Paul Howell
Sep 6, 2011

Self-regulation offers best balance in a 'new media world': Omnicom Group's Tim Love

SINGAPORE - Tim Love, CEO of Omnicom Group Asia-Pacific, India, Middle East and Africa, says there are concerns that overregulation of media industries around the world could prove counter-productive.

Tim Love
Tim Love

Speaking to the International Singapore Compact CSR Summit yesterday, Love said media-self regulation was still appropriate in both emerging and developed media markets.

That's despite those markets having been the subject of massive technological change over the past decade.  "We are a world of seven billion people, where five billion are connected by mobile phone, and of these, half are able to connect to the internet without a desktop, laptop or land line," he said in his introductory remarks to a panel discussion on the role of media in CSR. "We are looking at a very different world emerging for consumers and choice."

In fact, Love says it is that very technological change that will keep media owners, marketers, and advertisers in check.

"More than ever before in human history an idea, a claim, or an opinion is more transmittable, more broadly perceivable, more able to be compared with other opinion or imitated," he said. "Today, the first media is people.

"As control shifts to consumers their increased word-of-mouth power renders corporations and brands more accountable than ever before."

But many governments and regulatory bodies are not seeing it the same way. Love acknowledges that some regulation of content is necessary, but warns that too many restrictions on marketing and content could do more harm than good.

"Regulatory restrictions are becoming an increasing consideration to the effective execution of brand-building," he said, citing new regulations in Europe that consider the depiction of women and advertising to children. Developing markets also made mention, in particular the new 'Code of Responsible Marketing' in China.

"This is a big deal," Love said. "China is acknowledging the difficulty of regulating information and marketing practices. Just like any culture, freedom of information access, creates a fertile garden for quick-change artists, shabby real estate practices … and, snake oil salesmen. Even in China."

Love urges all participants to consider the biggest picture possible. "We need a tool that helps us step back from our fishbowl and see the world as a richly diverse collection of individuals.," he said.

"In the stream of communications technology which is ever-flowing, all information flows into and out from individuals, with an undertow of misinformation that has never been stronger.

"And, we all come to the stream with our own beliefs and misunderstandings."


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