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.

Monday, 30 June 2008

Trinity Mirror - Kicking a dog when its down

Trinity Mirror shares today crashed 25% after the group said profits would be 10% lower than expected.

No surprises here. Its tough out there. We have heard tales of woe from right across the newspaper market. And it aint going to get any easier anytime soon is it.

Its crazy however that the 'City' react (or overreact) in the way they do. Current market conditions have been priced into share values for sometime now so further falls in share price based on more bad news are not welcome or necessary.

Talk about kicking a dog when its down

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Ongoing impact of the economic "stutter".....

A few interesting stories in the business pages today, giving a good range of examples of the real impact of the current economic slowdown.

Taylor Wimpey reportedly needing an emergency £400m in funds this week illustrates the current impact of falling share prices and a slow down in the housing market, particularly in selling the new houses recently built. Lack of demand will only get worse over the next couple of years if the doomsayers are proven right, so Norman Askew and Peter Redfern (Chairman and CEO respectively) have their work cut out to reposition the business with a share price down from over 350p a year ago to 62p last Friday. A portfolio of empty new houses in a market with dramatically reduced numbers of buyers doesn't bode well though.

On the other hand, Aldi, everyone's favourite discount supermarket chain, is taking a very bullish view of the situation, based partly on their 21% sales growth in the last 3 months, as measured by TNS. In their view, the current economic situation is only going to work in their favour, and to that extent, they are spending £1.5bn on a 5 year expansion plan in the UK. This would increase the estate from 400 to 1500 stores, giving it a much greater presence across the country. My view on Aldi as a brand isn't shaped by marketing communications, of which I've seen little, but by some limited first hand experience of the stores. Have to admit I was surprised by the product range and the pricing, and I'd like to see the expansion backed by some marketing to drive trial, I think it would pay back handsomely.

Final mention today for The Sunday Times Business section, and the Focus article on page 5 - "Back to the Great Depresssion?" Wall Street has had its worst June since 1930, and looks likely to have lost 10% of its value in June this year. Well written article, though I have a nagging doubt at the back of my mind that we are all talking ourselves into a state of panic, but a great statistic is included.

Fortis, the Belgian-Dutch financial group, sees the price of crude oil averaging $171 a barrel next year. In contrast, Royal Bank of Scotland sees an average price of $86 next year. When instiutional predictions can have a range this great, then we're in the Kingdom of the Crystal Ball. One thing is for certain, it does look like it's going to get worse before it starts getting any better.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Rumours denied or something more sinister?

all these rumours about the closure of thelondonpaper have been well and truly shot down by NI release (below) or perhaps just perhaps they protest too much!

“thelondonpaper has established itself as the capital’s leading afternoon paper with an audited daily circulation of over 500,000 and strong advertising revenue. News International, the UK’s largest national newspaper company, has backed its confidence in the long-term future of the industry with a recent £650 million investment in next generation print plants. We intend to build on the success of our market leading national titles and that of thelondonpaper in the years ahead.''

is this the end of the matter or just the beginning??

wind power

When revellers at the UK's Glastonbury Festival 2008 later this week need to recharge their mobile phones, they'll have a free and green way to do that thanks to a charging station being set up at the festival by Orange.

Measuring more than 7 meters tall, the free-standing recharge pod is a self-sufficient unit that taps into a wind generator and solar panels to charge as many as 100 mobile phones per hour. It's actually the next iteration of a portable wind charger Orange tested out at last year's festival through a partnership with Gotwind, and will serve as a trial for using renewable energy sources on a larger scale at future festivals. Orange expects the recharge pod will charge thousands of mobile phones over the course of the three-day festival, furnishing power equivalent to what would be needed to power a DJ booth for Groove Armada for 88 hours. The recharge pod will be stationed within the Pennard Hill camping grounds at Glastonbury throughout the weekend of June 27–29, when the event takes place.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Gannett buys into 'family' social network

Cozi, an intriguing Seattle based startup that’s most easily described as a social network for a family unit, is announcing an investment and business deal with newspaper conglomerate Gannett Co. The size of the investment is not being disclosed (we believe it is $8 million, however).

