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, 29 September 2008

Life magazine reborn online

Away from all the doom and gloom of the markets some really good news...one of our favourite magazines Life is to be reborn.

The photojournalism magazine closed in 2000, is to gain a new lease of life on the web as a massive photo archive thanks to a deal with Getty Images.

Life.com will allow access to millions of archived photographs from the magazine, best known for its images of presidents, wars and Hollywood celebrities from the 40s, 50s and 60s. It was published from 1936 until 2000.

Life.com will launch early next year. Searching and viewing images on the website will be free.


Friday, 26 September 2008

Time to run or time to fight?

All around us is the all pervading air of panic.

The financial crisis has introduced the public to names and issues that this time last year were the preserve of the City boys (and girls). The housing market continues to shrink faster than a snowman in April, and the Government continues to twist and shout like a sky blue football terrace in mid-anthem.

Today, more forecasts for the 2009 advertising market have escaped, battering the already browbeaten media sector. DMGT has issued a profits warning, Trinity Mirror continues to cut costs, ITV has seen its share price decimated (like its regional news and content is about to be), Channel 4 is looking to shed jobs, and regional newspapers are reporting 20%+ declines in ad revenues across multiple sectors.

So, what to do then?

We could all head down to Turnstile, the Cold War nuclear bunker under the Cotswolds, lock the doors and resurface in 2011 when everything looks a bit better.

Or, we could take a deep breath, and focus on the basics, "concentrate on the knitting" as one famous media guru used to say.

Even looking at the UK, there are still 60 million human beings out there (give or take a few million that the Government can't count, track down, tag, place on a register or lock-up).

Disposable income is still down, but people will still consume media in some format, they have always done so in the past, and always will do in the future. Strong brands with loyal audiences have longevity and long term profitability, the key is protecting this during the cold dark winter nights.

We think these are the basics, get these right and the cold upcoming winter may pass by without claiming too many more victims.

Knowledge is the foundation - you are fighting for a share of a shrinking consumer wallet (or purse), you have to understand why consumers spend money on your brand to understand how you protect this going forwards.

Recognising your customers - you need to know who they are, and their value to you, at an individual level - data is crucial.

Relationship building with your customers - talk to them, nurture them, engage them, be interactive with them, listen to them, watch them talking to each other about you.

Reward your customers - if you don't reward them, then someone else will.

Retain your customers - in any declining market it's easier to retain existing customrs than acquire brand new ones. Particularly in markets where the under 30s have grown up never paying for any content

Be brave - "There is no shame in failure. The shame is in not learning from it". A quote from the famous English philosopher Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards. A test is a test, if it doesn't work then learn and move onto the next test. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it already.

Be smart with budgets - you need to know what's working, why it's working and who it is working against, in as near to real time as possible. Insight is an investment, but done smartly, it will pay its way ten-fold.

Do the knitting right, and you'll have a large enough jumper to get you through the nuclear winter nice and warm while everyone else catches pneumonia. The future's bright, but not for everyone. Evolution did away with Dinosaurs, Dodos and Lehman Brothers, don't let it add you to the list.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

A soothing piece of humour

Thanks to the New Yorker for this one.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Market Evolution's sister business For Fans relaunches

We've been hard at work smartening up our sister business www.forfans.co.uk. The service proved hugley popular with stay at football home fans last season.

The idea is to broaden the content selection and ultimately we hope to cover not only Sport but entertainment programmes as well

Please check it out. It may well help to solve some of those pesky Birthday & Christmas gift problems!

Metro sues Metro

Thanks to Dr. Piet Bakker for this one.

German wholesale retailer Metro is thinking about suing free paper publisher Metro International after the successful lawsuit in Hungary.

In August (see previous post) the Hungarian Metro was forced to change its name to Metropol after the retailer argued successfully that the use of the ‘Metro’ brand was an infringement to its own right.

According to business website B2B Köln first options would be Italy and France.

Other contested markets could be Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Russia. Also Belgium, the UK and Poland where other publishers operate Metro papers could be affected.

The Metro brand, however, is not used in all markets. In France, Italy, Russia, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Poland the company does use that specific brand name. In the Netherlands, Greece, Portugal, Spain and the UK the supermarkets are called Makro. In Belgium and Greece both names are used.

In Denmark the Metro paper is called MetroXpress. In Spain it is officially called Metro Directo although Metro is the brand used.

The Metro Cash & Carry group is longer around than Metro International (40 against 13 years) and is active in 28 markets.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Its not funny being a journo

click to increase size

Why US and European Govts and Central Bankers are sooooo worried

We havent blogged much on the financial crisis because it isnt an area that we feel equipped to pass wisdom on but it strikes us that Robert Peston's (BBC Business Ed) piece below is the truest reflection of not only the extent of the problem but the seriousness of its consequences. This is why Govt and Central bankers are moving heaven and earth to put a stop to this thing.

