Welcome to Market Revolution's blog



Thank you for visiting Market Revolution's blog.

We live and work in exciting times - revolutionary times. Technology continues to recast the media industry.

The extraordinary advance of affordable personal digital technology and the stellar rise of social networks are both distrupting and transforming the media market making this a unique moment to be involved in the convergence sectors we focus on.

This is also our place to ruminate and comment on the world as we see it, we hope you enjoy and please join in.





Thursday, 20 December 2007

Last Post 07 - inspirational thoughts

Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won't, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can't - Anonymous

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work - Thomas Edison

Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph; a beginning, a struggle and a victory - Mahatma Gandhi

Once you say you're going to settle for second, that's what happens to you in life - John F. Kennedy

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable - Dwight D. Eisenhower


Some people dream of great accomplishments, while others stay awake and do them – Anonymous

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover - Mark Twain

There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose the ventures before us - William Shakespeare

Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration - Thomas Edison

If you kick it around enough, it starts to look like a ball - Skip Shuda

Base your decisions on where you are going not on where you are. - James Arthur Ray

Those who say something can not be done should step aside for those doing it - Anonymous

HAPPY CHRISTMAS and NEW YEAR

Friday, 30 November 2007

in stormy weather cling together

BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 have formed a commercial joint venture to launch a single online destination housing their on-demand TV content next year. Currently called ‘Kangaroo’, the new service will unite BBC iPlayer; ITV.com; and 4OD. It will house more than 10,000 hours of content with a focus on catch-up TV and archive programme.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Bad day?

So you think you are having a bad day? Have a look at this 4 minute video. It'll make you feel so very much better. Either that or fill your head with ideas!

Enjoy

300lb Gorilla wanting to be your pet


Good morning and welcome to a new week and another story on Google.

This one appeared in The Sunday Times a couple of week ago. Written my our friend John Arlidge its an excellent 'take' on whats up in the Googleplex.

John raises some serious issues for us all about our personal privacy.

Read it

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Homegrown traffic?

It's fascinating to see just how much traffic from outside the UK the Newspapers get online.

If you look at the figures below each of our examples generate well over 50% of traffic from abroad.

Traffic outside the UK accounted for 61% of Guardian Unlimited's traffic or 11,186,395 users during October, with the remaining 7,221,363 users in the UK.

Mail Online, recorded 9,697,917 unique users from overseas, or 72%, and 3,833,257 users within the UK.

Sun Online's six web properties have 5,006,572 unique users outside the UK, or 54% of its user base, with 4,187,434 UK users.

Times Online's recorded 63% of its traffic from overseas, equivalent to 7,880,105 unique users, with 4,561,777 users in the UK.

Telegraph.co.uk recording 6,721,354 unique users or 61% outside the UK and 4,386,671 domestic users.

What does it mean?

Well it means that UK newspapers are strong and respected brands that travel well.

It also means that domestic advertisers will worry that 50%+ audience isnt relevant - price negiotation will surely follow

Are online ads the answer for Newspapers?


US Newspaper ad sales continue their long decline, down 7.4 percent in the third quarter.

Ok this is a well established trend but what we all really want to know is will the shift to online replace the lost print ad revenues?.

NO - and not by a long way

While online ads keep growing up 21 percent to $773 million industrywide, it is not enough to make up for the decline in print ads. Print ads in the third quarter in US were $10.1 billion. That is $1 billion less than they were in the same quarter last year. Meanwhile, online newspaper ad sales rose only by $135 million. After six straight quarters of decline, print ad sales are at 1997 levels—lower if you adjust for inflation.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Mark Thomas on Coke

Mark Thomas, broadcaster and investigative journalist, has just had his latest Dispatches investigation aired on C4. The subject this time is Coca-Cola, global multinational, with one of the most recognised brands on the planet. Always within an arms reach of desire, in almost every country on earth, Coke is the real thing, known by billions from the age of 3 to 103.

From that viewpoint, it's an easy target. Operating in so many countries, it's always going to be exposed to varying standards of corporate responsibility. Child labour, death squads operating against union members on company property, chemical contamination and water theft, tonight's rap sheet is long and serious.

At this point, I need to admit I'm a fan of Mark Thomas. Given my commercial/capitalist existence, and central/right wing clients, I'm sure the feeling would be one way, but I do admire and respect his tenacity and focus.

As you would expect Coke didn't fare well in the programme, and as it developed, I did wonder how the PR team in Atlanta would handle the fallout. In the end, they issued a statement saying that just because allegations were repeated, it didn't mean they were true, and they urged consumers to visit the company website for the real facts.

Who to believe? Like everything in life, apart from a zebra crossing and a grand piano, nothing is black and white, just varying degrees of grey. Interesting for me here is the battle between marketing and PR. One pumping the red and white message across the globe, the other ducking and diving to deal with TV shows like Dispatches. One trying to generate a desired consumer response, one trying to minimise the effect of an undesired consumer response.

Few organisations have a seamless link between PR and Marketing, but in this digital age of rapid and fluid consumer communication, it's only getting more not less important. Synergy between the 2 functions needs to become a focus, but are the disciplines getting closer or not right now? Any evidence out there?

Friday, 16 November 2007

End of the world is nigh?

MOSCOW (Reuters) - At least 30 members of a Russian doomsday cult have barricaded themselves in a remote cave to await the end of the world and are threatening to commit suicide if police intervene, officials and media said on Thursday.

Media reports said the cult members believed the world would end sometime in May next year.

Periscope Snapshot

For November's Periscope digital lifestyle survey we asked our UK online panel about their interest in and use of the huge number of TV programme download services. The topline results are presented here and make for interesting reading. High (ish) levels of interest and usage but low levels of payment (surprise, suprise).

For a full screen version please click on the slideshare icon bottom right


Water Cooler moment - watch this (5 mins)

This is a graphic example of social media at its absolute very very best. Please take a minute to watch this inspirational video and please be sure to think about the powerful message.

Mobile VOIP - it will save you money

Many of us who are by now well versed with landline VOIP have had our legs crossed for some time waiting for the VOIP revolution to hit mobiles. It seems that it has . FT wrote a good piece this morning in Paul Taylor's excellent Personal Technology section which lists and explains the various services that have recently sprung up. Its worth a read.

Having read the piece its heartening that services are arriving but it strikes me the mobile VOIP thing is all still alittle clunky, too many stages, too many clicks, some delay etc. That said mobile VOIP has arrived and we can begin to watch our mobile bills come tumbling down - which is no bad thing

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Digital collides with sport

It's not often I see an idea and am totally grabbed by the fact it is unique, visionary, and combines the old world with our new digital environment. The fact that it is a subject close to my heart only makes this more interesting.

myfootballclub.com was launched earlier in the year, with the intention of getting people to buy a share in a "yet-to-be-bought" football club for £35 per share. Get enough people signed up, and then the collective could go buy a club. Nothing that radical there, that's what supporters trusts exist to do.

The twist with this though is that there was no club at the outset, but more radically, all share owners would have a say in the running of the club - transfers, team selection and major club decisions. The digital platform would allow all share holders to vote on everything, meaning either chaos or consensus.

Today, with a warchest of £700,000 myfootballclub.com has announced it's buying Ebbsfleet United FC, currently 9th in the top division of non-league football. Managed by former Coventry City centre-back Liam Daish, Ebbsfleet are about to become part of a unique digital - sport - social community experiment. Liam will keep the shareholders updated with all information, coach the players, and then the fans will pick the team.

Success or disaster? This real life Championship Manager will be interesting to follow over the rest of the season. I'm hooked already

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Social Networks - bigger than porn!

Just got wind of a well sourced rumour that social networks just overtook porn as the single biggest use of the internet.

Since jan 07 its gone from 7% of online use to an amazing 22% in july (most recent available figures)

Additionally just look at these numbers;

1bn subscribers
154m use daily
3bn minutes a day
8bn pages served a day

Android

Google finally broke cover on its mobile plans earlier this week with the launch of the really nicely named Android. Rather than go it alone they choose the in vogue collaborative approach with the launch of their Open Handset Alliance.

Google and its 33 partners in the Open Handset Alliance are betting that together they can reshape the mobile phone industry by offering a free (Linux-based) mobile phone operating system and software "stack" dubbed Android.