Cozi lets family members keep a group journal, share photos, organize chores, share calendars and create todo lists. There’s a significant overlap with genealogy sites like Geni, as well as some of the life story sites we’ve profiled from time to time. But I haven’t seen anything quite like Cozi, which also has mobile and Outlook syncing to keep everyone on the same page. The demo here gives more feature details.

The service now has 600,000 registered family members and says it’s adding 2,000 new ones per day.

We think this is a really good investment its a natural extension for Gannett. It helps keep it local and relevant. I'm sure Cozi will be delivering Gannett content, particularly local content and will will be pushing the service its users.

Stragetically smart but also helps sweat the expensive newspaper machine alittle harder which is no bad thing.

First profits for City A.M.

Well done to our friends at City A.M on the announcement of their maiden profit. Its hard work out there right now and these boys are managing not only to stay afloat but to do it profitably.

From October 2007 to March 2008, free London business paper City A.M. made a profits of £47,000 before tax (€60,000). The revenues were £3.5m in that period. Last year the publisher made a loss of £754,000. City A.M. was launched in September 2005.

City A.M. plans to increase its distribution from 100,000 to 150,000 and is also thinking of launching in other cities in the autumn. In London distribution will expand to railway stations in south-west London such as Richmond. (Press Gazette)

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

V2.0 Apple iphone - faster, cheaper and much more

Steve Jobs revealed the new iphone yesterday and WOW.

Its 3G so much much faster, 3 x faster in fact than its predecessor. Good news for business users.

And it lasts longer (new phone can get 300 hours of standby time, five hours of talk time on a 3G network, five to six hours of high-speed Web browsing, seven hours of video and 24 hours of audio according to Jobs).

And perhaps most importantly in these economically challenged times it costs $199 — $400 less than the original iPhone.

Faster and cheaper so far so good.

Perhaps the coolest additional feature is the built-in global positioning via satellite. The older phone triangulates a user's position via cell-phone towers. The new one has a GPS receiver that can track a user in real time. Jobs showed off the GPS capabilities with a recording that showed a 3G user driving down San Francisco's winding Lombard Street. As a tiny dot appeared on a Google map and slowly wended its way down the street, the crowd roared its approval.

Maybe just maybe we are a step closer to the marketers dreams of real-time location based services.

Apple we love you and now we might even be able to afford your iphone!

Online Advertising powers on but so does outdoor and cinema

Online advertising spending leapt over the £3bn level for the first time in the UK last year, according to new research, grabbing market share from other parts of the media such as newspapers, magazines and direct mail.

Ad spend across all media in the UK rose 4.2% to £19.4bn in 2007, according to the the Advertising Association and the World Advertising Research Centre.

The internet, cinema and the outdoor advertising sectors posted the biggest year-on-year growth, with online spending up a dramatic 39.5% - year on year - to just over £3bn. Online advertising, which was the fastest-growing sector, accounted for 16% of total UK ad spend last year.

Commentators have long maintained that advertisers are being drawn online from other areas of media such as print and direct mail. The figures seem to add weight to this hypothesis, showing that press advertising, which includes national, regional and magazine advertising, declined 1.6% year on year.

Press is, however, still the largest single sector in the UK, accounting for 40%, or £7.7bn, of advertising spending last year. Direct mail advertising, meanwhile, saw a 6.5% decline to £2.17bn last year.

The UK cinema advertising sector recorded 10.1% year-on-year growth, but the overall cinema market was worth just £207m, 1.1% of the UK's total advertising market. Outdoor advertising grew by 4.6% to £1.05bn, giving the sector a 5.5% share of UK ad spending, fuelled by the continuing digitisation of billboards and poster sites. The TV sector managed a modest 2.3% year-on-year gain to £4.67bn, accounting for 24% of all UK ad spend. (Source: Guardian Media)

newstritional disorder?

