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.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The power of mobile - as demonstrated by Comic Relief

The Daily Mirror reports today that £7.8million was donated to Comic Relief by text message, potentially a new World record.

We're very focused on mobile at the moment, and have been in various incarnations and lives for a decade now, but it really does feel like the channel is coming of age.

As mobile and internet continue to converge at pace, smart marketers as now engaging consumers in rapdily moving ways. We're launching mobile based gaming in the UK and Africa at the moment and we're as sure as we can be that the time is right, and the time is now.

Friday, 27 March 2009

New bull market?

This caught me somewhat by surprise!

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Dow Jones rose 2.3 percent today, up 21 percent from its closing low on March 9, which “technically pushes the blue-chip benchmark into bull-market territory.” The gain is the best since the bear market began in October 2007. The S&P 500, meanwhile, rose 2.3 percent, which extends its best monthly rally since 1974.

Friday, 20 March 2009

More evidence of newspaper market decline

a picture worth a thousand words

Google - yet another great service

Another day, another new feature in Gmail Labs.

This one could be more useful than most, as it’s something you probably have a reason to use with some frequency. It’s called “Undo Send,” and as the name suggests, it lets you take back a sent email, as long as you act quickly enough.

After enabling the feature, Undo Send works much like Gmail’s other “undo” features. When you send an email, you get a message confirming it has been sent, along with a link to “Undo.” This message lasts for 5 seconds, at which point you lose the opportunity to take it back.

While that might not be much time, it’s probably enough to pull back emails where you forget an attachment, forget to cc someone, or catch an obvious typo. As for emails you later wish you hadn’t sent because of the content, Gmail still can’t help you there.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

$10m for executive offices! - what planet are these bankers on?

Apparently, they never learn: Bloomberg reports that Citigroup is planning to build a $10 million executive suite with new offices for its CEO Vikram Pandit and his lieutenants. Papers show Citigroup plans to pay $3.2 for basic construction—tearing down walls and such—and a source familiar with the project says final costs will be three times that much, once they add in architect’s fees and furniture. In a statement, Citigroup said “Senior executives in our corporate headquarters are moving from two floors to smaller, simpler offices on a single floor … Based on estimates made when the project was initiated, we expect to generate savings in the next few years well in excess of the project costs.”

yeah right. learn to slum it like the rest of us!

FT - its expensive here and cheap in USA

Sitting at dinner last night I was told by a friend that it is considerably cheaper to subscribe to the FT in the US than it is here in the UK. I thought that cannot be right so I woke up this morning went online and checked.....

Well my friend was right. Take a look at this

In the US its $348 for 52 weeks delivered to your door

In the UK its £468! (GB pounds) for 312 issues saving 41% on cover price

Go figure!

Another example (if we needed another) of the newspaper industry punishing (and not rewarding) loyalty.

FT launch search engine

The Financial Times is not exactly the place you’d expect to find the latest search engine, but today they launch Newssift.

It is a semantic search engine that sifts through business news, and Im told its not bad, especially for bigger companies and broader topics.

Personalised Magazines? Thats interesting

Thus far, personalized news has been limited to the Internet, but Time Inc. is bringing it to the printed word with mine, a five-issue, 10-week, experimental magazine that allows readers to select five Time Warner/American Express Co. magazines that Time editors will combine into a personalized magazine with 56 possible combinations. Essentially, mine is a printed, expanded RSS feed. Magazines available to the program include Time, Sports Illustrated, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Money, In Style, Golf, and Travel + Leisure.

Ads in the mine run will all be for the Lexus 2010 RX SUV--but with personalized messages for each subscriber targeting their interests.

mine's experimental run is free, with a 36-page print edition available to the first 31,000 respondents and an online version available to 200,000 others. The online edition may not be of much interest to readers skilled in the art of Internet news surfing, but mine's printed edition brings an interesting concept to the table: the minimalization of paper waste with personalized magazines and newspapers.

Instead of subscribing to five magazines, why not just subscribe to one that has everything you want inside?

Instead of subscribing to The Times, The Sun, and your local newspaper, why not subscribe to a mash-up of all three?

The print media industry may be slowing down, but its far from dead.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

What do regulators actually do?

The authorities in the states have now charged bernie madoffs accountant with fraud, opening the floodgates for the ponzi fraudsters to be identified. Apparently it's a one man band operation, as was stanfords accountant.

Surely when there are billions involved the regulators should be closer than they have been?

Thursday, 12 March 2009

From Cuddly Toys to Pet Shop Boys - it's all about the brand

There's a story doing the rounds at the moment that a container of cuddly toys was washed overboard during a storm off the East Coast of England, and made its way up the Thames to West London, where it was found in the middle of the night by an enterprising young promotions executive.

Two days later, the Mail on Sunday ran a free cuddly pet toy promotion - "Get your free puppy here".

Last week the MoS returned to more familiar ground with a free CD with the Pet Shop Boys.

Sources close to the Pet Shop tell us that the cuddly toy made a small impact of 25,000 odd copies, while the Pet Shop Boys delivered a more impressive 200,000 uplift.

The morale of the story? Pets don't win prizes, but Pet Shops can still reel in the punters.

No idea what the joined-up thinking regarding the brand was, maybe there just wasn't any, and the story about the washed up container may actually be true.

Monday, 9 March 2009


The Sunday Times, was the only Sunday title to post an increase in circulation in February, up 0.66% to 1,214,254, according to figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation out late last week.

The Sunday Times: only Sunday title to post a February circulation rise

The Sunday Times: only Sunday title to post a February circulation rise

The Sunday Times, which was the first paper to up its price to £2 in September 2006, was also up 1.27% month on month.