Will it succeed?


Good question and as always in depends you ask:

On the nay side - Symbian's VP of strategy John Forsyth said Google lacked experience. Making a "mobile OS is a very specialized form of rocket science," Forsyth said. "It's not search rocket science." Forsyth later went on to say that alliances like Google's Open Handset Alliance are formed every few months--"a bit like the common cold. It keeps coming round and then we go back to business." Ouch

To be fair Symbian (smartphone operating system vendor) have a lot (maybe the most) to lose as Google and its (experienced) pals is offering not only an open but also a free operating platform to developers that on the surface at least could move the market on alot.

Microsoft (another smartphone operating system vendor) were also alittle defensive about Google's Android project: "It really sounds like they are getting a whole bunch of people together to build a phone and that's something we've been doing for five years,"

Is Google's approach new? - well no - its reminiscent of Nokia’s efforts over the last few years with its Series 60 software which is open to third party developers. Yankee Group, a US-based research firm, says: “Taken alone, there is nothing fundamentally unique or new about the Alliance. It is reminiscent of other structures such as the Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP) initiative, Mobile Services Architecture (MSA), and several Linux-oriented initiatives. “

Does the collaborative approach reduces the chances of failure? - well no “The telecoms landscape is littered with failed or wobbly alliances and overlapping initiatives,” says Martin Garner, mobile practice leader at Ovum, the specialist telecoms consultancy. “Most of the players in the alliance have plenty of first hand experience in this and, being cynical for a moment, it costs a vendor very little at this stage to join the alliance and say nice things about it.”

Per Lindberg, analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort sums it up best.''The Open Handset Alliance is a dream scenario, where everyone will work together, no one will be greedy and software will be free. It is not going to happen,” “Motorola and Samsung are not really going to start sharing software. But what will happen is that Google’s search, maps, email and other applications will be pre-installed on a lot of phones.”

We agree with you Per - in our view this is a stealth tactic to get Google apps on lots and lots of phones so they can extend their ad serving services to mobile and complete the set.

So Android is not only a good name its an appropriate one as it has the very real potential to be a very real and scary monster!

Smart (but somewhat scary) boys

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

a mixture of sadness and amusement

this is a graphic illustration of the sad society we live in (but it will make you smile)

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Spinning Around

We raised a slightly quizzical eyebrow on hearing the news that the pint-sized Princess of Pop, Kylie, is launching her own social networking site, allowing fans to congregate together in cyberspace and interact with all things Minogue.

On reflection though, this is another sign that the digital world continues to radically change the traditional music business model. The Kylie brand now covers music, underwear, fashion, perfume, touring, CDs, DVDs and downloads - and social networking is a brave but possibly inspired digital extension.

Knowing your audience is crucial to success, and if Kylieworld takes off, not only will Kylie know her audience, but she'll have them in one place, known by name, in a relationship and individually addressable. A marketer's dream.

We'll be signing up, to see how we get treated. And whether we get to wear some sequins and feathers in the office.

Every one has their price

In these days of decreasing brand loyalty, it's nice to see this being reflected all the way down the distribution chain. Interesting news reaches us from Copenhagen, where a bloody freesheet war is wreaking havoc on the balance sheet of numerous major publishers. www.newspaperinnovation.com brings us the big transfer story of the week.

Nyhedsavisen hires Metro hawker:

Transfers of sports stars are common but in Denmark the best known free daily hawker recently has been tranfered from Metro to competitor Nyhedsavisen.

Brazilian hawker Jura, famous for his enthusiastic behaviour in Copenhagen and distributing to bikers and pedestrians in the central square moved from the orange/green brand to the blue of Nyhedsavisen

Jura was prominentely used by Metro on the website, in promotion video’s and was even used to train other hawkers.

Nyhedsavisen director Morten Nissen Nielsen told Newspaper Innovation: “It is great news for Nyhedsavisen. We have passed Metro in the big cities in terms of readership, and the recruitment of their no. 1 hawker is just one of those smaller signs, of the changes happening. People who are now getting Nyhedsavisen from Jura call it an upgrade”.

The move is an indication of the increased competition in Denmark. Last readership data showed 24timer, Metro and Nyhedsavisen as the three best read papers in Denmark (see previous post), with newcomers 24timer and Nyhedsavisen seeing sharp increases in readership.

While Nyhedsavisen in third nationwide in readership it was no. 1 in Copenhagen, Aarhus and Odense according to the September TNS research. In those three markets the paper had 388,000 readers - 24timer had 324,000 readers, Metro 304,000 and Urban 279,000. The first paid paper was Politiken with 262,000 readers.

The moves also shows that Nyhedsavisen is - like 24timer - relying on public transport distribution more. When both papers started, they said they would mainly use home delivery. This system, however, means a low number of readers per copy, so public transport is used to increase readership

Friday, 2 November 2007

biggest listed company (by value) in US??

its friday - its been a long week so forgive us for republishing rather creating but thanks to www.techcrunch.com

"When Google went public in August 2004, many were impressed that the stock opened at a premium to the price paid in what was then (and in some respects still is) the unheard of direct auction IPO. Some may have dreamed of greatness for Google stock, but if you’d suggested then that Google would pass through $700 a share (it closed at $108.31 on its first day) you would have been derided as a lunatic. On October 31, Google stock passed through $700 a share, becoming the 5th largest listed company in the United States.

A search engine that started under the name of “BackRub” by two Stanford students in 1996 is now on paper worth more than corporate giants including the global banking conglomerate the Citi Group, Proctor and Gamble and Walmart. Google is worth more than the big three US car makers put together, and then some. We may obsess at times over Google, and there is never any shortage of debate in relation to Google’s many activities, but no matter what your views, this is a remarkable achievement.

Google’s growth to date knows no bounds. The company continues to push into new markets, or even creates new markets where none have existed before hand. From mobile phones, to television and radio advertising, software and online software substitutes, the list goes on. This week they’ve even managed to revolutionize the entire social networking market, and all in the space of a couple of days.

As Google’s march forward continues, could Google ultimately become America’s biggest company? The stock growth rates in the following chart would suggest that the answer is yes:

To become the biggest listed company in America Google doesn’t need to reach the (much derided) figure Henry Blodget made of $2000 a share, to beat Exxon Mobil at todays market price, Google stock needs to hit $1572.50 a share.

That figure may sound insane, but we can look at previous stock milestones to chart how long it may take to get to that figure. Google stock grew from $200 to $700 a share in 30 months. It needs an increase of just short of $900 a share so based on the 30 months it will take 54 months (or 4.5 years) for Google to pass Exxon Mobil based on XOM’s current cap. However if we look at Google’s short term growth we see that GOOG stock hit $500 for the first time on June 1st this year. The $200 leap took 5 months. Presuming a similar growth rate Google will become America’s largest company by approximately October 2009.

Growth rates are rarely static so calculating possible time frames is guesswork at best. Exxon Mobil has seen healthy stock increases over the last 5 years so it is likely that its market cap will increase. And yet Google’s growth rate continues to accelerate as well; it took 23 days for Google’s stock to increase from $600 to $700 a share. Analysts are already talking about $800+

Some will deride the notion that Google may become America’s largest company by the end of this decade, and I don’t completely blame them, however the evidence would suggest that Google is heading in that direction. Google is already arguably the most powerful company in the history of the world, controlling so much of our daily lives; it’s not unreasonable to think that it may become the richest company one day as well."

go figure!

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Quote of the day

The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.

Winston Churchill

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Lovely Story

Sweet taste of early success


Published: October 24 2007 in the FT

A teenage Scottish entrepreneur is on his way to becoming a millionaire after he landed a contract to supply15,000 jars a month of his “home-made” jam.

Fraser Doherty, 18, started making jam four years ago as a schoolboy in his Edinburgh home, using his grandmother’s recipe and selling the jars door to door.

Back then it was his parents who helped fill and label the jars. The jam is based on a recipe handed down through generations of the Doherty family.

Having now set up his own company, SuperJam, he is developing new flavours predominantly using so-called super fruits such as blueberries and cranberries in the hope of exciting a market that has changed little for hundreds of years.

Part of Mr Doherty’s success lies in his unusual approach to making jam. Instead of adding large amounts of refined sugar to his recipes – the traditional method – he uses natural fruit juices as a sweetener.

