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, 27 February 2009

How much is £325 billion?

RBS has just received Government backed guarantees on £325 billion of its toxic assets.

Big number. To put it into some sort of context, that's just over £50 for every single person on the planet.

Wonder how many of the world's population survive on less than £50 a month. A high proportion I'd wager.

Well done RBS, that sort of achievement deserves reward and recognition. Take a bow Sir Fred, you must be very proud. You can contemplate the wisdom of your reign at your leisure, while you work out how to eke a living out of your £650,000 annual pension.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Fred Goodwin to receive £650,000 for life

Robert Peston is running with this headline on his blog. He quotes 'authoritative sources' so who are we to doubt it

I hope Robert is wrong with this one. Its outrageous, if true, that Sir Fred is already drawing down an annual pension of £650,00o and for life. 

This is a guy that has destroyed not only RBS shareholder value, but value of an entire sector and has contributed to destroying capitalism as we know it.  oh and lets remember its you and i as taxpayers who are in the curious position as part owners of RBS that ultimately are paying this pension. 

All I can say is that all the riches in the world wont ease his conscious or repair his shattered reputation. But maybe it would pay for an identity change and a new anonymous life.


ITV to merge with Channel 4 and Channel 5?

In any other market conditions this thought would be absurd but in todays market all things are possible....

As one of a series 'radical ideas' ITV has drawn up a plan for a three-way merger with Channel 4 and Channel Five. Yes they have

Its not so mad as it would bring together the UK's three main advertiser-funded commercial broadcasters and it might be the only to safeguard all three businesses in the face of the most challenging market conditions ever.

Look im sure the Regulators would have massive concerns (although they seemed to have turned a blind eye to anti competitive bank mergers so why stop this?) and im sure Sky and BBC will lobby furiously against it but its just this kind of 'radical' thinking that the media sector needs right now.

In fact the newspaper industry could learn from this. As the old saying 'in stormy weather we cling together'. Suddently old enemies become best friends.

More news on this as it breaks

Monday, 23 February 2009

And another one.........

Newspapers are failing fast in the US

The Philadelphia Inquirer has been placed into Chapter 11 filing. The paper will be joined in bankruptcy protection by the Philadelphia Daily News and the website philly.com.

Same comment as in previous post regarding The Journal lets hope that Chapter 11 (which allows owners to restructure debts) will give these guys the chance to make the necessary game saving decisions and emerge stronger

Another Newspaper casualty in US

The Journal Register Company, filed for Chapter 11 protection on Saturday.

The Journal Register owns 20 daily and 159 other newspapers, serving parts of Philadelphia, Michigan, Connecticut, the Cleveland area and New York. It has about 3,500 employees.

We know The Journal well as its the publisher of excellent The New Haven Register in Connecticut.

Lets hope these guys can take the difficult decisions and emerge stronger from chapter 11.

Time for newspapers to grasp the e-reader thing

Those of you that have followed our scribbles in this blog over the months will be aware that we have been scratching our heads why it is newspapers haven't grasped the electronic reader (soon to be epaper) thing. We've consistently said that it makes huge sense, saves money, makes money, strengthens relationships, saves the planet and so on

Well great minds think alike... please click here for recent piece in the excellent Fast Forward magazine on the subject. Please do read it and if you like it go to The Economist who wrote something very similar a couple of weeks back...

Maybe newspaper publishers will listen to the folks at Fast Forward....hope so as we believe e-readers are part of the 'fight back' strategy for newspapers.

Bid for Metro Int

Markets were alerted today that Metro Int had received a unsolicited bid for the Company. Share bounce 60%.

Cant think who the bidder could possibly be (maybe former CEO Pelle Tornberg?) but bear in mind that the company is valued at £30m today (and thats after todays share price rise). Set that against the value of the business when we were there in 2005 when the company was worth £900m (frothy eh)its a bit of a bargain.

I would absolutely buy it for £30m as i think its got huge unrecognised value. 20m + daily readers all aged somewhere between 18 - 45. Sweet. Id ask Per Michael Jensen to stay on and run it as he is making all the right moves and we would exploit those reader relationships to bits.

I am told the Directors turned down a bid for £500m in 2007 so they are unlikely to agree something in the 30m range or are they?!!

Murdoch loses deputy

President of News Corp Peter Chernin set to leave the Company when his contract expires end of June 09. Well well. This had been rumored for some time but few insiders thought Peter would actually leave.

He has been Murdoch deputy for 12 years and is almost universally applauded for the job he has done.

I'm sure he has lots of lucrative things to get on with including a contracted production deal with Fox/20th Century Fox so the very best of luck to him.

