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, 21 December 2009

World map of Social Networks

Italian writer, blogger and photographer Vincenzo Cosenza has for the second time put together a visualization that shows the most popular social networks around the world on a map, based on the most recent traffic data (December 2009) as measured by Alexa & Google Trends for Websites.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Evening Standard and Indie talks back on

Independent News & Media said Friday that it has entered into an exclusive in principle - but non-binding - agreement with London Evening Standard newspaper owner Alexander Lebedev. The firm said it is "currently engaged in discussions with regard to the future ownership of The Independent and Independent on Sunday."

We are surprised by this news. We thought this deal was off - sensibly dead and buried. As we said last time we just don't see the commercial sense of it or what possible good will come from these two loss making papers joining together. We'd love for someone to help us understand the rational.
Toby Constantine
Director | Market Evolution Ltd

Research | Analysis | Insight | Advice | Action

Sent from my handheld

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Murdoch visits newsagents

A typical newsstand in New York City.Image via Wikipedia

Fantastic story in The Guardian about Rupert Murdoch visiting newsagents.

I'm not surprised at all by this (although few billionaires would have the same inclination). Murdoch remains totally committed to and focused on newspapers. He remains energetically interested in the dynamics of the business and where the faultlines are and where improvements can be made and what better place to hear it as it actually is than from the the mouths of newsagents.

He,also, loves to wrong foot his management with first hand experiences of the market place. It reminds of an story from the early days of Sky when Murdoch evaluated Sky dish sale success on the number of dishes he had counted from the back of his car on the journey into London from the airport!

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Promiscuity - part of the human condition

The researchers at media consultancy Oliver & Ohlbaum surveyed 2,600 readers about their news-reading habits. And it discovered a deep seated human characteristic: promiscuity!

Even the print loyalists the researchers found, have almost no loyalty when seeking out news (or comment and analysis).

For example, it found that readers of our client the Daily Telegraph got just 8 percent of their online news from its website. They spent twice as much time visiting the BBC’s news website and more than twice as much reading other quality papers.

They were also more likely to read tabloid papers, like The Sun and the Daily Mirror, online than their own favourite paper. Others were no more loyal. Sun readers, for example, visited the websites of quality newspapers about as often as they did those of tabloids, including their own Sun.

Now come on. What's surprising about this? Nothing! We are promiscuous at heart aren't we? Especially if are allowed to be or moreso when we can afford to be ie it doesn't hit us in the pocket!

Browsing, search and book marking technology coupled with fast internet connection speeds and the allure of free quality content has made it extremely easy for us (its encouraged us) to enjoy multiple (content) partners.

But promiscuity is itself a fragile beast. Like bubbles and soap promiscuity dies when confronted with the commitment that comes with a pay wall or even registration.

My conclusion to all this is simple. The online content market place is growing up. And it’s painful. It’s coming to the end of the ‘teen’ period of discovery and exploration i.e. multiple partner 'hook ups' and is entering the more responsible phase of fewer partners and greater commitment!

Now some users will attempt to hold back the tide and try to remain in multiple relationships. Some will just settle down with the BBC. The rest will be content to choose a limited number of paid high quality partners who will provide them with all they need for a committed and informed life.

Now I am hoping that publishers will adopt micro payments to encourage me to have my chosen few trusted content sources with whom I have a paid relationship rather than pay walls which force me to make a single partner commitment. Pay walls won't work because they presuppose that consumers can get all they need from one mega 'ikea' content site. It doesn't work like that. As the O&O research says readers are promiscuous not just because they can afford be right now but more importantly because they get specific things from different trusted sources. I, for example, use BBC online for breaking news, Sun for Sport, FT for business and IHT for the World! I'm not normal but we all know that single sources don't (can't) satisfy and it’s a na├»ve and dangerous assumption to think they can. 'All you can eat' paid for 24 hour access doesn't do it either. I don't want to come in - gorge - and leave only to have to pay again next time. I want specifically what I want when I want it (and jettison the rest) . I would, therefore, advocate a service where I can choose and pay for the bits of content from various publishers that do it for me and have then ‘housed’ on a platform that allows me access from whatever device I choose.

