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.

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.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Nokia versus Apple Patent Dispute

Finnish mobile giant Nokia filed a lawsuit against Apple on Thursday on grounds that the iPhone maker has used Nokia’s mobile technology without permission.

The case is filed in the Federal District Court in Delaware and alleges that Apple has used 10 Nokia-patented technology standards in the iPhone since its 2007 launch, relating to wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption.

In its release, Nokia complains that it’s spent €40 million billion ($60 billion) on R&D in the last 20 years and that its licensed its tech standards to manufacturers in 40 countries worldwide.

Nokia’s VP for legal & IP Ilkka Rahnasto is taking no prisoners: “By refusing to agree appropriate terms for Nokia’s intellectual property, Apple is attempting to get a free ride on the back of Nokia’s innovation,” he says.

Now we are are very interested by this as we have our own patents in the mobile technology space so its very relevant stuff for us.

On the surface we, of course, have sympathy with Nokia but I'm sure Apple will counter claim and the lawyers will get rich. We don't think this action is entirely motivated by the stellar rise of the iphone and the huge loss of Nokia market share. Also I'm sure that Nokia's move will open the flood gates for other patent holders to take a legal swing at Apple. Either way we will watch this one carefully and share all developments with you.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

ABCe: guardian.co.uk hits record unique user number of 32.9million

Reported on mediaguardian.co uk this morning:

"The Guardian News & Media's website network which includes content from the Observer and MediaGuardian.co.uk, attracted 32,953,433 unique users, up 23.62% from August and an increase of 36.25% year on year, according to the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations Electronic published today.

Emily Bell, director of digital content at Guardian News and Media, said: "Breaking 30 million users is another milestone for guardian.co.uk. We are delighted to see a healthy interest in online news across the board and to have smashed the 30 million barrier with well over 32 million unique users to set a new record for guardian.co.uk and online newspapers.

Both our global and UK success can be attributed to our sustained investment in web content. The newly launched environment site attracted a significant number of new users and our new TV site, offering user-friendly listings, has encouraged repeat visitors and increased engagement."

Must make those £90m a year losses feel much better as the cold winter nights start to draw in.

Newspapers may have the largest audience reach in their history, but size of audience is not related to the commercial reality of right now. Engaging those customers in a profitable relationship is much harder than good old SEO. Time to stop blowing that trumpet and get someone to pay for the performance.

Thought for today - customer relationships

'The value lies in managing your relationships with your customers and that is where you should put your effort'

Mia de Kuijper, author Profit Power Economics

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Post from America 2

Couple of snippets from the US roadtrip worth mentioning.

Firstly the New York Times are running 50% off subscription offers using TV ads, presumably alongside in-paper comms. Interesting that they feel that they need to bolster the in-paper space with TV, presumably endorsing the view we have that newspapers need to work more closely with other media channels to maximise ad revenue opportunities. On the back of the US vs UK NMA ads shown below - which are quite strikingly different - are the NMA looking at what's happening on this side of the Atlantic?

Secondly, following up on the Twitter based backlash towards Jan Moir's Gately article. The Burlington Free Press (daily broadsheet, 75cents cover price, 16 pages, some colour) carried the story on page 2 today, showing just how small technology has made the world become. Stephen Fry was mentioned as the instigator behind the backlash, wonder how many of the locals knew who he was, let alone Stephen Gately.

Blackberry watch?

We've blogged before about phone watches so we are excited by this one that says its a Blackerry watch. Not manufactured by Blackberry but designed to be fully compatible with Blackberry nevertheless. And primarily intended for showing incoming calls/message.

Works for me!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Newspaper Associations ad campaigns

US (NAA) and UK ( NMA) newspaper trade associations hit back with new advertising campaigns promoting the power and reach of papers.

Here are a couple of examples of the ad treatments being rolled out. You will notice that the NAA treatment is harder nosed and in our opinion more arresting and effective:

PCC - You've been Twittered!

Yet another example of extraordinary power of twitter to act as a voice and as a crowd motivator - the Press Complaints Commission got more complaints (21,000) in a single weekend over Jan Moir's Stephen Gately article in the Daily Mail than the regulator has had in the past five years.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Newspaper news by Telephone

The Telephone Newspaper Company of America announced last week (October 6th) that it will offer news of general interest, political happenings, sport and other current events by telephone to subscribers.

Great new newspapers service?

Yup - but actual date October 6th 1909 not 2009.

So much for innovation.

As said before phones, web are simply distribution and access critical element is content itself.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Busy bees

With over half the UK population creating and sharing content according to recent research commissioned by First Direct this rather clever infographic caught my eye.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Bloomberg acquires Business Week

What's Bloomberg thinking buying Business Week?

BWs a struggling, loss making weekly in a content area that Bloomberg have well covered.

Very Strange.