China could easily end up owning the lion’s share of the US and UK’s financial systems. - Robert Peston, BBC

With the collapses on Wall Street this week and signs in the United Kingdom pointing towards a housing market crisis as well, it appears that the U.S. and the U.K. have left the door open for other world economies to step in and take over the global economy. Peston reports: “It's a world in which the Chinese state, if it co-ordinated the investments of its cash-rich institutions, could end up owning more-or-less the entire financial system of the US and the UK.” It is conservative institutions, he says, and those with simpler business models with a history of careful management of their funding sources, which will become the new superpowers.

Introducing a new business model to the world of magazine selling,

This sounds like a really good idea and one that - finally - recognises that freedom and choice are crucial......

Time Inc just launched Maghound, a mix and match service for periodicals. Maghound members don't subscribe to a fixed set of magazines. Instead, they pick the number of magazines they'd like to receive every month, and can then change the selection of titles as often as they like. One month they might select Food & Wine, Forbes and Women's Health, before switching to People, New York Magazine and Smithsonian. (While the current selection of 200 titles isn't as substantial as many magazine lovers would like, it does obviously include magazines that aren't owned by Time Inc.)

Freedom of choice extends to membership terms, too—customers don't have to commit to an annual contract and can cancel at any time. And pricing is tiered: USD 4.95 for three titles a month, USD 7.95 for five, USD 9.95 for seven titles, and USD 1 per title for eight or more titles. To keep track of their mix of magazines, members can view expected delivery dates in their online account.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Metroexpress no more in Croatia

Newsflash: Metro International has closed its franchise operation in Croatia, which published the free newspaper Metroexpress in Zagreb. The company's decision followed poor results over the past six months.

This surprises us. Croatia is a fast growing economy with a fast growing - young - professional class which should be perfect reader material for Metro.

So what went wrong?

Well the failure in Croatia above all is yet another example of the weakness of the FREE model. Being totally dependent on a single revenue stream as the FREEs are isnt great by any measure. Its worsened by having that single revenue stream derived entirely from (physical) advertising in this increasingly digital market. Additionally costs of print/production and the big cost associated with unique by hand distribution model weigh heavily on the balance sheet.

Credit To Metro CEO Per Mikeal Jensen who continues to rationalise and consolidate which is exactly the strategy in these challenging times. He has got the focus, energy and board support necessary to realise Metros' potential to be profitable.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Handwritten Newspaper - genius

India's oldest Urdu-language daily paper, it is still being handwritten by calligraphers, as it was when founded 81 years ago.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

whats going on a the New York Times Co

Breaking News - the Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim and his family have amassed a sizable 6.4% stake in the New York Times Co.

Whats this all about?

Maybe this is another example of the mega rich buying into newspapers for vanity reasons? Slim is certainly rich! In fact Forbes have him down as the richest man in the world (ahead of Gates & Buffett)and they say he worth worth $60 billion.

Somehow I doubt this is vanity. Slim is really really rich and really clever. He isnt flashy. In fact he allegedly lives rather quitely etc. More importantly he also owns most of the major media (and telecoms) in Mexico and beyond in South America.

So I suggest this is strategic.

He (like Rupert Murdoch) sees real future value in the great newspaper brands. He recognises that the NYT is a major media asset that is not only available today but at a knock down price.

The newspaper industry needs more investors like Murdoch and Slim. Men who see value in the brands and the medium and know they can run the businesses better and sustainably now and long into the future........

Monday, 8 September 2008

Happy Birthday Google - Advertiser fight back

On the 10th anniversary of Googles' launch the Association of National Advertisers sent a letter objecting to the proposed Internet search advertising partnership between Yahoo Inc and Google Inc to government regulators reviewing the deal.


The intended deal between these two giants of search isnt good news for advertisers and they should fight it hard. The alliance will see Google/Yahoo control 90% of search advertising inventory in the US..........

Call me old fashioned but 90% of the power held in only two hands isnt good for anyone (apart from those holding the power).

Its about time those holding the ad budgets began to exert some influence over digital channels as its they that fund the extraordinary growth of Google etc

Monday, 1 September 2008

September 1st - Officially the start of the autumn

Two things caught the eye over the weekend.

Firstly, consumers voting with their wallets and their feet, with Aldi reporting 44% sales growth in July, as shoppers sought out the best prices for their groceries. Aldi has featured heavily in media commentary in the last few weeks, with their limited but carefully selected product range providing significant cost savings for customers. We've commented before on their business, now it'll be interesting to see how Tesco et al respond to this new threat.

Secondly, reports in the press that Metro International may be selling or closing their US newspapers. In a previous life we were involved in the Metro New York launch, into one of the toughest markets in the World. It needed a strong digital presence to make it a success from the outset, but that wasn't a key competence of Metro back in 2004. It would be a wasted (and expensive) opportunity missed if Metro closed their US presence, so we hope PMJ can find a strategic solution to minimise the losses and build on the 4 years product and brand building.