Surely in this technological age this isn’t too much of an ask??

Monday, 14 December 2009

Google phone - confirmed

Finally we have confirmation that Google is entering the mobile handset business.
Speculation has been rampant for months that the Google would begin to ship their own handset. Its a controversial move as they have been successfully pushing their mobile operating system Android to handset manufacturers and this move takes them from partner to competitor. Its also heralds a rare venture by Google into hardware.

The phone will appear in January 2010 and will be made by HTC of Taiwan.

2010 going to be a very interesting year for mobile.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Apple counter sues Nokia

Way back in October 2009 we wrote about Nokia suing Apple for alleged patent infringement and we suspected that Apple would respond with a counter claim. Well it appears that we were on the money.

Apple has today filed a counter suit against Finnish handset maker Nokia,

In its response lawsuit, Apple says Nokia infringes on 13 of its own patents, and even outright accuses the company of theft:

“Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours,” said Bruce Sewell, Apple’s General Counsel and senior vice president.

We will continue to watch this one as these two giants square up. Both have a huge amount at stake and neither is likely to throw in the towel easily. Meanwhile it sure is a happy Christmas for their lawyers.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Sports Illustrated shows us the future

Please watch this video. Its a graphic illustration of whats coming and why we should be so excited to be in media. Strong brands with original high quality content are going to be set free by technology and will thrive in the digital era.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Newspapers - time to co-operate?

If magazine publishers can get together and cooperate why can't newspapers?

At this infection point it has to make sense for newspaper publishers to work collaboratively on setting standard models for content charging, digital access and a united front in debate with content aggregators.

Doesn't it?

In the magazine world the greatest names in publishing Hearst, Time Inc, Conde Nast and Meredith will next week launch an independent digital consortium supported by News Corp, to develop a digital news stand. Last week Hearst with support from others launched "Skiff", a standard technology platform and planned electronic reader, promising to give publishers more control of their digital fortunes.

"For the first time the publishing business are way ahead of the trend" says Mark Ford, Time's publisher.

There are so many great minds beavering away inside newspapers trying to figure out the way forward - alone and isolated from the rest of the industry. Surely its time for the newspapers greatest names to swallow their pride and cooperate? To work on the problems and opportunities together. To develop and execute a cohesive plan to together. To emerge from this crisis stronger and ready for the digital era.

Alas it won't happen. There will continue to be a collectively hand wringing and tub thumping at newspapers industry get togethers like the recent World Newspaper Congress in Hyderabad, but self interest will keep the titles and their businesses apart. And the industry will suffer longer than it needs to as a result. The frustrating thing is that standards will emerge eventually they always do, but not for awhile longer.

Ironically I think the industry might coerce (rather than cooperate) around an 'no charge' for content position. There will be publishers that will choose not to rally to Murdoch 'pay walls' battle cry choosing to wait it out and see whether they benefit from a customer upswing away from paid sites to their free sites. I wonder whether this is driven by a desire to ‘get Murdoch’ or a genuine strategic position. Additionally, I foresee publishers coalescing around the aggregators (especially Google and Yahoo) with some like Murdoch choosing to fight and others like Germany's Axel Springer choosing to work together to create a “one-click marketplace solution” for their online content.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Resurgence in sale of Vinyl

Sales of vinyl albums have been climbing steadily for several years, proving its a trend not a fad.

Through end of November, more than 2.1 million vinyl records had been sold in 2009, an increase of more than 35 percent in a year, according to Nielsen Soundscan. That total, though it represents less than 1 percent of all album sales, including CDs and digital downloads, is the highest for vinyl records in any year since Nielsen began tracking them in 1991. Rock on.
Toby Constantine
Director | Market Evolution Ltd

Research | Analysis | Insight | Advice | Action

Sent from my handheld

Friday, 4 December 2009

£850 billion bank bailout

LONDON (Reuters) - The price tag for bailing out UK banks has hit £850 billion pounds according to the independent National Audit Office (NAO)

No further comment ..............

