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.

Friday, 29 August 2008

End of the price war

From Monday the price of the weekday Times will rise by 10p to 80p, matching the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian and the Independent for the first time since the price wars that began in 1993, when Rupert Murdoch dropped its price from 45p to 30p and sent circulation soaring.

We were at News when The Times dropped its price and we played a big part in the price war. It was alot of fun and for a time price was an effective circulation builder. But its a war that should have ceased long ago. The battle now very sensibly transfers from cover price discounting to subscription discounting. A much more intelligent battle and one of course the Telegraph has a real advantage in.

Should be interesting.

Lets hope that the marketing guys wake up to the real opportunity to reward purchase loyalty not just with price discounting but with added value benefits as well. The case (as blogged here before) for loyalty programmes is growing stronger and stronger.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

(bad) News Digest 28th August

Heres todays (bad) news digest from Print & Publishing sector.

Half-yearly profits tumbled 35.6% at the Independent and Independent on Sunday titles due to challenging trading conditions and poor consumer confidence, the papers' parent company said today.

The People has suspended its sports editor, Lee Horton, over alleged 'financial irregularities'

Johnston Press has said advertising revenues have slumped 21% year on year in the first seven weeks of the second half of 2008

Any good news anyone?

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Clever Vending - under utilised

Electronics retailer Best Buy has installed vending machines at 8 major US airports.

It's a pilot program for the company's new Best Buy Express kiosks, which are large vending machines that carry cell phone and computer accessories, digital cameras, flash drives, MP3 players, headphones, gaming devices, travel adapters, and other items that are likely to appeal to customers on the go. Prices are similar to those in Best Buy stores.

Best Buy is targeting travellers in search of last-minute gifts, as well as those who need a replacement for a gadget or accessory they forgot to pack or lost along the way.

Ive always thought vending was under utilised. Serves as the ultimate in convenience retailing and a huge visual
brand ad. This stuff is going to get really big when we can use our phones to pay (as in Japan and Finland etc)

Thursday, 21 August 2008

What price loyalty in a recession?

The ongoing global financial situation continues to soak up the average consumer's spare cash, forcing people to re-assess their spending on a daily basis. I for one am bored of having to phone the bank to pre-authorise a personal loan to fill up the car with a tank of petrol before I travel on the motorway. While the media may be guilty of fanning the flames of recession talk, they certainly aren't guilty of lighting the fire in the first place.

I'm waiting for one of my favourite brands to approach loyalty smartly in these cash conscious times. I'm on databases, they have my email address, and probably my mobile number, and I'm ready and waiting for my loyalty to be rewarded. If they invest in me, then I'm happy to commit to them, there's always a good deal to be done in times like these.

However, only two brands are talking to me and trying to save me money. The Times, with their 20% off subscription offer, which is flexible, good value and promoted out of the newspaper itself, which is an industry first, and Varsity bars. Varsity bars is an odd one in this context, as it's a student focused drinks business, and my student days pre-date the internet. No matter, I signed up online to see how their CRM process worked, and to be honest, it's surprisingly good. Received an email and an SMS highlighting their special offers to save me money on beer this week. They are talking to me, and if I was a student right now, I'd be listening.

Those who know us, will recognise that we are passionate about loyalty. Identify your best customers and prospects so you can communicate with them on as near an individual basis as possible, then recognise and reward their loyalty. It's a long term game, but an ultimately profitable one. Get it right, then it can securitise a business in the medium to long term. And therein lies the challenge. The average tenure of a marketing director is apparently under three years in the UK. Successful loyalty programmes need time to develop, implement and nurture. They grow over time, but are not a short term fix, they need investment, resource and expertise to get them off the ground in a smart and successful manner. Like children, they need nurturing, attention and money.

Our view, the time is right now for successful loyalty schemes to take root, when consumers want to be recognised and rewarded. Question is, who is going to take the plunge and back a medium-term investment rather than a short term fix? Time will tell.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Is this the way its going for news?

This is powerful stuff (thanks to guardian.co.uk). Pew is the best and most credible of all US media usage surveys so we have to listen

Pew report: New breed of 'net newsers' shape US media habits


A new generation of well-educated, technically-savvy young web users are shaping the media habits of the US, with one in 20 Americans saying they do not watch TV on a typical day and a sharp decline in newspaper readership, according to new research.

The biennial Pew Research Center report on changing news audiences described 13% of the US public as "net newsers" - web users under 35 who read more political blogs than watch national news coverage, rely heavily on web-based news during the day and have a strong interest in technology and technology news.

Yahoo, MSN and CNN were the three most popular web news destinations, though users gave many of the leading mainstream media websites low credibility ratings.