Or maybe not?

More on this when we have formed our opinion.
Toby Constantine
Director | Market Evolution Ltd

Research | Analysis | Insight | Advice | Action

Sent from my handheld

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Post from America

US Customs and Border Protection Officer:

"What do you do for a living?"


"I have a business working with national newspapers in the UK"

US Customs and Border Protection Officer:

"You still have those over there?"

True story.......

Monday, 12 October 2009

Paranormal Activity - demand it!

Many of you will remember the movie Blair Witch Project. I never saw it but I remember the hype and what turned out to be one of the most effective viral marketing campaigns of all time.

Well here come another.

A film in the US called 'Paranormal Activity' is being marketed using crowd sourcing. The movie is using popular demand to take it from limited screenings to national distribution.

And it seems to be working - the movie took in $6.5 million from only 159 theaters, and is set to open in wide release on October 16.

This is clever stuff. For the studio its a way to market the movie (very cheaply and very effectively) and to evaluate demand on a city by city basis enabling a cost effective distribution.

Ive become one of 1,850 people in the UK to 'demand it' come here to the UK. Not that I want to see it as it looks very, very scary ( !).

Newspapers begin fight back - finally!

The Newspaper Marketing Agency (the body representing the national newspaper industry) is launching a high-profile campaign to battle the "unremittingly gloomy" view of the newspaper advertising market and win over belt-tightening marketers.

The campaign, starts tomorrow and will ultimately comprise six ads that will run across the national titles of most of the major newspaper groups.

HOORAY. About time.

We've been saying for months and months that the newspaper industry needs to get positive and fight back. We've scratched our heads for months wondering why the industry cheerleader (the NMA) has been so quiet, so invisible and as the war rages around them.

Lets hope this is the beginning of a thoughtful, well designed and continuous cross media marketing programme to remind advertisers of the unique benefits of newspapers. Lets hope it isnt just a one off 6 treatment ad campaign run for a short while in national newspapers!

Friday, 9 October 2009

NPR on Jeff Jarvis

This NPR piece on Jeff Jarvis is well worth a listen. As many of you know JJ a leading thinker on the future of media and someone we rate and we follow. Have listen and once you have read his blog.

Alex on the iPhone

Congratulations to Telegraph Media Group for the Alex cartoon app on the iPhone.

59p well spent, it's creative, engaging and does exactly what it says on the tin.

Good example of monetising content on the iPhone, positive step towards making digital more commercially sensible.

Check it out if you haven't already, it's got a thumbs up from us.

We're measuring user engagement with iPhone apps in the UK at the moment, we'll add this to the mix.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Stylist arrives - what's the verdict on issue one?

At the heart of all good research are three key factors, "ask the right questions, to the right number, of the right people".

I'm not the target audience for Stylist, there's only one of me, and I'm asking my own questions, but I'll have a go at a first edition critique.

Firstly, good to see a new print product in the market, we like people who try and make things work, and actually get things done.

Five key elements that will make Stylist a success for readers and advertisers (sample of 1)

1) Good paper quality, to display the ads, and ink that doesn't come off on your fingers when you read it.

2) Quality content, which is interesting and engaging to read.

3) Good environment to host the ads.

4) Enough to read to make me want to come back for more next week.

5) Engaging use of digital to build the brand, the relationship and the habit.

So, how's it looking so far?

1) Paper quality is OK, not great, but obviously constrained by the business model (which is entirely sensible). I now have inky fingers though, and if I've learnt anything from over 12 years in newspapers, it's that women are way less forgiving than men when it comes to inky fingers. That's going to be a big issue going forward that they need to solve, or do a promotional tie-up with a wet-wipe/hand cleansing brand to give away a free sample with every copy.

2) Quality interesting content - doesn't do a lot for me personally, but looks well written, it's varied and I'd give up an inky thumbs up.

3) Good environment for advertisers - the proof is in the pudding, but the first edition is never the one to judge. Issue 5 and 6 will usually be a better barometer, but as they fall in the Xmas season they should also be pretty full. Anyway, on the basis of issue 1, we have Selfridges, Amex, M&S and Clinique - so looking positive.

4) Enough to read to bring me back next week? I think so.

5) Good use of digital? Just an e-reader on the site at the moment, which is the bare minimum. I'd have launched with more than this, particularly trying to identify some readers over the next few weeks, but maybe budgets were just not there. If it's a success, I'd expect to see this grow smartly from Q1 next year.

Overall, 7 out of 10, so a good launch edition. Needs to sort the ink out quickly though.....

Monday, 5 October 2009

Crowded At The Top

This is a direct lift from Seth Godin's blog. Seth is a very clever guy and his well respected blog is well worth following.

In the 260 weeks from 1966 to 1970, there were only thirteen musical acts responsible for every #1 song on the Billboard charts.