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Facebook hits 350m users

The incredible growth of Facebook has taken us all by surprise. It gone from 150 million to 350 million in less than one year trouncing its competitors (including the once mighty MySpace) in the process..

Google blink first in battle with Murdoch

Mr Murdoch's aggressive stance against search engines and news aggregators seems to have paid off (abit). Google appears to have conceded (alittle)

LONDON (Reuters) - Google is offering news publishers a way to attract paying subscribers without having to remove their content from Google News search results, after some media companies accused it of profiting from their online news.

The Web search giant said it would adapt its so-called First Click Free program to prompt online readers to register or subscribe to a news provider's site after reading five free articles from that publisher in a day.

Previously, the user's first click on any article would be free for an unlimited number of articles, provided the user did not click through any more links from any article.

Newspaper's digital device

I hadnt seen this so thanks for our friend Lopo (www.wahanda.com) for sharing.

Its amusing, but its also restates the case for why newspapers are relevant in this digital world

Quote of the day

"Producing journalism is expensive. We invest tremendous resources in our project from technology to our salaries. To aggregate stories is not fair use. To be impolite, it is theft.

Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, in an address to US media regulators

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Quote of the day

"We were promised that eyeballs meant advertising, clicks meant cash. Free costs too much. News is a business and we should not be afraid to say it."

Les Hinton, the chief executive of Wall Street Journal publisher and News Corp subsidiary Dow Jones, at the first session of the WAN-IFRA World Congress of Newspapers in Hyderabad.

Read the whole speech here. Its well worth it

Big Companies blow up start-ups

I thought this article was interesting and worth a read. Its all about how many great start-ups have been acquired and ruined by the hugh tech companies (Yahoo, Microsoft, Google etc)

Its well worth a read

Its also a lesson to big companies everywhere - acquiring smart young companies isnt the answer to future proofing. Its like daddy dancing at the disco!

Monday, 30 November 2009

Another iPhone football app

The Sun's new iPhone app - allowing Dreamteam owners to run their teams on the go - has just launched into the crowded app market.

We applaud the thinking, we helped launch a mobile based version of the Telegraph game about 4 years ago (which proved to be somewhat ahead of its time) but we're watching this space closely to see how this now develops.

Looking forward to seeing the next football gaming developments coming to market shortly. It's a great way to cement engagement with this audience

INM completes debt restructuring - finally

The Indie publisher has—finally—put an end to its debt restructuring saga. The company won shareholder support for its finance package at an EGM in Dublin on Thursday and has already secured bondholder support. The sale of South African advertiser INM Outdoor was also approved.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Market Evolution oversees NSPCC Campaign

Our thanks to our friends at uber cool ad agency (Beta) for their help in making this wicked TV ad campaign for the NSPCC's Dream Auction 2 fundraiser. The ad below is one of 3 TV treatments.

The campaign encompasses TV, cinema, radio, print and online.

All time, production, media space and creative input has been donated free. So thank you to all involved.

Dream Auction 2 starts on Dec 1 and runs for 12 days. Bid Now

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Murdoch pitches his tanks on Google's lawn

The ongoing saga into how KRM will move towards charging for online content continues apace, with the Microsoft talks to tie-up revenue for content apparently moving along nicely.

Mr Murdoch appears to have decided he will not lose very much by ditching Google traffic and even a fairly small payment from Microsoft would compensate.

We like the sentiment, as a gazillion unique users has always been a flawed business model, and it does make more sense to make at least some money out of content, than continue giving it away for free. However, it's not usual for Mr Murdoch to be cast in the role of the under-dog, fighting the bigger beast of Google is a step back 20 years in time.

Will he make it work? Arguably if anyone can, he can. But we can't help but think that Google won't actually be that bothered. Will they retaliate? Not sure they will, they have bigger fish to fry.

