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Manuel Sala, Director General of OJD, participates in a new PROA Comunicación Observatory

“The audit of media coverage and audience is required by advertisers, and quality content must be paid for,” acknowledged Manuel Sala, general manager of Información y Control de Publicaciones S.A. (OJD), at the PROA Comunicación Observatory, held at Degussa’s headquarters. “This is something that is already working in other countries,” he added, while expressing his conviction that “The media that makes an attractive product will be profitable.”

This was one of the premises he defended in the course of his speech, in which he began by explaining what the OJD is and its areas of action, who its main shareholders are, what its objectives are, how it works, the reason for the need for reliable dissemination and audience data, in addition to explaining the situation in other countries. And, since advertisers are the ones most interested in having correct and audited data on the media in which they are going to place their brands, he went into great detail about how advertising works. At that point, he alluded to a quote from marketing pioneer John Wanamaker, “Half the money I spend on advertising goes to waste; the problem is that I don’t know which half.”

In this sense, he pointed out that “Any advertiser can trust information with an OJD seal”, a private and independent company, founded in 1964, member of the IFABC (International Federation of Audit Bureaux of Circulations), which controls more than 450 titles and 370 websites, and whose shareholders are present advertisers as well as advertising and media agencies. Its main objective is “that any company or institution can rely on the dissemination data offered to the market on the reliability and effectiveness of the media in Spain,” which it does by adapting to the market and its digital evolution and ensuring transparency in the sector.

He stressed the importance of media planning and, by way of example, showed a simple 20th century marketing plan, in which the only decisions to be made were what part of the investment was for the press, what part for radio and what part for television. And he compared this with the situation in the 21st century, where, in addition to the three classic media, digital media (with both display and search advertising), social networks and digital outdoor advertising appear with a strong presence in the form of interconnected circles. Today, he said, advertising “requires media planning that is made more complex by fragmented audiences and doubts about new digital media data.”

Monthly reports

OJD publishes its written and digital media reports on a monthly basis and the certifications twice a year. Its CEO supports his motto, ‘OJD data you can trust’, to the very end. “On one occasion we had to expel a customer because he was buying traffic,” he admitted. However, he also pointed out that this is not the norm and was optimistic that advertisers are giving more and more importance to the codes of good practice of the media in which they insert their campaigns. He remarked, “They have realized that it is safer for their brands, and no advertiser wants to make the market cloudy.”  In this sense, he summed up that “The advertiser holds the key to increasing the level of demand.”

However, Manuel Sala pointed out that it is not possible to eradicate fraud 100% “because it is reinventing itself.” But he said that with weapons such as artificial intelligence, which as well as serving to defraud,  is good for fighting crime, compliance with the rules (“few, but if they are complied with”) and consensus on good practices, the situation will improve.

He stopped at institutional advertising, which, in his opinion, should take special care to go “to approved, serious means”, since the use of public resources should be based on objective criteria (audited data) and not in a discretionary manner, since “The media are a basic pillar of democracy.”

The lunch concluded with an interesting debate, in which attendees were interested in the control of audiences of all types of media, but especially digital and television, and the ways in which new generations consume information and leisure.

PROA Observatories on Communication

The Proa Observatories are stable discussion forums with the participation of prominent executives, politicians and professionals. They are born with the vocation of being a laboratory of ideas where a genuine dialogue is fostered to debate current business issues, as well as corporate reputation, brand and public affairs as important elements for the improvement of companies.

Among the personalities who participated in these meetings were the economist Manuel Conthe; the former Minister of Public Administration Jordi Sevilla; the former Minister of Education, Culture and Sport José Ignacio Wert; the writer and priest Pablo D´Ors; the Director of External Communication of Deloitte, Antonio Belmonte; the Director of Communication and Institutional Relations of El Corte Inglés, José Luis González-Besada; the High Commissioner for the Spanish Brand, Caros Espinosa de los Monteros, and the writer and journalist Pilar Urbano, among others.