile engineering today. From devices demonstrating seamless human-machine interaction to products highlighting intelligent automation, the conference illuminated AI’s pivotal role and how this technology is poised to transform future businesses.

Spending much of my time in the 4YFN (Four Years from Now) area, there was a consensus with Nigel Toon, bestselling author of ‘How AI thinks’, that we are still at the “Pac-Man” phase of AI, with much speculation about what the future will look like, how its adoption will play out in certain sectors, and of course the challenges it raises around privacy and copyright.

I was particularly interested in Sir Martin Sorrell’s session ‘The Interplay of Political Instability, AI, Marketing and Advertising’. He revealed that out of last year’s US$950Bn advertising spend, US$650Bn was allocated to digital media platforms, including Alphabet, Meta, Amazon, Alibaba, Tencent and the TikTok parent company, ByteDance. The irony was not lost on me that while experiencing an average revenue growth of 10-12%, they had concurrently reduced their marketing budgets significantly. The role of the middleman in marketing services was also questioned when innovations like Sora, powered by OpenAI, had the capacity to translate text directly into images.

­­Sorrell gave examples of the impact AI will have on the future of advertising such as its ability to scale creative assets by three to fourfold, and how it will expand the media and planning network exponentially – both resulting in hyper-personalization.  However, he continued to emphasize how human invention and creativity remain indispensable.

If you are interested in exploring key themes arising from AI developments in select sub-sectors, please visit our insights page.

For further information or to have a discussion about the market more broadly please contact us.

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day #inspireinclusion

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity and significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality.

International Women’s Day (IWD) provides a key opportunity for organizations worldwide to reinforce and amplify their ongoing commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion through actively forging women’s advancement. 

By championing inclusion, we at JEGI CLARITY harness the full potential of diverse perspectives.

International Women’s Day provides an important opportunity to fundraise for female-focused charities, help raise their visibility, and amplify awareness raising efforts. If you would like to find out more, please click here.

Media & Technology Conference

Media & Technology Conference

Location:  The Pierre: 2 East 61st Street at Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10065

The 20th Anniversary Event
Two Decades of Exceptional Evolution

Our 20th annual Media & Technology Conference was a preeminent, can’t-miss event for nearly 600 senior executives across the media, marketing, information and technology sectors.

The theme of the conference this year was Two Decades of Exceptional Evolution. Attendees heard intimate discussions from an array of world class leaders and executives who shared their experiences managing through today’s fast-paced and rapidly evolving landscape as well as their strategies for success in the year ahead.

2024 Conference Materials

2024 Conference Speakers

Sejal Amin, Chief Technology Officer | Shutterstock

Keia Clarke, Chief Executive Officer | New York Liberty

Laura Correnti, Founder & CEO | Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment

Elizabeth Deeming, Chief Executive Officer | MVF

Bob Dethlefs, Founder & Former CEO | Evanta; Chairman | CyberRisk Alliance

Robert Dickey, Partner | Morgan Lewis

Patrick Donoghue, National Managing Principal, Corporate Finance & Transaction Advisory Services; Private Equity Industry Leader | BDO

Kerry Gumas, Founder & CEO | Metacomet Advisors

Heather Holst-Knudsen, Founder & CEO | H2K Labs

Nikesh Kalra, Chief Operating Officer | DeepMedia

Doug Manoni, Founder & CEO | CyberRisk Alliance

Philipp Mueller, Chief Analyst & Product Officer | Outsell

Ilya Meyzin, Head of Data Science | Dun & Bradstreet

Duncan Painter, Chief Executive Officer | Flywheel

Scott Peters, Co-Founder & Managing Partner | Growth Catalyst Partners

Gemma Postlethwaite, Chief Executive Officer | GLG

John Rose, Managing Director & Senior Partner | Boston Consulting Group

Breanna Stewart, Power Forward for the NY Liberty, 2x WNBA Champion, 2x Olympic Gold Medalist, 2x WNBA MVP, 5x WNBA All-Star, 4x NCAA Champion

Anthea Stratigos, Co-Founder & CEO | Outsell

Sean Sullivan, Managing Director & Head of Direct Lending Origination | Morgan Stanley

Andrew Tisdale, Senior Managing Director & Co-Head of Europe | Providence Equity

Mark Williams, Chief Revenue Officer, Americas | Datasite

Bill Wise, Co-Founder & CEO | Mediaocean

We would like to thank our valued, blue-chip sponsors for supporting the event