And that's the most eye-opening thought about Google's dominance at the moment.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Daily Mail feels the full force of social media

Have a look at this clip on YouTube.

Its an extremely potent example of the power of social media and its consequences for brands.

News snippets

Some odds and ends to highlight this morning.

More pain at the Guardian, with another 100 jobs being chopped in the light of continued increasing losses. The Observer is going on a crash diet usually only seen in the 3am pages of the Mirror, slimming down to a four section package, with main news, sport, review and the magazine. Business, which I personally thought was the best section in the paper (and in the market), is being swallowed up in the main section, which is a shame. Like all re-launches, slimming it down and keeping the £2 cover price may well prompt a consumer reassessment of value, so expect the ABC's to show a slight decline into Q2 next year.

Trinity Mirror have reported better than expected ad revenue figures, with the nationals holding up better than the regionals. No need to comment here, those of you who know us well know we have a vested interest in the performance of TM.

Timesonline looks likely to introduce a paywall in Q1 2010, as KRM's crusade away from free content continues (note to self, see how that expensive acquisition of myspace fits into that strategy...). Free to Times+ subscribers we're assuming, chargeable to everyone else. But micro-payments or subscription? More research out today saying that people may consider paying to read specific columnists, but only in increments of 10p or less. Put a 10p charge for 500 digital words from Jeremy Clarkson into the context of £2 for 13 sections, 8 inches of height and two dead trees worth of Sunday Times, and I know where I'd rather spend my hard earned pennies. Give me the dead tree version anytime.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Social time

An interesting statistic released by Nielsen Online today states that the average person who uses Facebook has spent over 70 hours on the site during the last year. This is a simply staggering amount and highlights just how social networking has become an invaluable addition to everyday life for users.
The report also states that 80% of all British internet users visited one or more social networking sites during September 2009. This seems to suggest the desire for Facebook, Twitter and other such sites is increasing. With the advent of Real-Time search engines and the demand for change in the way we view the internet it is clear Social networking is not a fad that is going to pass but a fast developing fundamental part of the digital age.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Google to buy AdMob

Google said this evening that it will buy AdMob, a mobile display ad technology provider, for $750 million in stock.

Surprise, surprise.

For Google owning ad search/placement on mobile is above all else the most critical strategic and commercial play.

The purchase of Admob is a significant step toward this singular aim. And they are paying in stock ie its cheap!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Friday 13th - Unlucky for some

The fat lady is warming up and a long way down the red carpet already as London Lite moves into its last week of publication.

Friday 13th November will see the last ever edition of the paper, leaving the Evening Standard with a clear run at attaining a profitable advertising revenue stream with its new free-for-all business model.

Not a lot of point reflecting wistfully on London Lite's greatest moments, or how hundreds of thousands of loyal readers will shed a number of tears, it's just not that sort of newspaper.

Instead, it'll be unlucky for the editorial team who wrote it, the hand distributors who braved the weather to hand it out, and the other associated people who earned money from the business overall. Anyone with a major contract with London Lite will be feeling the pressure bigtime already, but Friday 13th will certainly be unlucky for them.

Now to see if the Evening Standard can rise like a Phoenix from the ashes of the London newspaper market. We're not convinced it can do, but we watch with interest.

Monday, 2 November 2009

News International continues to retreat from "free"

News today that NI are going to stop bulk sales of its newspapers, though this will only impact The Times and The Sunday Times. Hot on the heels of the closure of the LondonPaper, this is another step towards implementing KRM's dictate that all content is paid for, rather than given away.

Bulks have been a bolt-on to the actual sales number for too long now, and previously we've always argued that they have little real value as we've never seen any evidence that the trail they generate ever converts into purchase.

However, in the current market and climate, where the number of people actually reading (and buying) print copies of newspapers is decreasing so rapidly, the time could actually be right for bulks to have more of a value. Previously, it was all about converting print buyers from competitive titles - give them the paper for free and they might switch over. But now, it's more about keeping print buyers in the habit of buying and reading print newspapers. There is an argument that bulks would work better to re-inforce or re-start the print readership habit - particularly on the right flights and in the right hotels, where people have time to read and remember the value of a good old fashioned dead tree.