SuperJam has no other employees, hiring a factory in the north of England for a few days a month to make 40,000 jars a month. But Mr Doherty, whose new contract to supply Tesco follows a deal with Waitrose, said he was now considering taking on staff.

Thanks to FT

Woops - big but not the biggest

CORRECTION: METRO INTERNATIONAL

On 24 October we blogged on Metro's 3rd quarter results were the worst in its 12 year history (source: WARC).

We now understand that this isnt in fact the case. In fact "there have been a number of quarters more recent showing losses in this size [sic]".

We apologise for the inaccuracy.

We do, however, feel obliged to comment that whilst Q3 2007 may not the biggest loss in Metro history its not a great performance however you look at it is it? And it doesnt improve any because its not the biggest does it?

Market Evolution

ps our view on the business hasnt changed in light of this information we still think the Metro business is strong and full of unrecognized potential

Radio - we love it

We love radio. We listen to alot of radio - as a nation you understand not just in the ME office!

Seems we are listening in large and increasing numbers on digital radio, listening on the internet, listening on digital tv and even listening via mobile phones as well, of course, as listening on the trannie. In fact 15% of total listening is done via digital channels and its growing.

Radio is a robust and healthy medium with 153 million hours spent listening in the 3 months ending september - overall, the number of adults (aged 15+) tuning in has decreased slightly, down 760,000 quarter on quarter from 45.6 million in Quarter 2, 2007.

Another example of how personal digital technology is changing the way we entertain ourselves.


source: Quarter 3 2007 RAJAR

Microsoft beats Google to Facebook stake


Microsoft will invest $240 million in Facebook and expand its existing advertising relationship to international markets, according to the WSJ.

The $240 million is a minority stake that values Facebook at $15 billion.

Google would have been a better fit but it would have been too expensive to buy out Microsoft from the advertising arrangement so best (cheaper) to stay with who you know.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

When normal commercial logic is ignored

Our regular readers will have noticed that we comment on a wide range of issues across the broad media landscape. Football isn't usually one of them, but there is a great example of how not to run a business, currently in a death spiral up in the picturesque countryside around the M1/M6 triangle, that we in Market Evolution Towers are following with keen interest.

Coventry City Football Club, former top division stalwarts and FA Cup winners, have spent the last 5 seasons out of the money generating Premiership, languishing in mid table obscurity in the Championship. For those among us with an unhealthy obsession with all things sky-blue, this has been a bad thing to happen.

Only it's got worse. Much, much worse. And now, there's a great example of a brand treating its customers with complete disdain. The Board of Directors over the past 8 years seem to have taken an interesting and innovative approach to business management, reminiscent of Icarus, but without any obvious warmth being apparent from flying close to the Sun.

With £34m debts, having sold one stadium and lost any control over the new one, minimal revenue streams, and a monthly cash burn that would make boo.com hide behind the sofa, things are looking very very grim at the Ricoh Arena. It appears that money was gambled on the playing field, on the assumption that a takeover would magically appear if the players failed to reached the promised land of a season in the Premiership. However, it's not happened, bills have not been paid, the Inland Revenue is owed money, the FA have placed a transfer embargo on the club for failing to pay agreed transfer fees, the Acting Chairman has returned to his consituency, and the MD has fallen on his sword. As Oliver Hardy would have said "That's another fine mess you've got us into".

So, why is this of any interest? From a media perspective, this is exactly the situation where a local paper, in a 1 club city, can provide a focus, whip up support and generally shout loudly about finding out the truth, "where has the money gone", "who authorised that decision" "who forgot the basic rules of financial management" - the difficult questions that someone needs to ask and get the answers. The Coventry (Evening as was) Telegraph has the opportunity to stand tall, excel at investigative journalism, and unite the emotional supporters back with their brand, and sell more newspapers at the same time.

I wonder why they haven't to date? Sports sells papers, local football sells even more. Carpe Diem Mr Editor, before administration, liquidation, and away trips to Keswick Town are on the schedule.

Football post over, back to the less emotional world of business and media tomorrow.

Metro International - historical low

When I posted notes on Metro Q3 figures (below) what I failed to realise was that they were the worst set of quarterly figures in the publisher's twelve-year lifetime (source:WARC). Ouch!

As said below we think the fundementals are good but radical surgery is undoubtedly required. Competition has increased distribution costs and reduced advertising yields - not good when your revenue model is sole source!

Real value is in delivering a known and global youthful audience across multiple platforms for advertisers AND nurturing a direct relationship with the 20m readers.

Staying with Free market for one more second. One imagines that Metro is not alone in feeling pain . The drives of the free market are the same for everyone in it. Therefore we should expect to see more poor news from the sector. Time for consolidation?

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Mobiles on Planes - oh the outrage

Seems that the recent news that airlines are testing in-flight mobile usage has caused a terrible outrage.

The Daily Telegraph has started a petition to keep airlines mobile free citing passenger sanity and security reasons..... so far 3,500 outraged readers have signed up!

When we asked our Periscope panel whether they were interested in sending texts in-flight 25% said they would be.

Time to ask Periscopers what they think of full mobile use.

In the meantime please participate in our poll which can be found above and on the left of the blog

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Making the ShortList

We've done a lot of work with free printed media products around the world, it's an area we've worked both client and agency side on, for newspapers and magazines.

It's a business proposition we've found fascinating for a number of years now, particularly the difficult balancing act of product quality, distribution effectiveness and advertising yields. Get it right and build a monopoly or duopoly market and you can create a good revenue stream. Get sucked into a 3 or 4 player market, and watch the cash burn at a rapid rate.

Leaving the bloodbath of free London afternoon newspapers to one side for now, here's an observation on men's mags. Last year saw Sport successfully launch in London, with a high quality product targeted at a specific gender and demographic. 13 months on, it's in good shape, which is to be applauded.

ShortList is a recent entry into the same space, distributed on Thursdays, with the tagline: "Free for men! Movies, news, sport, TV, Cars, Style". Issue 5 is out today, with lads favourite Jeremy "He's got opinions and he's not afraid to use them" Clarkson looming large on the cover (not that JC ever looms "small" anywhere, his paunch on a 42" widescreen TV is quite alarming).

There's rarely much warmth and congratulations flying around the London media world, but Shortlist should be in line for some. Obviously pulled together by people who understand their target audience well, with good quality content, it's an exciting and welcome addition to the media landscape. They've got the product right almost from the off. Now it's down to effective distribution and a good advertising yield to cement its position.

The free London magazine market is well served if you are a bloke, but will anyone take the plunge and take one of the declining national paid for womens' magazine brands, and spin off a free weekly women's mag? Will be interesting to see if anyone is willing to take the plunge, innovate, and grow a whole new market.

Free is here to stay, and it's only going to get bigger.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Metro International: Losses Widen


Metro International recently issued a third-quarter trading update/profits warning. It warned of deeper than expected operating losses of £6.5m (versus £4.5m loss last time).


Whilst disappointing these results aren't all together surprising:


1. Freesheet newspapers are an expensive business

2. Freesheet newspapers is an uber competitive business (i.e there are lots of them)

2. Freesheet are (completely) dependent on single revenue stream - advertising

3. Advertising revenues are under intense pressure from freesheet competitors and digital channels which has led to lower ad rates and reduced margins particularly in mature/maturing markets (Sweden etc)

4. Being FREE isn't enough (consumers have lots of free alternative media/ents channels).

5. International businesses are challenging to manage. They require good people, strong organisation and investment.

That said Metro is underlyingly a good business.

Our strategic advice would be to immediately stop being a collector of countries/markets 'presence' business and transition the business into an integrated aggregator of a young global audience. The value is in audience relationship and (multi-channel) delivery and its potentially enormous. Metro has some 20 million readers.

But it's rapid growth and its low(est) cost model has left it painfully under resourced and weak. Therefore, more than anything Metro needs (a lot of) love and attention. It needs to build capacity. It needs to invest in talent.

Top management team (as we have written here before) is capable. Per Mikael Jensen (CEO) is a strong manager and a talented media man. Denis Malamatinas (Chairman) is charismatic and experienced. They are backed by the Board and the investors.

The good news is that Metro has in fact done the difficult bit (built a brand, established an audience etc) and now its time to consolidate and leverage.

