Whether it is AT&T buying Time Warner, Comcast and Disney bidding for 21st Century Fox, or the earlier roll-up of Verizon, Yahoo and AOL, one thing is clear – US media and technology consolidation is in full-swing.

One more thing that’s in full-swing? The arrival of consulting firms to the advertising and marketing party. For months, ad land has been attuned to the appearance of big consultants aiming to capitalise on ad agencies’ troubles.

At the nexus of these two trends, Beet.TV asked one Big Four consultant to opine on the current state of media land.

“We’re seeing two different formulas happen,” says Janet Balis, global advisory leader for media and entertainment at EY (Ernst & Young).

“On the one hand, we’re seeing horizontal integrations, where people are leveraging scale across a broader portfolio of assets so they can gain scale with audience and offer scale to advertisers. On the other hand, I think we’re seeing vertical integration as a major theme.”

Balis was speaking at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, where the festival chairman noted the pitch-up from advisories like EY.

Philip Thomas said they had not “taken over”, but were more visible.

For EY’s Balis, vertical integration – through which firms from previously-disparate disciplines are combined – is key.

“Three things need to come together – content, data and distribution,” she says.

“Ultimately the notion of that vertical integration will continue to be critically important because having data content and distribution not only allow you to build a direct to customer business, also to build an advertising business.”

Balis was the moderator of the Beet.TV Global Addressable TV Forum presented with Wavemaker.   For more videos from the event, please visit this page.