PRIME Manifesto

PRIME Manifesto

May 25, 2021 - ICA Launch Media Focussed Initiative with ICA PRIME

PRIME - Purpose and Responsibility in Media Economics & The PRIME Ecosystem

The ICA takes action to push for greater corporate social responsibility in media. The first step in this initiative is launching PRIME – Purpose & Responsibility in Media Economics.

PRIME provides the structure and foundation for everything media-related in the ICA’s mission to Amplify, Protect and Transform agencies and communications.

PRIME seeks to motivate action, create community and empower authentic local and diverse media through workshops and round tables around key themes in the media industry. PRIME works to the benefit of members and advertisers.

The ICA will be inviting member agency c-suite leaders to take a seat on the PRIME Leadership Group. Their mandate is to determine the actions and the metrics needed to validate community participants.

This action is overdue and necessary. We are living in a time when trust, transparency, truth, institutions, governments, and democracy are shifting underneath us. Where consumers spend their money on products and services, matters, where advertisers spend their media dollars, matters.  The principles of media economics help us to understand who is spending and where, and our work to position Canada’s media industry as more socially responsible is a major step forward in establishing a more trusted, open, and representative environment for all.

Where did we begin?

Last year, in the storm of COVID-19 misinformation, the murder of George Floyd and the US election, the ICA reached out to journalist and author David Moscrop.  On the back of his 2019 book Too Dumb for Democracy? he joined ICA members for a presentation and discussion on why we make bad political decisions and how we can make better ones.  Fundamental to this was expenditure on local news media. See session here.

As a follow us we asked associate professor of finance at University of Illinois Chicago, Dermot Murphy to speak to our leaders.  Murphy has shown how local newspapers play an important watchdog role for governments, highlighting that in areas where a local newspaper has closed, taxes per person are, on average, USD$85 higher. Lack of oversight from reporters leads to factors such as higher government wages, insurance costs and increased interest charges on borrowing.  Also joining the discussion was Ogilvy’s Rory Sutherland, looking at the behavioural economics around media choices and opportunities.

Finally, global research company YouGov carried out some research that shows the economic realities for local news – demonstrating the difficulty of encouraging people to pay for these trusted local sources. While a combined 63% are comfortable with some level of paywall for news, a significant 37% think it’s unreasonable to block any news content behind a paywall.

A round up session on all of this can be viewed here.

The global agenda

The ICA’s PRIME leadership will be actively involved in initiatives and best practice from around the world.  Through the global agency alliance, VoxComm, the group will link with the equivalent media future’s groups in over 35 countries.  PRIME will also represent Canada as part of the World Federation of Advertisers’ Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), as well as the Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media (PRAM).  It will continue to support and direct the Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada (DAAC) and AdStandards, here at home.

Launching: The PRIME Ecosystem

The first role of PRIME will be to launch Canada’s the PRIME ecosystem.  In a Canadian first, PRIME will become a transparent ecosystem of interlinked businesses to drive support of local and diverse media.

Key to this will be three groups of businesses.

  1. Media owners
  2. Agencies
  3. Clients

Media Owners

We will be asking local and diverse media outlets to apply to become recognized members of the PRIME economy.  The PRIME leadership will look to verify their ownership, content agenda and staffing in an authentic and transparent way.  In essence, PRIME will ask all Canadian businesses that feel they meet the PRIME criteria to apply to be recognized and, more importantly, supported as authentic local and diverse media organisations.  We will look to drive budget in their direction.


ICA member agencies will have a pivotal role in the PRIME ecosystem program.  By joining the PRIME leadership group, they will assess and direct the criteria for recognition of local and diverse media organisations.  They will also have direct contact with these businesses, the aim being to create a symbiotic relationship.  Agencies building deeper knowledge of local and diverse media, as well as helping participating media organisations to bring their services to market, driving greater success in their income and impact.  This growth in understanding of local and diverse media will add to the consultative capabilities that agencies provide their clients.


Ultimately it will be the dollars from media budgets that will drive change, so PRIME will be asking brands to join the PRIME ecosystem, in doing so they must spend a percentage of their current budgets with PRIME recognized local and diverse media organisations.  PRIME member agencies will work with them to verify this expenditure, as well as its impact in delivering greater corporate social responsibility through media spend.

Check out these ICA Media Futures Group video sessions on the case for supporting local media:

Too Dumb for Democracy Session
David Moscrop, Author of Too Dumb for Democracy? Why We make bad political decisions and how we can make better ones & Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Ottawa, discusses how our decision-making abilities affect our democracy and what we can do about it!

Governance Dies in Darkness
A discussion of research paper Financing Dies in Darkness? with one of its authors, Dermot Murphy, Professor of Finance at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Behavioural Science and Media
A discussion with Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman, Ogilvy UK

YouGov Survey Session