We think they have a great chance.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Blood in the water?

We don't like to comment on politics that often, but now is one of those times where I feel the need to share some thoughts.

Gordon's honeymoon is well and truly over, managing to alienate the bedrock of the UK commercial community by increasing Capital Gains Tax to discourage entrepreneurial activity and success. More on this, from the coal face, on a separate post.

David Cameron's performance at the Conference was well received,and the polls spooked Gordon sufficiently to perform a neat U-turn on an early election. This weekend saw some of the Blairite big beasts briefing against Gordon, a sign of early panic and distrust in the new direction?

And tonight, Sir Menzies Campbell steps down, apparently feeling he had taken the party as far as he could since Charles Kennedy called last orders on his time in power. A timely resignation for the Lib Dems, clearing the decks to give a new incumbent a likely 18 months lead time before the next election. Will Lembit Opik have a run for the top, leading to the possibility of a cheeky girl being installed in Number 10? Can you imagine the scene if Hillary Clinton was elected, and brought Bill over to a high powered summit at Number 10, to meet with Lembit and his Transylvanian Cheeky Girl. I'd pay to watch that.

Has Gordon rescued defeat from the jaws of victory? He's bought himself some time, but with discontent in his own party, Cameron ahead in the polls, and the Lib Dems stirring into an 18 month period of activity, there looks like there's a lot of blood in the water, and the sharks are circling closer and closer. In the Labour lifeboat, the discussions on who to throw out first must be starting.

UK Newspapers online (August 2007)

According to the latest Nielsen//NetRatings figures for August 2007, The Guardian remains the most popular national UK newspaper website, as it has been for each of the last 12 months, with 2.7m unique visitors, equal to one in every twelve Britons active online.


The figures also show the Daily Mail and the Telegraph are the fastest growing amongst the "Top 10" national newspapers.


The Daily Mail has more than doubled its audience from 0.7m in Dec 2006 to 1.4m in Aug 2007, a 117 percent growth.


The Telegraph is the only other of the "Top 10" to at least double its audience; growing by 106% from 1m to 2.1m.


For the first time in 2007, The Sun (2m unique users) lost second spot; and is now third behind the Telegraph in terms of popularity.


Thursday, 11 October 2007

Burmese Monks Protest Supporters on Facebook - latest


as of 09/10/2007 380,00 people had signed up in support of the Monks' protest

when we last posted on 30/09/2007 the protest support group had 214,000 members

Busted

It seems that sexist so and so who so insensivitively shot down the proposal of marriage on Craiglist (posted below) signed his name and the company where he worked, which happened to be the investment banking division of JPMorgan Chase. JPMorgan Chase public relations department confirms the named [gentleman] works there but was not the author just the forwarder!

Let this be a (another) lesson in the dangers of e-mail getting into the wrong hands.

Woops there goes another one

Looks like the rush for the record label door continues as Madonna is rumoured to be leaving her long term record label and signing with Live Nation. according to article in New York Times.


This deal is interesting in that it is based on so called 360 deals where all aspects of the artists career including touring, merchandising etc are managed in return for cash and stock.

In other news the Eagles, is selling its new album directly to Wal-Mart Stores.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Google's founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, are now worth more than $17bn each.

GOOGLE SHARES MAKE $600 BREAKTHROUGH

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California: Google's rampant success in the world of web search and the increasing migration of advertisers online have propelled the company's share price through the $600 (€427; £295) barrier.

Investors have high hopes for the online titan's third-quarter earnings, due to be announced next week, and this latest surge places Google's market value at around $187 billion.

The company is now worth more than more than Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Hewlett-Packard and IBM. It was floated just over three ago at $85 per share.

Source: WARC.

More bands bang nails in record industry coffin

Jamiroquai and Oasis, two major names that are not contracted to a record labels, are rumoured to be considering following Radiohead by offering work for free, according to industry sources.

bang, bang - is that the sound of nails going into record industry coffin? or the sound of gunfire in music biz boardrooms?

TV Habits (UK)


Data just in from our Periscope digital lifestyle survey




Compared to 6 months ago:


  • 18% watching more tv


  • 32% are watching less tv


  • 63% are watching about the same

Skype Founder defends eBay price

Futher to Craig's previous post on Skype and eBay have a read of this article in New York Times where Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom puts up a solid(ish) defence of his decision to sell to eBay and why the price was fair.

My take is Skype revenues are bigger than Facebooks' and Facebook is valued at $13bn so Skype is real value.


Two further thoughts:

Does the eBay write down have any financial or tax benefits?

Or is it more about not wanting to pay last tranche of cash to founders?

Thoughts?

Radiohead's In Rainbows goes online today


Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Google backlash begins

Following on from yesterday's post on the googlephone, today sees Arun Sarin, Chief Exec of Vodafone adopt an aggressive stance on this news.

Mr Sarin claimed it was unclear what a Google phone would offer consumers, and that mobile phones could already access google, negating the need for a google specific phone.

Two things spring to mind.

Firstly, Mr Sarin seems to be in the dark about why google would want to launch a phone. A wiser man than me once said, "if you look around and see only darkness, look up to make sure you are not just alone in a deep hole". For me, Mr Sarin is in denial - he's protecting Vodafone live services, accessible through his network, which Vodafone have bet a large amount of money on successfully generating a valuable revenue stream from to replace the increasingly commoditised text and voice revenues. Googlephone would bring the internet streaming onto the mobile, portalled and coralled by google to replace "Operator own label" services.

Secondly, advertising. Google loves advertising, and with shares at over $600 a pop, it needs to continue its reach and growth. Mobile provides a new audience touchpoint, and this must also be making Mr Sarin reach for the Nurofen and find himself a dark room to lie down in.

It will be interesting to see whether the O2 and Apple iPhone deal is replicated with the Googlephone and one of the other operators. Watch to see if Mr Sarin goes on to perform an about-turn worthy of an Australian scrum in Paris.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Gphone - Google going mobile?

There has been much market excitement around Google and it's mobile ambitions. The mobile industry has been gossiping and sniping for ages now. Insider say the mobile project has been underdevelopment for 2 years or so. Headhunters have reported that Google have been snapping up mobile technologists from across the world to drive the project. The whispers continue today with a piece in the New York Times under the heading 'For Google, Advertising and Phones Go Together'.

Not much is new or evidenced based in the piece but it's fascinating stuff and well worth a read.

What seems clear is that the Gphone is well on its way and that Google's aim will be on extending it's hold on digital advertising to include mobiles. Google already know lots about us when we are at out desktops but absloutely nothing about us when we are on the move. They now want to add location/on the move information to the data they hold on each of us. Imagine how powerful the full set of personal data is for advertising and how valuable!

What is, also,pretty clear is that the Google play is a software play i.e the operating system rather than the handset itself (if there is one) will will be made by someone else.

It's not going to easy and the networks won't encourage Google crashing the party as they are fearful of being disaggregated but as the New York Times piece says 'if Google-powered phones prove to be a hit with consumers, carriers (networks) may feel pressure to follow suit'.

Also if Apple can do it with a cool box but poor operating system why can't Google with a cool operating system and someone else's Google branded box?

Who would bet against Google in the mobile space - they have brand, brains and bundles of cash but there is no doubt that they will need plenty of all three.

Bigger issue is do we as consumer want Google to know where we have been and what we have been doing?

Absolutely not.

Friday, 5 October 2007

In stormy weather.....

Could this ever happen in UK? or US? Bear in mind these are the worlds biggest selling newspapers.

TOKYO: Japan's leading newspapers have been prompted into a unique online alliance as they attempt to rekindle readers' interest in the face of a serious internet challenge.

The Yomiuri Shimbun, the Asahi Shimbun and the Nikkei dailies, which between them currently boast more than 21 million readers, are planning a joint website and further cooperation in distribution -possibly by combining delivery operations in rural areas to cut costs.

Social networking or vicious put down?

THIS APPEARED ON CRAIG'S LIST in US. its a little long but stay with it.....


What am I doing wrong?

Okay, I'm tired of beating around the bush. I'm a beautiful(spectacularly beautiful) 25 year old girl. I'm articulate and classy.I'm not from New York. I'm looking to get married to a guy who makes atleast half a million a year. I know how that sounds, but keep in mind that a million a year is middle class in New York City, so I don't think
I'm overreaching at all.

