“Facebook is shifting the way agencies work,” Britton said at a Wednesday panel at Social Media Week in New York. “We’re seeing a crunch from ad tech companies, publishers, [even] other agencies. There used to be a PR, social, mobile agency – they're all going to need to consolidate. … Brands are using ad tech vs. agencies to distribute content now."
As social media’s free ride sputters, agencies have responded in part by looking to publishers to help break through in ways that agencies' and brands' in-house content development efforts fail to do.
“We don’t compete with VICE, but many [publishers and platforms] are saying, ‘We’ll give you the creative for free if you buy our media.’ VICE and BuzzFeed can say, ‘We know our audience better than anyone – let’s create content together,’” said Britton.
This might be for the best. “What brand’s webisode have you ever watched?” he added.
SMG's Weinstein struck a similar chord. “Brands were creating all of this original content, but now there’s this tendency where they have the content, but it’s not getting distributed at any meaningful scale,” she said. “We’re now saying, ‘It’s about identifying the right content brands can leverage to connect with consumers.’"