What’s on the phone tonight?: Ad agency say mobile phones may overtake TV

by on April 8, 2005

Who competes with whom in today’s communications world? Most policymakers today are just now coming to grips with the fact than old-fashioned wired telephones compete with wireless telephony, and that broadcast TV stations compete with cable and satellite providers. But maybe they should be thinking even more broadly. As reported Wednesday’s Financial Times, BBDO–the world’s third largest ad agency–says that cellphones and other wireless devices may soon overtake television as the biggest advertising medium. Andrew Robertson, BBDO’s CEO, says that the increasing ability of consumers to avoid TV commercials–combined with the tremendous growth of wireless–makes the shift likely. Just one more bit of evidence convergence is real, and that choice and competition is coming from more quarters than we imagine. The development should put paid to any notion that there is any undue market power wielded broadcasters in advertising, and eliminate that as an argument for ownership controls. On the glass-half empty side, it could lead Congress to include cellphones in its ever-expanding plans for indecency restrictions. Stay tuned, this should be fun.

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