Are there any guys who make 500K or more on this board? Any wives? Could you send me some tips? I dated a business man who makes average around 200 - 250. But that's where I seem to hit a roadblock. 250,000 won't get me to central park west. I know a woman in my yoga class who was married to an investment banker and lives in Tribeca, and she's not as pretty as I am, nor is she a great genius. So what is she doing right? How do I get to her level?

Here are my questions specifically:

- Where do you single rich men hang out? Give me specifics- bars, restaurants, gyms

-What are you looking for in a mate? Be honest guys, you won't hurt my feelings

-Is there an age range I should be targeting (I'm 25)?

- Why are some of the women living lavish lifestyles on the upper east side so plain? I've seen really 'plain jane' boring types who have nothing to offer married to incredibly wealthy guys. I've seen drop dead gorgeous girls in singles bars in the east village. What's the story there?

- Jobs I should look out for? Everyone knows - lawyer, investment banker, doctor. How much do those guys really make? And where do they hang out? Where do the hedge fund guys hang out?

- How you decide marriage vs. just a girlfriend? I am looking for MARRIAGE ONLY

Please hold your insults - I'm putting myself out there in an honest way. Most beautiful women are superficial; at least I'm being up front about it. I wouldn't be searching for these kind of guys if I wasn't able to match them - in looks, culture, sophistication, and keeping a nice home and hearth.

it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
PostingID: 432279810


THE ANSWER
Dear Pers-431649184:

I read your posting with great interest and have thought meaningfully about your dilemma. I offer the following analysis of your predicament. Firstly, I'm not wasting your time, I qualify as a guy who fits your bill; that is I make more than $500K per year. That said here's how I see it.

Your offer, from the prospective of a guy like me, is plain and simple a crappy business deal. Here's why. Cutting through all the B.S., what you suggest is a simple trade: you bring your looks to the party and I bring my money. Fine, simple. But here's the rub, your looks will fade and my money will likely continue into perpetuity...in fact, it is very likely that my income increases but it is an absolute certainty that you won't be getting any more beautiful!

So, in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning asset. Not only are you a depreciating asset, your depreciation accelerates! Let me explain, you're 25 now and will likely stay pretty hot for the next 5 years, but less so each year. Then the fade begins in earnest. By 35 stick a fork in you!

So in Wall Street terms, we would call you a trading position, not a buy and hold...hence the rub...marriage. It doesn't make good business sense to "buy you" (which is what you're asking) so I'd rather lease. In case you think I'm being cruel, I would say the following. If my money were to go away, so would you, so when your beauty fades I need an out. It's as simple as that. So a deal that makes sense is dating, not marriage.

Separately, I was taught early in my career about efficient markets. So, I wonder why a girl as "articulate, classy and spectacularly beautiful" as you has been unable to find your sugar daddy. I find it hard to believe that if you are as gorgeous as you say you are that the $500K hasn't found you, if not only for a tryout.

By the way, you could always find a way to make your own money and then we wouldn't need to have this difficult conversation.

With all that said, I must say you're going about it the right way. Classic "pump and dump." I hope this is helpful, and if you want to enter into some sort of
lease, let me know.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Wikipedia - friend or foe?

Some light relief from the more serious commercial discussions on BSkyB and Northern Rock.

Greenslade on MediaGuardian, a commentator who is right more times than wrong, makes a vaguely amusing point on his blog today. Commenting on the obituary of Ronnie Hazlehurst, he raises the issue that Wikipedia has the potential for user-generated merriment and deception. I read the obit in The Times yesterday and raised a quizzical eyebrow at the reference to RH co-writing a big hit for S Club 7, that popular beat combo from the early noughties.

Apparently this nugget was lifted directly from Wikipedia, and was a mischievous piece of nonsense, since removed. A good demonstration of the perils of relying on user generated content exclusively.

The internet is good for many things, but not cutting and pasting content for publication directly into quality publications. What's next, the front page copied directly from netvibes?

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

The Sky's limited - what's the appropriate level for a stake in ITV?

We are following the BSkyB and ITV story with ongoing interest. Rupert Murdoch's expansion into free to air commercial television through a legitimate backdoor, or so he thought.

To recap, BSkyB spent £940million buying ITV shares at 135p a share in November 2006.

The Competition Commission has found that the 17.9% holding owned by BSkyB was "against the public interest", as it gave Sky "a material influence over ITV", namely the ability to block shareholder resolutions requiring 75% approval, in effect, putting a potential handbrake on Michael Grade's freedom to move ITV forward in any direction he required.

Interestingly, the decision wasn't made on the grounds that the situation was anti-competitive in terms of TV advertising markets, sports rights bidding or plurality in television news - in effect then finding against Sky on the grounds of what it could potentially do, rather than what it actually has done.

Guilty until proven innocent? Is this fair?

Looks like Sky will be forced to reduce its position to around the 10% to 15% mark - which at todays share price of around 105p a share, will crystallise a £100m+ loss.

So, in effect, being "indirectly fined" for buying a position in a competitive business with only mere potential for causing trouble at some point.

Fair or not? Any views?

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

A run on a bank - an insider view

Musings on a run on a bank.

Much has been written over the past few weeks about Northern Rock and the supervision of the banking system.Many people now know-if they have bothered to read or listen to even a fraction of what has been written –infinitely more than they knew before about the way the markets work.Greater minds than mine have analysed the cause and consequences so all I want to do is make some observations.

1.When is a guarantee not a use of public funds.

I heard a minister being interviewed-he was asked why the government had intervened on Northern Rock but would not put more money into the bankrupt pension schemes.The minister pointed out that there should be not misunderstanding the government had not put any public money into Northern Rock.I ask myself the question-does the £8billion that the Bank of England had advanced not count?.Would his attitude change if the guarantee was called-but maybe he wasn’t worried as the vast proportion of the deposit guarantee scheme would come from the banking sector only.I am left confused-who is guaranteeing what to whom?One commentator recently pointed out that Northern Rock has around £25 billion of deposits.Even if only half was in amounts of less than £35,000 then the providers of this guarantee would need to find £12.5 billion –where was this going to come from.

2 The Bank of England was right

We read that the £10billion Bank of England lifeline was shunned. The rest of the banking community did not need the liquidity-the only one they didn’t want to lend to was Northern Rock.So what we have is a sneeze in the banking system,with the major banks and other funding institutions taking stock of their risk and Northern Rock the riskiest player in town catching a serious cold.The only question now is whether the cold is going to turn into something more serious because having been a heavy smoker a cold can always go to the chest.

3 Shit happens

The events in the money markets were described as being 10 standard deviations away from the norm.In plain english this means that the financial engineers who created the business model convinced themselves and everybody involved that it was so unlikely to happen it could be ignored.How often do we hear about 100 year events-usually in the context of the weather or some other natural phenomenon.And guess what-how often do 100 year events seem to happen close to each other.Standard deviations are a traditional analysis that relies on normal distributions and based on statistical analysis.We all know about Lies ,damned lies and statistics-maybe we should ask a few more questions about who helped create the Northern Rock business model and who got paid to continuously roll out these mortgage backed securities and given the billions involved I cannot believe that there isn’t a city bonus or two that has relied on this gravy train.

4 Consumers were right to run for their money

I spoke with a number of city contacts and friends.Without exception they said they would have withdrawn money-each subject to a threshhold determined by their own wealth and the level of deposit guarantee.No one would have left more than £40,000.(why that level I do not know) .I suspect that each of these financially sophistcated individuals would be materially richer than the average depositor at Northern Rock.The authorities have therefore had a sharp lesson in consumer behaviour and need to take note.Furthermore I dispute that runs on banks are reserved for banana republics-it is only because we have a sophisticated financial system that we could create the situation in the first place and then manage it.If shit happens that sophisticated people conclude is so remote that they could create £100billion of financial instruments then your ordinary consumer is perfectly entitled to conclude that it can happen again and take his business elsewhere.Shareholders take the equity risk and expect an appropriate return-depositors get low returns and take low risk.Risk is ckearly more about perception than it is about statistical analysis.