Today's younger generation is under attack from an unlikely source: news it can't adequately process. According to an international study released Monday, people aged 18 to 34 are bombarded by news, facts and updates to the point where they now suffer from "newstritional disorder," according to anthropologist Robbie Blinkoff, who headed the study. Symptoms can include a diminished attention span, news fatigue, distraction, and even agitation, which can affect how people communicate in their personal and organizational relationships.

Thanks to Time Magazine for this piece. Its actually well worth a read (the piece not the 71 page study!) as it is probably prescient and might open eyes to challenges and opportunities coming along in the future.

The Time piece can be found by clicking here

Monday, 9 June 2008

Mirror Mouthpiece launches

After an intense development period, our client the Daily Mirror, has launched their dynamic online reader panel community; developed, designed, delivered and managed by Market Evolution using eDigital Research's fine software solution (Press release at the bottom of this article)

Mouthpiece moves online research on from 1 way "ask-tell" to a 3 way dialogue with consumers - we talk to them, they talk to us, they talk to each other. It provides a rich seam of qualititative views and opinions from a large number of readers, very dynamic and very exciting.

We're very proud of it, and think it's very forward thinking of the Mirror to make this investment in showcasing its readers, and listening to their views - it really is putting the reader at the heart of the business. We obviously would say that, given they are a great client of ours, but we mean it - it's a major step forward in the industry.


It's currently invitation only, but the front page gives you a feel for what's inside.....

Mirror Group launches online research community
by Staff Brand Republic 09-Jun-08, 11:40

LONDON - Mirror Group has launched an online research community called Mirror Mouthpiece, which allows the Daily Mirror to get a better view of reader's attitudes to advertising and editorial.

Mirror Mouthpiece includes a mixture of forums, net chats, product ratings, polls and blogs.

It has been developed on the back of the success of Mirror Group's 5,000-strong reader panel, which has run more than 100 surveys since 2003. These include client-specific surveys for advertisers such as Pedigree, Freeview and John Smiths.

Mouthpiece is linked directly to the Reader Panel and will allow for the first time interaction between the depth of quantitative panel data and the qualitative insight.

The online research community was created by Mirror Group's strategic planning team led by Suzy Jordan and Nicky Jones, in partnership with Market Evolution and online market research firm eDigital Research.

Richard Webb, Mirror Group's managing director, said: "The launch of Mouthpiece enables us to have a regular dialogue with our readers, putting them at the heart of what we do.
"Mouthpiece has already been used for advertiser projects and can give immediate insight and feedback on their campaigns."

One example of how it has been used is with the long-running campaign for the Food & Drink Federation, to promote awareness of guideline daily allowance food labelling.
Mirror Group monitored readers' awareness of the advertising and accompanying editorial content using their Reader Panel. Mirror Mouthpiece was then used to get "under the skin" of readers' relationships with food and the actions they take to keep themselves healthy.

The Reader Panel results showed that readers' usage of GDA labels increased by 19% over the campaign period and specific topic forums on Mouthpiece gave Mirror Group Advertising invaluable insight into why labelling was important to their readers.
Jane Holdsworth, GDA campaign director, said: "This isn't just about a label, it's about encouraging people to lead healthier lives. The results from the Mirror reader panel show that this activity struck exactly the right tone

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

£2bn market research merger

News today that TNS and Gfk have announced a mega-merger to create the 2nd largest global research company, operating in well over 100 countries, in a 50:50 marriage of equals worth £2bn.

WPP are still stalking the party though, and with their track record, the deal may not be done until the ink is properly dry.

Those of you who know us will be aware that part of our reasoning for setting up Market Evolution in the first place was born out of frustration with big monolithic research agencies. While no-one gets fired for hiring one of the big boys, it can be a frustrating exercise which costs over the odds and delivers an underwhelming level of actionable insight. Not always of course, but the smartest minds rarely seem to flourish in a "factory" environment.

Who will do best out of the merger - shareholders, staff, or clients? My money wouldn't be on the second or third...

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out