More pressingly is his departure comes at a sticky (sorry tricky) moment for Murdoch. News stock is down 70% from 52 week high and the News Corp businesses are way too over exposed to advertising. Murdoch needs all the help and support he can get right now and this isnt a good time to be losing his deputy; the man that dealt with Hollywood and Wall St.

Supposedly he isnt going to be replaced Mr Murdoch will take over his direct reports (not bad for a 77 year old)

i suppose this clears up one important thing - succession. With Peter out the debate about manager versus family goes away and James Murdoch has a straight shot to succeed his dad when the time is right.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Coup for Evening Standard

Congratulations to the new owners of the Evening Standard on their appointment of Sarah Sands as deputy editor.

This is a cracking hire and a real coup for Georgie Greig, the Editor.

We know Sarah well and she is a very, very good journalist. Her editorial skills are of great benefit but so are her business development skills. I dont know anyone better in the business at inderstanding what sells newspaper and she is going to prove invaluable to the ES as it trys (along with the rest of the newspaper industry) to figure out new models for success.

Well done

Possibly the most unbelievable thing you have ever heard

News breaks today that Bernie Madoff did not buy so much as one share on behalf of his clients in 13 years!

How on earth did this remain undetected for so long?

Monday, 16 February 2009

The power of an image


Lest we forget how powerful an image can be, the World Press Photo Awards are well worth having a look at. Some stunning shots.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Sign of the times

Google acquires the buildings and premises of a mill site from a paper, packaging and forest products company that caters to the print industry.

Finland-based paper group Stora Enso has announced that Google is buying the buildings and most of the Summa Mill site, where production of paper was ceased in January 2008, for approximately €40 million ($51.7 million).

ITV freezes high-earner salaries - prudent or superficial?

ITV continues to deal with the impact of the unprecedented cash crunch driven by advertising revenues plunging steeply, announcing a salary freeze for all employees earning over £60k.

On the plus side, it shows that the management team are not afraid to take tough decisions, making an example of the 10% who are classified as "high earners" and saving a quantifiable and significant sum of money.

On the negative side, there is always a risk in de-motivating the very people who should be the talent to drive the business to success in these tough times, where the commercial dynamic has to be changed to enable ITV to survive.

There is also a view that this actually isn't going far enough. With KPMG and other large professional services businesses asking staff to work a 4 day rather than 5 day week, or take 3 month sabbaticals on 30% of pay, there is a view that ITV could have gone further to secure its own future.

On the back of other recent news at ITV, it can't be a positive place to be right now. It's not quite in the same commercial bracket as the Independent yet, but the next 6 months will be critical to its survival.

Coffee time - loyal, addicted and rewarded?

Coffee. One of the most profitable products in the world, sold by iconic brands to a legion of addicts prepared to spend a premium for their daily hit in thousands of outlets across the UK.

Sat in Market Evolution Towers, we have two Starbucks, two Prets, a Costa and a Coffee Republic within a 2 minute walk, so we're not short of choice. We're regular buyers, spending money daily.

Given how passionate we are about loyalty and recognising and rewarding valuable customers, I've now dipped my toe into the plastic card-based coffee loyalty schemes on offer. A real live test of how two major brands treat me as a regular, engaged and recognised customer.

My Pret card has been loaded online and awaits its first outing. My Starbucks card has been loaded in-store.

I have no idea what benefits are on offer. I've had a free coffee this morning from Starbucks for loading the card for the first time, but have only been promised "surprises" in future. Pret is an unknown ballgame, just waiting to reward my business over the next few months.

I'll keep you posted on the relative CRM strategies and loyalty rewards, and whether this will change my behaviour and spending patterns. Are they running good schemes, time will tell

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


We've been away from the blog for the last couple of days (resting? not in this market) and I thought the best way back was a single post that covers a number of the notable events from the last few days. so where to start?

  • News International 'shed' 65 jobs ('efficiency drive')?
  • DMGT ad revenues plummet in January (by 20+% - ouch!)
  • Bankers up in front of the beak say their sorries (again and again and again)?
  • Obama gets his (watered down) bail out package ratified (finally)?
  • Amazon launch Kindle 2 (but we wont see it here in the UK for a long while)
  • Sirius XM Satellite Radio is filing for bankruptcy (making Oprah, Martha and Howard Stern homeless!)
What else has caught our eye during our post free days?
  • Ticketmaster and LiveNation merge (as predicted here) to massive whinging from music industry, artists and politicians
  • Georgie Greig confirmed as Evening Standard editor (leaping from the dentists surgery to tube train!) and the industry asks is he up to it? Immediate gossip that ES is to go free.
  • Mr Madoff only madoff with $35bn (not $50bn) and pleads guilty to civil charge of running a 'ponzi' scheme. He continues to plead not guilty to same charge in the separate legal case!
  • Britain continues to fall into a deeper and most severe economic down turn. This seems to surprise the Cabinet but comes as absolutely no surprise to those who have lost their jobs.
  • Bank of England issues a statement saying things will begin to get better in early 2010.