5 The lesson everyone has forgotten to mention

The on line banking model failed-the capacity was inadequate and the depositors had no right of branch access.I am sure that this failure added to the loss in consumer confidence.No one has yet sat down and started talking about the levels of resilience and service required to maintain an on line banking service.If we live in a 24 hour on line digital world it is amazing how fast everyone demanded the right to deal through a branch.


I am sure this will rumble on but I believe at the moment the true culprits are still free to commit the crime again-assume away the risk and anything is possible until shit happens.

The consumer was right –the consumer must also be aware of on-line limitations.

Thank you to our guest blogger - he who knows from the inside!

Skype - flash in the pan, or revolutionising digital communication?

in 2005 EBay bought Skype for $2.6billion, expanding its core peer-to-peer auction business into VOIP phone services. At the time, Skype was the shining star of the digital sector, signing up customers at a rate of knots - the Facebook of 2005.

Fast forward to October 2007, and EBay writes down the value of Skype by $900 million, admitting it overvalued the group in 2005, and paying a one off and final bonus to the Skype founders of "only" $530m, rather than the maximum $1.7bn earn-out that could have been achieved.

An air of EBay gloom surrounds the announcement, "Skype has not performed as well as we would have hoped" " Skype is not where we want it to be in terms of user activity".

The key issue here - EBay overpaid based on an unrealistic multiple calculated on projections of monetising the audience into paying for Skype calls to landlines and mobiles, something which has proved difficult to achieve at the levels needed to justify the sale price - Q2 revenues of $90m at a relatively sluggish growth rate year on year aren't that impressive.

"Peer to peer connection" - the intersection between digital and traditional comms, is a fascinating place at the moment. EBay gambled that people would pay to sit at PC or laptop, and Skype mobiles and landlines to communicate, but my view is that people have way more digital choice now - instant messaging, facebook posting, SMS over internet - do I really need to actually talk to someone when I can poke, prod, prevaricate and post. And if I do need to talk, then my mobile has more free minutes and texts than I need.

EBay know they need to focus on what to do with Skype, it's an interesting strategic question for them, to prevent another write-down in value in 2008. Some serious consumer insight is needed right now.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Support for the pro democracy protest in Burma

Look how quickly this worthy Burma protest support Group has grown on Facebook.


30/09/2007 214,000 members
29/09/2007 160,000 Members (100,000 in 1 day! That's over 1 a second!)
28/09/2007 60,000 Members
27/09/2007 30,000 Members
26/09/2007 12,000 Members
25/09/2007 6000 Members
24/09/2007 3,500 Members

Social media (with a heart and a cause) - its what the internet was invented for.

Join in

Radiohead - going it alone

Radiohead's decision to exclude the record company and the retailer and connect direct with its fan base is HUGE news.

Here is one of the biggest and most popular bands in the world choosing to go it alone. Choosing to exclude the music industry and the music retailers.

Radiohead have long wanted to go direct but were stopped by their record company. Now with no record company they are free to connect with their loyal global fan base over digital channels.

They are confident that the fans will click to buy. They are confident that the fans will pay to get the box set namely the 'extra' tracks, the 'extra' artwork, and the merchandise etc. If fans dont choose these 'extras' then they can download the music regardless on a 'pay whatever you choose' basis. This in itself is pretty radical and extremely exciting.

Is this the 'tipping point' that the music industry has so dreaded?

The moment when the talent recognises it doesnt need the industry or their distribution anymore and goes direct.

FT.com pushing new subscription acquisition

Mediaguardian today carries the news that FT.com is to change the way it charges its web content, after a successful trial overseas. It's still offering a £99 a year subscription to see content hidden behind the "subscriber wall", but now also offering 5 free articles and then a "light" registration to see a further 30 articles a month.

Reading between the lines, it looks like the subscriber growth needed a kick-start, and a 2 stage process of subscriber acquisition through different access to content worked successfully abroad.

This comes 2 weeks after the NY Times dropped its subscription charges and moved to an advertising revenue model.

Will the FT abandon subscription in the future? They clearly state not - "(our) strategic belief is that our content is worth paying for, whatever the channel" "We are very confident that people are prepared to pay a reasonable price for FT journalism".

But with the Wall Street Journal in Rupert's hands, is this a pre-emptive reaction from FT.com before they wake up with tanks parked on the lawn? I'd suggest so - identify your premium audience by name right now, before the WSJ is properly woken up.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Who needs an iPhone when....

Nokia is selling a $24,000 Ferrari Vertu telephone!

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

More facebook

While not wanting the Market Evolution blog to become the facebook blog, a couple of additional thoughts on the future for the ravenous commercial beast which Facebook is hurtling towards becoming.

A tie up with Microsoft or google remains on the cards, with both businesses chomping at the bit to get a piece of the action. The strategists at myspace must be working all hours to work out how to regain the high ground they occupied, before Facebook steals all their thunder. Interesting strategic question for them to answer - how do they differentiate their offer in this market - what's the "sticky" content/application they need to launch to win back their audience?

The second thought is about the personal data each individual posts on Facebook, with Facebook currently looking at how to commercially exploit this information. My view is that if it's used invisibly, for targeting ads/products/services then this is smart and will not cause any reaction from customers. However, if this is blatantly and insensitively done, and people feel that they are being "data-raped" then wait for the bad reaction. Even though its a free service, if they get this wrong and upset people, then it could be a different story.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Facebook powers to top dog in UK

Facebook has overtaken News Corporation's MySpace site as the highest-traffic UK social networking site with 6.5m unique users last month, according to data published today by Nielsen//NetRatings.

This tallies with what our survey said (see post below) where our Periscope insight community reported that Facebook was the social networking site that was growing fastest and by miles.

We arent therefore surprised that its made it to top dog (officially) but we are taken aback by how quickly. This from Nielsen//NetRatings again - since October 2006, Facebook has rocketed from 448,000 unique users in the UK to 6,506,000 during August 2007.

Well done to the Facebook (uk) team.

Its also reported today (New York Times) that Facebook has a value of $10 - 13 bn - WOW wow wow!

CEO founder is (one rich) 23 year old!

Quote for the Day

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

Winston Churchill

Monday, 24 September 2007

Death of a great

Got a spare 90 seconds?

If so click below and enjoy the late great Marcel Marceau . Video courtesy of telegraph.co.uk.

MM

Politics - in a nutshell

On day one of the Labour party conference I thought this was a great, sobering and truthful quote:

Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.


John Kenneth Galbraith (1908 - 2006)

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Creeping integration?

There is no doubt that Daily and Sunday Telegraph are moving towards a 7 day operation. Todays appointment of Damian Reece as business head across both titles and telegraph.co.uk is further evidence that integration is not coming its already well underway.

Do we as readers care?

No - as longer as the efficiencies and cost savings are re-invested in continuing to improve the quality of the product, delivery and services.

Yes - if it results a bland, homogenuous, one look and feel newspaper.

Who is next The Times and Sunday Times?



web 2.0 confused?

With all the publicity and market hype surrounding web 2.0 we thought it would be helpful to provide plain english explanations of some of the major themes and parts of the whole social media revolution.

So click on the titles below for easy plain english explanations:


Social Networking in plain english



Wikis in plain english



Social bookmarking in plain english


We hope you found these explanations useful (we did)

We will be adding more as we find them so be sure to check for updates.

iPhone coming to shops near you in UK

The Apple chief executive, Steve Jobs, today confirmed that the company's much-hyped mobile handset, the iPhone, will go on sale to British customers on November 9th.

At a press conference held at the company's flagship London store, Mr Jobs announced that the iPhone - a mobile with built-in iPod and internet capabilities - would be available for £269, plus the cost of a contract.

He also confirmed, as expected, that the sole operator in the UK will be O2 and available in CPW stores.

So its on its way.

Will you buy it? - lets us know

Monday, 17 September 2007

Can you believe it?

8% of Britons who watch adult content on line do so at work!

Thursday, 13 September 2007

The London freesheet war continues

The NRS figures are out for London Lite and the LondonPaper, and the war of words is underway between the east end Wapping boys and the West End sophisticats.

Greenslade, on mediaguardian, makes many good points as usual. Key here for me is that the base sizes on the titles are 231 and 250. About the same size as a Weatherspoons crowd on a Friday lunchtime. Not great to get any reliable and detailed profile information.

The NRS is just not geared up to cope with the subtleties of the London media landscape, and media buyers and advertisers are being seriously short changed at the moment.