The News of the World, was down 7.97% year on year, to 3,019,928, but regained its title as the biggest selling paper, from its daily sister title The Sun.

The Independent on Sunday posted another substantial decline in circulation in February, down 21.28% year on year to 179,487, although it was up slightly, 0.39% month on month. The figure includes 39,295 bulks - heavily discounted copies sold to airlines, hotels and other outlets and given away to consumers.

The Observer down 7.26% year-on-year to 430,341

The Sunday Telegraph down 6.03% year-on-year to 595,029.

Daily Star Sunday performed the best among the tabloids, but was still down 1.74% year on year, to 360,143.

Sunday Mirror was down 9.07% year on year to 1,226,062.

The Mail on Sunday held up relatively well, posting a circulation decline of 0.85% year on year, to 2,184,982.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The mess that is ITV

Regular readers of the blog will have been following the ongoing saga of ITV over the last few months or so. It's been pretty obvious that the business has had major problems for a while and we've been flagging them up here on the blog with increasing frequency.

Words like "stricken", "failing" and "struggling" have accompanied the release of their 2008 results this morning. The headline loss of £2.7bn is driven mainly by goodwill write-offs, but within this profits have dropped 41% to £167m in 2008. While 600 job cuts, £65m off the programming budget and firesales of Friends Reunited (remember them?) and Freeview business SDN, may go some way to placate shareholders deprived of a dividend, it smacks of too little too late.

Revenues are down 17-20% in Q1 this year, which means ITV aren't suffering as much as Trinity Mirror (-30%), but media companies with print at their heart already have an inbuilt advantage in that their customers are in a habit of paying for the product, and this gives them a relationship and a revenue stream that can be developed - print businesses have options to lock customers in. ITV have an amorphous mass of anonymous eyeballs.

Their strategy around this problem of not knowing their customer was to develop the digital offer and "leverage the ITV brand". Today they announce that the target of deriving £150m in digital revenues by 2012 has been scrapped, due to market conditions, though this is not helped by the fact that their online revenues in 2008 limped in at £36m, miles away from where they needed to be. Sponsorship revenues came in way higher than online, at £58million, just to put some context around this. The online team lost £20m overall, which is a startling "return" on investment in an arena which is meant to be their shining hope for the future.

So, traditional revenues are falling faster than Hull City in the Premier League, while online revenues are a drop in the ocean compared to the gaping hole they are meant to be filling.

I know there are a few good people at ITV and I hope they manage their escape before the iceberg is sighted. It's out there, it's getting colder and closer, but it's most definitely on a collision course.

Monday, 2 March 2009

App turns iPhone into credit card terminal

We LOVE this

As if phones didn't already do enough, one of the latest mobile apps transforms iPhones and iPod Touches into portable charge card terminals. ProcessAway plugs into Authorize.net's payment processing platform, allowing entrepreneurs to accept credit card payments anywhere they can access the internet.

After downloading the app and (separately) setting up a merchant account with Authorize.net, clients can use ProcessAway like a traditional charge card terminal: enter the amount, input the card number, expiry date and verification code, and process. There's even a tip option for service businesses. Customers receive an email receipt for each transaction, and merchants can view transactions and process refunds on the fly. Aware that consumers might be weary of having their credit card details punched into a phone, ProcessAway stresses that's a secure application: information is never stored in the phone and the program won't connect to anything other than the terminal.

If it can gain trust and acceptance, ProcessAway could be particularly useful for those who need to process and authorise payments on-the - go. It's also useful at venues that don't have fixed terminals: antique shows, market stalls and music merchandise stands or Newspaper sellers!!.

Mirror Group Revenues slump - what to do?

Newspaper group Trinity Mirror cut its dividend last week as the group warned advertising had fallen around 30% in the first two months of this year.

The group, which owns the Daily Mirror and more than 140 regional newspapers, reported a 22% fall in operating profit in 2008 to £145.2m, down from £186.4m the previous year.

Revenues from retained businesses fell 6.5% to £871.7m, down from £932.3m.

This is shocking news. We all know revenues across board the are under intense pressure but this is unprecedented. We are in uncharted territory.

So what to do? Well here a few toplines from our 'Growth Through Consolidation' white paper..

1. Sure up the revenue base. Talk to advertisers and their buying agents find out what they are prepared to keep buying. Try to move to contracts with Agencies that maintain spends.

2. Expand the revenue base to include additional channels such as direct to consumer goods and services (insurance, insurance, insurance). Leverage the large audience base immediately by making it more available to brands/products

3. Stop looking for new readers; you have more than enough in your 'pool'. Devote your energies to initiatives that get them to buy you more often. Move heaven and earth to get readers on a 'contract'. This will increase frequency of purchase and reward loyalty. This may look like a subscription scheme but should act like a loyalty one.

4. Sub contract (if possible) certain expensive elements of the paper. Supplements etc

5. Work with news agents to improve availability efficiency (millions could be saved here)

6. Think twice about TV advertising (its expensive)...talk to your audience more directly

7. Recognise that economic times are tough and readers are hurting - opportunity to bring back big value 'token collect' promotions that reward readers (with real value) for buying the paper

8. On the product side - picking up again on the dire state of the economy do more to support and guide your readership. Entertain them yes. Inform them yes. But become their friend in these troubles times. You cant do enough in this area.

I worry that the web is seen as the way out of this one but as we are seeing digital advertising (which is flat) is not strong enough (never was) to replace lost print ad revenues.

Newspaper have got to think differently. Use the brand and critically their trusted customer relations to drive up revenues.