In the 260 weeks that accounted for the first half of the 1970s, it was 26. (hat tip to John Marks for the stat).

Sometimes, we define a golden age in a market as a time of stability, when one or a few giants capture all of our attention. AT&T telephones, Superman comics, Beatles records, IBM computers, The New York Times... and now Google. Choices are easy, the market grows without a lot of effort and we marvel over the ease of success. Ironically, the success of these winners attracts quixotic entrepreneurs, people who set out to challenge the few who are winning. While we might root for these underdogs, it turns out that they're not the ones who usually change everything. The powerful are still too powerful.

The real growth and development and the foundations for the next era are laid during the chaotic times, the times that come after the leaders have stumbled. Harry Chapin didn't trip up the Beatles, but the breakup of the Beatles allowed Harry Chapin his chance. The next golden age of journalism, of communications, of fashion, of car design--those are being established now, in a moment when it's not so crowded at the top.

The very best time to launch a new product or service is when the market appears exhausted or depleted. There's more room at the top and fewer people in a hurry to get there.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Farewell to the Evening Standard

On October 12th, the Evening Standard will drop its current 50p cover price, and go free in London, as Lebedev and his fellow shareholders desperately try to find a way to drag the London title into the realms of profitability. A surprising announcement to say the least.

Let's re-wind 3 months. London Lite (estimated annual losses of £10m) battling head to head with the LondonPaper (estimated annual losses of £12m) sucking the shallow puddle of London advertising revenue dry. The Evening Standard (estimated annual losses of £12m) has run its "We're sorry" brand campaign, the re-design is bedding in, and the Eros card has been consigned to the bin to be replaced with the pre-payment Standard card. By the way, we like the strategic view that giving customers a card allows you to engage in a proper two way dialogue, it's fundamental to a successful media business we fervently believe.

2 free papers, up against a paid for title with a maximum 50p cover price, all losing money. When Murdoch closed the London Paper, we felt that a deal had been done behind the scenes, allowing the London Lite to be withdrawn at a later date, removing the ongoing exposure of Associated to the annual losses. We didn't however think that the Standard would go free, this hadn't entered into our consciousness.

What vision of the future has the Standard glimpsed to make them take such a dramatic step? Yes, they had already been giving about half their print run away through variable "pricing" after 6pm. Yes, their audience reach had shrunk making them less of a mass market advertising vehicle, but by concentrating on a "quality" positioning and maintaining a positive purchase decision through a 50p price point, they had a differentiated advertising sale solution reaching a discerning upmarket audience.

The outcome? All circulation revenue sacrificed in an attempt to double or treble audience reach, putting them head to head with London Lite (part owner still of the Standard), and making the new Standard card redundant before it had begun to deliver value. Moving to a mass market free model, when all around us, we see free newspapers gasping their last gasps? Why didn't they take a 10p cover price position (it worked so well for The Times in the 1996 summer of sport that daily Monday sales topped the million level) and retain some income from this stream?

What they actually have done is bet the farm on making up all the revenues needed from display (and classified??) advertising, in a market where there remains consumer and advertiser choice, and a market which has a poor recent track record of being large enough to deliver the volumes required at the requisite prices. And they've abandoned their one-to-one relationship with paying customers on the Standard card, which could have built knowledge and thrown off third party goods and services revenues going forwards.

It smacks of going over the top at dawn, or ignoring the arrangements of the deckchairs to concentrate on a welcome party for the iceberg. If anyone knows who has advised them "strategically" we'd love to know, and would welcome (and publish here) their thinking behind the decision, to shed some light on this last roll of the dice.

We think this is idiocy of the highest order, and fear that 2010 will see the closure of the Standard. We hope we've missed something really obvious here, and the title will thrive, and will of course keep up our dialogue and commentary over the next few months.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Digital Switchover

The UK has had to retune all Freeview boxes, those households who didn't would be unable to watch Channel 5, ITV3 and ITV4.

I've got a little TV with built in Freeview in the bedroom (more detail than usually needed, but an integral part of the story). There's no obvious way to retune it on the remote control, and being a bloke, I have no idea where the manual for the TV is having bought it earlier this year.

So, I currently have no C5, ITV3 or ITV4.

Haven't missed any of them yet. Wonder how long it'll take until I start missing them.

Watch this space.......

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Mad Men Ad men Muppets

"Sesame Street" temporarily renames itself the Emotional Movie Channel for a parody of Mad Men the US smash hit based on the Ad Industry

US Media M&A

Image representing NBC Universal as depicted i...Image via CrunchBase

Comcast, the US leading provider of cable, entertainment and communications products and services, is in talks to buy the entertainment giant NBC-Universal from General Electric.

The deal at a purchase price of $35 billion was negotiated at a meeting among bankers in New York on Tuesday. Comcast denies a deal is done, but does not deny talks.