The solution is a London only media survey, robust, fast moving and actionable. It's on the way, more to follow on that shortly

iClone


Seems that Apple iPhone has fallen foul of the Asian cloners. The iPhone doesnt launch in UK until nov (see above), the black market for "iClones" is certainly taking off.

The phones cost a mere $270, which is still far below the iPhone's reduced $399 pricetag in US.

Here's an image of one of the more popular iClones, see if you can tell the difference.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

web 2.0 - spreading like a virus

Click below for a complete (at time of publishing) directory of web 2.0 sites.

Web 2.0 sites

Check out the brand names and the logos - wonderful!

Final thought: to think someone has backed these services!

GoogleFace?

Facebook is about to get serious in the UK, which is already its 3rd largest market, by opening an office in Soho Square, a mere stones throw from Market Evolution Towers in the heart of the West End.

Key stats from the article credited below - 5.2m unique users a month in the UK, 60bn page views a month (to give that some context, that's 10 page views for every single person in the world) and a target of 60M unique users a month by the end of the year - which would need 200,000 people a day to be signing up from this point.

Their stated business model is to be more like google (which the more cynical here would view as a big invitation to get round the table for talks)and position as a "utility" rather than a social networking site. Big things are made of the applications which can be developed and dropped onto your profile page, though most seem to be fairly inane so far as I can tell. But, the fact remains that Facebook believe that the momentum in the market is with them, and they are riding the wave with confidence.

A final thought, most cool things start off small, go through explosive growth as the mass market follow the early adopters, then fall back as everyone realises it's no longer exclusive and cool but instead its something that your dad is also doing. Riding the wave before the bubble bursts (to mix a metaphor or 2) is a challenge, timing an exit even more so. We will use Periscope to see how cool the brand is right now among users and non-users. Full article link is below.

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/organgrinder/2007/09/facebook_targetting_60m_users.html
Murdoch 'back to the future' Dow Jones bid successful

Confirmed today that there are no challenger bids for Dow Jones so Murdoch wins.

As written here before we think KRM's bid for Dow Jones is important. It's further evidence that whatever the threat from digital to media brands the opportunity is greater.

As said, before here, the opportunity for established media brands with quality values and excellent product is enormous in the digital economy. Established media brands will flourish online as consumers want the security of brands they know and brands they trust. Too much choice is often a bad and confusing thing in consumers minds.

That said its also evidence to the fact that success is largely influenced by scale. DJ will benefit from the cross platform audience reach and the pockets of News Corp.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Social Networking - at a glance reality



As part of Periscope Market Evolution's ongoing monitor of peoples' digital lifestyles we have just completed a look into social networking. It's surfaced up some quite interesting data.

The highlights from the UK online survey are as follows:

  • 34% of the sample currently use social networking sites which is lower than we expected
  • that said 25% of these are new so its growing fast
  • MySpace is the most popular site and but Facebook is the site growing fastest which is inline with the incredible hype its been getting.
  • average duration of time spent on site is 28 minutes which is 'sticky'
  • 15% visit every day which is 'sticky'
  • average number of profiles per user is 2.4 which makes users alittle fickle
  • looks like its an activity that is reserved for home with 96% logging on from home.
  • only 1% access through their mobiles!
  • most popular uses are just passing time, chatting with friends, looking at photos, and getting in touch with old friends so no real surprises there.
To see full presentation of the finding and what it all means please email toby@marketevolution.co.uk

Friday, 7 September 2007

London Free Dailies - cant give 'em away



One year on am I alone in noticing that a lot of Londoners are now rejecting the offer of a London Lite or a copy of The London Paper?

Its very visible that many many people are now saying no to the kind offer of a free newspaper. Have you noticed the frustration on the hand distributors faces as the job get harder and harder.

God knows how many copies go undistributed on a daily basis but it a safe bet that the 'returns' are high.

Singnificantly if Im even close to being right then it wont be long before advertisers and/or their media agencies start to question ad prices, product environment and so

So why the rejection?

Here are some possible explanations

1. Free just isnt enough - these papers just dont deliver.
2. Rising awareness of waste and pollution - we are all more aware of the need to be 'clean'.
3. Ive done my newspaper reading for the day and these papers dont add anything so I dont bother.
4. Im fed up having a paper thrust into my hands.
5. The Tube is too full and I cant read it.

When the two free afternoon titles came out we talked to consumers about their likes and dislikes perhaps it time to revisit the sample.

We'll do that and let you have the results..........

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Site we like

I may be alittle late to discover content and news aggregators but we find www.netvibes.com so helpful

Check it out and sign up.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Its all about loyalty stupid


For many years I have wondered why media companies have not used loyalty programmes as a way of engaging and rewarding customers. Seems a bit of a missed trick given the competitive nature of the industry and the repetitive nature of the meduim.

Surely now is the time. Im sure newspaper readers would appreciate some organised recognition and generous (revelant) reward for their continued support of the meduim. Ditto tv, radio and so on.

As a specific example isnt it (finally) time for UK newspapers to cease with the senseless give aways and replace with thoughtful rewards programme that builds purchase frequency and strengthens reader relationships etc.

Maybe the reason for this missed trick is that there arent any loyalty marketing specialists out there? We know this isnt the case there are a few really great and intelligent shops out there. The real reason I fear is that building enduring relationships with customers requires thought, effort and long term committment.

Sound possible in a media company?

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Mind the gap - print revenues escaping faster than online can replace


Frantically trying to keep the bucket full, without being able to cover the huge hole in the side, continues in the US newspaper industry, according to an e-consultancy report (see below)

Print revenues (small long established competitive set) continue to shrink, while online revenues (competing against a much broader global competitive set)perform well, but not well enough to bridge the gap.

My view - you really have to keep up the focus on revenue streams from the customers who trust your brand. It's not rocket science in theory, but the number of media companies who are doing it well at the moment is small.

There's more to life than a website - talk to me directly with a relevant offer from a brand I trust, and you've got a good chance of making me open my wallet

Source: http://www.e-consultancy.com/news-blog/364145/online-newspaper-ad-revenues-rise-print-ads-fall.html

Online newspaper ad revenues rise, print ads fall

Ad spending on US newspaper websites continues to grow while spending on newspaper print ads declines, according to new figures.

Newspapers' online ad revenues increased by 19.3% year-on-year in Q2, according to the Newspaper Association of America, to a total of $796m (£395m) - their thirteenth successive quarterly rise.

But print ad revenues have taken a tumble, falling from $10.5bn in Q1 2005 to $9.8bn in Q2 this year.

The rise in online ad revenues has also not been enough to offset the drop in print ad spending. Total ad expenditure is down almost $1bn over the same period in 2006, a fall of 8.6%, the group said.

The big challenge facing newspapers as more and more people choose to read news online is whether online ad revenues will be enough to make up for the associated loss in newspaper sales and print ad revenues, and still enable them to pay for the cost of creating content.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Who owns the content?

The big football event of the weekend saw Coventry stay top of the league beating Preston at the Ricoh, live on Sky

However, the only place to watch the goals is on youtube, not on Sky.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=p2NvpiYCB6Q

Either youtube shouldn't be serving this, or Sky don't have the internet rights.

Confusing for us poor fans, all I want to do is watch the goal of the season from Michael Doyle, but I just don't know where to go to find what I want. Apart from the official club website, which is expensive in my view for what's on offer. I need guidance, I need to be informed, I need someone to tell me what the answer is.....

Tube Strike


A thought. If the 3 day tube strike goes ahead, and the millions of daily users don't get to see all the expensive media sites, particularly the fancy escalator TV screens, (which I think are very impactful) how big a refund will the media buyers/brand owners get back? And will TFL be able to recoup the money from the Unions? Or does Caveat Emptor apply here - you buy it but we never guarantee the size of an audience, or even any audience?

Super and Soaraway?

Newspapers are complex businesses in their own right, with many moving parts working in synergy to get a daily product out of the door and into 55,000 retailers every single day. That said, there are only a few levers to pull to increase revenues - mainly cover price, advertising revenues and commercial offers to customers.