An alternative point of view I concede, but it's got some merit. It's no longer about trial, it's about protecting existing print buying behaviour.

Anyone have a point of view?

Books bigger than games on iPhone

Games have been the No. 1 app on Apple’s iPhone for a while. That was true every month from August 2008 to August 2009. But in September and October, books surpassed games as the No. 1 category of new apps released, according to analytics firm Flurry.

The chart shows how books have surged in the past four months and how new book releases exceeded new game releases in September.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

The World of Apps

I have just spent the last 2 weeks immersed in the world of Apple and its’ apps on behalf of a client and have found some simply staggering results. The pace at which the app market has exploded has undoubtedly taken the technology world by storm, within the 2 and a half weeks I have been actively researching the market the number of apps within the store has grown from 85,000 to over 100,000.

Obviously not all of these applications are going to be top quality, and without doubt many of them are free and pointless but the sheer volume of them suggests that there is profit to be made within the industry. Having done case studies and detailed research into many apps it has become clear that the majority of creators and sellers are very small businesses who have little if any means of mass marketing and PR, this suggests that when bigger companies do put resources behind apps the consumers spend freely on purchasing the new ‘must have’ app. At the moment few big corporations have mass produced or promoted apps but with the news that Smule, creators of the popular ‘I am T-Pain’ app, have garnered a $3 million profit on their product we suspect more companies will be further flooding the market shortly.

It has also come to our attention that not many companies are significantly monitoring and tracking the usage and marketing of apps and it is an area that MarketEvolution are now going to further specialise in, the industry is fast growing and quickly developing and we believe the lack of consumer insight in this area is something that we need to change.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Done Deal - London Lite to close

So here it is news that the London Lite is to close (the news delivered somewhat ironically in the Evening Standard).

Its a shock but not a surprise (to followers of this blog).

The axe fell on the title not today but months ago in a 'you axe yours and we'll axe ours' arrangement between Associated and News International.

We forecasted the double header here and we took some industry stick for doing so and now its come to pass.

The conclusion is very sensible by the way. The losses were unsustainable and the money is far better spent on the upholding the quality of their respective National titles rather that butting heads in the London market.

This leaves the London afternoon slot completely competition free and open for the recently turned free Evening Standard. Some of you might be justifiably suspicious that the Standard might themselves have been in on the deal and that they had prior knowledge that the field would open up for them giving them the courage to give up of £75k a week cover price revenues in pursuit of extra (free) copies and ad revenues. Who knows?

Very tidy arrangement all round (unless you happen to be an employee of either of the closed/closing title)

Suppose the one remaining question is will Lite and Standard merge? Perhaps that was always on the cards. I think yes but we'll see.

Monday, 26 October 2009

E - readers - battle hots up

We are following the e-reader debate very closely. We are big fans as we see the e-reader as heralding a life saving revolution in publishing.

We are pleased to see a number of newspapers participating in Amazon's Kindle. We still believe that the economics stack up to give free readers with subscriptions although to our knowledge no-one has gone for that radical model as yet.

Clearly, there are issues holding back adoption. To become mass market prices will need to fall. E-readers are too expensive and so are the books - today, but inevitably that will change

Here is a short Reuters video on the latest device to hit the shops from Barnes & Noble and look out for Plastic Logic's Que reader with launches in January 2010.

Twitter costs UK business £1.8 billion

I love these reports that always accompany the rise of popular media - ba humbug

UK businesses are losing £1.83bn in productivity because employees are using social networks such as Twitter at work.

In a survey of 1,460 office workers, commissioned by IT services firm Morse, 57% of respondents said they use social networking sites for personal reasons during work time.

The report reveals that workers spend on average 40 minutes a week on the sites. Some respondents believe that some colleagues spend about one hour a day on these websites.