Just 6% said the Huffington Post was very highly credible and 13% said the same of Google News, which aggregates news from mainstream news organisations.

Net newsers are typically affluent and 80% are graduates, making them a highly desirable demographic for advertisers.

They do favour some traditional media brands, including the New Yorker, The Atlantic and the BBC, the Pew survey of 3,600 adults found. But only 47% watch TV news on an average day.

The research paints a picture of steady decline in the US newspaper industry, with the percentage of Americans who regularly read print titles falling from 58% in 1993 to 34% in 2008.

According to the long-running survey, respondents saying they listened to radio news fell from 47% to 35% over the same period. As for network TV, the national news dropped from 60% to 29% and local news from 77% to 52%.

Cable TV grew from 33% of Pew respondents saying they watched it in 2000 to 39% this year, while the number of people who turn to web news at least three days each week rose from 2% in 1996 to 37% in 2008.

"For more than a decade, the audiences for most traditional news sources have steadily declined, as the number of people getting news online has surged," said the Pew report.

"A sizable minority of Americans find themselves at the intersection of these two long-standing trends in news consumption."

However, TV is still the most popular medium for the US, with 46% of the public classified as "traditionalists" who watch throughout the day, but are likely to be older and less well educated than net newsers.

More than 40% of this traditionalist group are unemployed, and were found to prefer visual news stories to audio and have little interest in science or technology news.

A further 14% are described as "disengaged", a poorly-educated group with little interest in current affairs.

Pew's research identified a further 23% of US media consumers as "integrators", an older group who are affluent and influential but still rely mostly on TV news and are interested in politics.

The research also found that the proportion of young people in the US getting no daily news has increased from 25% in 1998 to 34%, with only 10% of people using social networking sites for their news

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Associated CD's Mcflying into the Bermuda Triangle?

A quick thought on the newspaper ABCs for July 2008. Apart from The Sun and The Sunday Times showing increases month-on-month thanks to some effective marketing, the numbers for the Mail on Sunday are most interesting.

Month on month the MoS remained level, but the year-on-year comparison makes more interesting reading, down almost 5%. This is despite heavily backed McFly and Barry Manilow CD giveaways, which would have been expected to perform well in a normally quiet month.

What to make of this? Is Barry no longer the hearthrob of the middle England twinset? Would McFly have flown better off the shelves or digital music racks than they did off the news-stand?

Either way, our view has been for a while that the free CD or DVD should be the last resort rather than the regular fare of a forward thinking marketing professional. Anyone can give something away and see a short term uplift. Very few can build sustained growth in a shrinking print market.

While The Sun and The Sunday Times are investing for future sustainable growth, what next at Associated newspapers, who have an equally might marketing war chest? We wait with interest to see some innovation in their marketing approach.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Pot Noodle: the musical - Does exactly what it says on the pot

"Pot Noodle: the musical" is being heralded as being at "the vanguard of a revolution which could transform advertising and possibly the entertainment industry over the next few years". A big claim for a play based on the students' favourite freeze dried convenience snack.

Mother has developed the concept in its "content" department to break away from the traditional advertising "product" and PN:tm is currently playing to standing ovations on the Edinburgh fringe. The result, and I quote directly from The Times, is "a riotous hour's entertainment set in a Pot Noodle factory and very very loosely based on Hamlet".

Given that the Mamma Mia film has seen the Abba Gold album rocket back to the charts for the first time in 15 years, will this alternative approach to advertising PN see the familiar plastic pot leap off the shelves of Aldi's across the country?

Either way, we applaud the vision, and the commitment to trying new ways of advertising product to audiences. The world is changing, and brands with the courage to test new routes to market now will in our view be hugely rewarded in the longer term. Put the kettle on, it's noodle time......

Saturday, 2 August 2008

A challenger to supremacy of Google in search?

In an attempt to upstage their former employer, a trio of ex-Googlers have launched a search engine of their own. They are calling it "Cuil" - pronounced "cool," (not bad) - and they say it "goes beyond today’s search techniques."

They say they get "richer display of results" by indexing a whopping 120 billion web pages. According to the company, that's three times more than any other search engine.

Its going to be tough (impossible?) to knock out google as they have installed base of many many millions of content serach customers.

Here at Market Evolution towers we encourage and support competition (both as business people and as consumers) so I'm going to give it a go...........

Tell us what you think www.cuil.com

Steve Fossett - what ever happened to him?

Ive often wondered what happened to Steve - the great adventurer and friend of Richard Branson. Steve was declared officially dead in February 08 after disappearing in a light aifcraft.

The conspiracy theorists are out and about (surprise, surpise) in the media. Heres quite a good one as it comes from several investigators who were charged to find the body.

Click on Steve below and enjoy.