News International are playing around with cover price again, with The Sun at 20p on weekdays to try and give the circulation a boost and keep it up over 3 million copies a day. 3 million copies a day is still a good result in one of the toughest markets in the world, but the cost in lost cover price revenues over a sustained period runs into the £millions and will be a drain on any business. Good sport brand TV campaign for The Sun at the moment by the way, well bought in that I've seen it 4 or 5 times, and well executed with a cut down version meaning I'm not bored of it yet.

Will be interesting to see how long the cover price stays at 20p, whether the Mirror will wait or react, and how well the audience perception of "best for sport" is cemented and increased by the marketing activity

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Market Evolution launch new venture

Check out our newest venture FOR FANS. We have started a service that allows football fans to order their clubs' matchday programmes and have them delivered to their homes. Our thinking is that there are plenty of fans who cant get to the match who would enjoy the matchday programme. Our thanks to Telegraph Media Group who are our marketing partner in the venture.

click on www.forfans.co.uk and let us know what you think

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Credit Market Turmoil

I cant help thinking that the finacial instability of the credit markets is more serious than we are being told. When you read that Bank of England has had to step in to lend a big financial institution money from its emergency lending fund you begin - justifiably - to worry.

The frustrating thing for me about this current crisis is that a) its all at the door of the financial institutions and their over exuberance and b) ultimately I'm sure the average man in the street will suffer not the finance guys!

Thats wrong!

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Stock market turmoil

Interesting though disturbing times in the stock markets around the world. Today the FTSE is down another 80 points as I write, following the global cycle of decline seen in the US and Asia in the last few trading days.

I've vaguely followed the hedge fund industry's growth and development over the last few years, but not really given it my full concentration, as it never seemed that relevant to me. Even less attention on the US sub-prime mortgage market, which to be honest I'd never heard about before it all went belly-up.

Hedge funds, or large betting accounts as you and I know them, seem to have been let down by their quant data modelling, which failed to deal with the major issue of the sub-prime crisis and resultant black holes in the finances of certain major institutions.

A lesson for us all I think, data is data, it's not the total solution, it needs a constant safety net of human interpretation, whether its a seriously complex piece of financial derivatives modelling, or a piece of quantitative market research.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

The flip side of social networking

We like to have a broad view on the digital world we operate in, and our good friend, Employment Law guru Mr James Lynas, offers a different viewpoint on Facebook and how consumers are interacting with it, and how employers are using, abusing or simply banning access. If the trend of banning access from the workplace accelerates, how will this impact on our consumers digital lifestyles, and on the digital businesses operating social networking sites now, and over the next few months?



This article appeared in Personnel Today http://www.personneltoday.com/Articles/2007/08/06/41764/social-networking-sites-friend-or-foe.html



Social networking site Facebook is the latest darling of the internet with 3.2 million users in the UK.

The website enables users to display their real name and a photograph to everyone else on Facebook. While it is possible to limit a profile just to the users' friends, sadly not all users are aware that if they don't change their privacy settings all members of Facebook can see their profile. Indeed I have been able to look at the profiles of half of the HR professionals in London - and what marvellous (and often drunken!) holidays you all have.

Distraction

Employers fear Facebook as a "social notworking" distraction. Like other sites, Facebook is certainly addictive and can consume large amounts of bandwidth and employers are certainly within their rights to ban access to the site. But a total ban on using Facebook will make your organisation look like it's run by clueless monsters which is perhaps not the best staff retention strategy. The best option for most organisations is to restrict access to lunchtimes and the hours before and after work.

Some ask what the use of Facebook is for an employer. One use coming to the fore in the media is as a means of vetting candidates as this quote from the Times, 17 July shows: "Jacqueline Thomson, from PR firm Brands2Life, said that she had turned down one applicant after learning that he had used Facebook "to criticise previous employers and discuss company information."

Personally I wouldn't employ anyone daft enough to leave their Facebook profile open to the public. An online search to check a candidate's past loyalty to employers is though a sensible use of Facebook. Less sensible is allowing uncontrolled and unmonitored searching of candidates by your managers.

Application forms and recruitment policies are honed over time by HR to prevent decision makers being influenced by irrelevant material such as a candidate's marital status, their hobbies, their favourite football team, their religion, their sexuality and their age. It's a helpful defence to a claim of discrimination to say "we couldn't have discriminated against you because you were gay because we didn't know you were gay." All this hard work by HR is at risk because of Facebook.

Each user joins at least one network based on geography (the London Network has 820,000 users), college or workplace (the BBC Network has 14,000 members (which says all we need to know about the use of the licence fee!). Indeed, your own organisation may have a network set up by staff which is not under your organisation's control. But as long as there are sensible guidelines in place a work based network can be useful in generating a sense of togetherness that large organisations sometimes lack.

Discrimination

Each user creates a profile which asks such questions as "are you interested in men or women?", "are you in a relationship?", "are you liberal or conservative?" (betraying its American roots) "what are your religious views?" "what's your date of birth?" which school or university did you go to?" "where have you worked?" "what's your job title?". This is great when you are trying to show off to your friends but is an open invitation to a prospective employer to discriminate against you. And a manager could use Facebook to search all job applicants and find out all the information necessary to discriminate against candidates and HR will be none the wiser.

Lawyers acting for failed candidates can use the questionnaire process under the discrimination legislation to ask questions asking about freelance vetting operations by managers and may even ask for IT records to check whether Facebook has been accessed by a manager at work.

So what can HR do to prevent managers circumventing the recruitment process by doing freelance research on candidates? Certainly you should revise recruitment policies to prohibit managers from making online searches against candidates using Facebook or indeed Google, MySpace or Bebo and make it clear that such off-piste activity will be considered a disciplinary offence.

If you think that an online search may be of value (and are prepared to take the risk of breaching Facebook's terms on commercial use of the site) your recruitment and internet policies should specify that online searches into candidates should only be done by HR.

HR should ignore any information relating the candidate's social behaviour - the only issues that should be the subject of vetting online are:

* Whether there are any inappropriate comments about a current or former employer which would show that the candidate is untrustworthy (though even here your policy might need exemptions for whistle blowing)
* Whether any published information relating to the candidate's employment history contradicts any statements on any job application form or CV.

If any negative information is discovered by HR from such a search you should print a copy off, place it with the candidate's file and store in accordance with normal good practice and record the reason for terminating the recruitment process for that candidate.

James Lynas,
Partner,
Winckworth Sherwood

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

online publications brand trust?

More than three-quarters of newspaper and magazine readers regard web publications as just as trustworthy and reliable as their print counterparts, according to research.

this is so interesting - when we last polled readers on print versus online brand trust the results were the reverse of these latest numbers.

its critical that print maintain and builds on its trust and quality values as they are hugely important in battle to strengthen audience relationship.

we will repoll our respondents and publish the data. i hope to be able to tell you that results soon.

Business models continue to change

From Mediaguardian and FT.com

US online adverts to overtake newsprint ads in 2011

The rapid growth of online advertising is expected to see the sector overtake US newspaper advertising in terms of size by 2011. That's the finding of a widely-watched annual report by Veronis Suhler Stevenson. It forecasts that online advertising will grow by more than 21% a year to reach $62bn (£30.37bn) in 2011, making it bigger than newspaper advertising, which is expected to total $60bn (£29.57bn) that year. (Via FT.com)

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Massive growth in popularity of Facebook

Facebook recorded international growth of 270% in the past year, according to the latest comScore data, which shows the site's estimated unique user figure rising from 14.083m in June 2006 to 52.167m this June. (see mediaguardian for rest of article)

Our view from medialand in Soho is that the battle is only just starting to get serious in the war of the social networking sites. Momentum is everything in this game, you gravitate to where your friends already belong. Facebook is definitely on a roll, and our latest Periscope survey will be released to the panel in the next 24 hours to get the consumer view on this whole phenomenom. More to follow when we have the latest word from the users themselves.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

The old apprentice

Interesting counterpoint to the emotional Bancroft family, where some are trying to hang onto the family jewels, and not take the money and run. Sir Alan Sugar sells Amstrad to BSkyB, cutting the emotional ties to a business he's grown from scratch, taking in different directions over 25 years, and pockets £30m+ for his trouble. Granted his major revenues these days come from property interests, and his share of the licence fee, but you have to wonder if there isn't a small tinge of sadness about the ending of an era. Maybe a shy tear or 2 running down his face into his carefully groomed beard. On second thoughts, probably not.