The number of high ranking executives at the holding company level, willing to step outside the comfort of their well furnished offices to "tell it like it is" are few and far between.

Except for Martin Sorrell.

At a recent UBS Media Week Conference, Sorrell covered topics that ranged from short-sighted media price guarantees (in a volatile market) to digital media and global emerging markets.

Espousing the danger of taking comfort in a 25 percent decline in revenues he suggested those companies would be out of business in three years.
Citing a forecast of a 1 percent global expansion in spending and pointing to Interpublic's forecast of 6 percent growth as "rogue", he suggested the economic climate is "more, less worse".

Turning to the digital landscape as "the driver for growth", Sorrell does not believe firms like Google can sustain long term traction as an advertising company and that the phenomenon of Facebook and Twitter will be short-lived, replaced by the next new social trend.

Sorrell's crystal ball is not that far off.

Price guarantees in this (or any other) economy by ad agencies for media time/space is at best insane. CPMs in the broadcast market have gone up while digital auctions through the on-demand platforms are commanding premiums for hyper-targeted impressions. Betting on media futures is not a good thing.

Twitter recently experienced a drop of 3 million users and activity among current users is declining. Facebook is still bleeding and MySpace is slowly withering away. The social networks have yet to discover the value of audience data applied to the millions of eyeballs they generate. I would venture that applications developed for the Twitter platform are making more money than Twitter ever will.

Reading what is in the cards today, right or wrong, however, will quickly be forgotten in anticipation of the early signs of a modest recovery.

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