Friday, 6 February 2009

News Corp posts headline quarterly loss of £4.4bn

News Corp has posted a £4.4bn loss for the three months to 31 December 2008 (compared with a profit of $832m a year earlier). Overall revenues, across BSkyB, 20th Century Fox, the New York Post and Sun newspapers, HarperCollins and MySpace were down 8.4%.

Owner Rupert Murdoch said the economic downturn was "more severe" than first thought, and warned of likely job cuts. "We are implementing rigorous cost-cutting across all operations and reducing head count where appropriate," said Mr Murdoch.

The quarterly loss was New Corp's first in more than three years, and it now predicts a 30% fall in operating profits for its fiscal year to the end of June.

"Our results for the quarter are a direct reflection of the grim economic climate," added Mr Murdoch.

Whatever your feelings for the legendary KRM, his nose for business has kept NewsCorp at the top of its game (barring some scary moments in the last recession) for 40 years. If NewsCorp is being hit this badly, despite a broader media portfolio than its competitors, then there must be some very stressed senior media executives out there right now in smaller and less diverse media businesses.

Now's the time to bunker down and focus on retaining your loyal and most valuable customers - "recognise and reward" is the new mantra for business in 2009

Thursday, 5 February 2009

ITV score massive own goal

Those of you who know us well will have encountered our passion for the beautiful game. Picture the scene - a massive Mersyside derby FA Cup replay, extra time drawing to a close and penalties looming large, tension building by the second and the full drama of an explosive last gasp winner scored by an 18 year old substitute unfolding before your very eyes. You couldn't write a better script to engage millions of passionate football fans in the thrills and spills of the FA Cup.

Only ITV cut to an ad break around a lot of the country, and missed the goal. Instead of Gosling's quick feet and curled finish, fans were watching ads for TicTacs and Volkswagens.

That's inept to say the least, and incompetent at best. ITV's FA Cup coverage has been poor across the board in comparison with the BBC and Sky's standard football output, but this plumbs new depths. Michael Grade has apologised to viewers and ordered an internal enquiry into the technical fault, but the stable is empty and the horse is long gone.

Is this another symptom of the major problems hitting ITV? (See our earlier post on Sky vs ITV) Or just an unfortunate co-incidence? Time will tell, but as cracks start to appear in a business, you have to question how safe the foundations really are.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Say bye bye to the private jet(s)

WASHINGTON - Responding to concerns about Wall Street excesses, President Barack Obama on Wednesday introduced rules limiting to $500,000 compensation paid to executives at financial institutions receiving "exceptional assistance" from the government. Any additional compensation would be made in restricted stock that won't vest until taxpayers are repaid, Obama said. Banks getting help as part of the bailout program would face new prohibitions on "golden parachutes." The rules also give shareholders of banks receiving capital infusions from the government a non-binding vote on executive compensation. Financial institutions participating in the bank bailout package will face more stringent transparency rules on expenses such as aviation services, holiday parties and office renovations.
We say: Well, well about time. We wonder whether our own leadership will impose similar 'rules' on UK bankers.

Should do and it would certainly be politically popular to do so but it might just harm chances of securing that lucrative post cabinet private sector job!

Good recessionary link-up

Live Nation and Ticketmaster may merge: WSJ

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. and Live Nation Inc. are considering a merger in a deal that would consolidate two of the most powerful forces in the music industry, according to a media report late Tuesday.

The online edition of The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported that the new, combined company would be called Live Nation Ticketmaster, and would bring together the world's largest concert promoter with the world's dominant "ticketing and artist-management" company.


Strikes us that this is exactly the kind of deal that should get done in recessionary times. Strategically sound and Im sure commercially a must-do.

Weve been following the rise of Live Nation here at Market Evolution and have always liked their 360 degree model but it was clear that they had over stretched and some kind of merger was on the cards as the credit crunched. Its also quite interesting to note that Live Nation stopped using Ticketmaster for its ticketing favouring their own yet to be built system. We heard that the system build was extremely delayed and full of problems - another reason why this merger makes sense?

Our thanks to Steven Meisel for the Madonna pic.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

The pulling power of TV

Super Bowl XLIII draws average 95.4 million viewers.

BIG reminder of the power of TV.

When they get it right and when there is something worth watching we will watch and in large numbers.

Positive Mental Attitude:

Recessionary times are good for TV companies as we stay in and watch more TV.

Let's get out and talk to brands about their communications needs.

Let's link up and collaborate.

Let's package advertising across media.

This recession shouldn't beat us, it should make us stronger!