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, 29 December 2010

Groupon file for massive fundraise

Having turned down a huge bid from Google it seems that Groupon are now firing up with a massive fund raise.

"Groupon filed a request with Delaware authorities to raise as much as $950 million by offering preferred shares, The Wall Street Journal reported."

We all thought Groupon were nuts to turn down Google and that they should have taken the money.

Having so publicly declared and demonstrated their independence they now need big funds to defend their territories and to grow. It's not going to be easy. Competition is growing from a raft of players that include newspapers who scent an opportunity for themselves in the Groupong model. And then they is Google who having been rebuffed are unlikely to sit idly by and let Groupon succeed. And lastly there is the growing negative buzz that surrounds Groupon. Merchants and customers who have had a poor and unprofitable experience are increasing vocal.

Sure all makes for an interesting story in 2011.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Online ad spend greater than newspaper in 2010

Digital advertising in the U.S. will exceed ads in newspapers for the first time in 2010, as marketers follow consumers online and digital messages are viewed as more reliable than print.

Online advertising spending will finish the year with a 13.9 percent increase to $25.8 billion, compared with an 8.2 percent decline to $22.8 billion for print newspaper ads, New York-based researcher eMarketer said today on its website.

"It’s something we’ve seen coming for a long time, but this is a tipping point," Geoff Ramsey, chief executive officer at eMarketer, said in the statement. "The bad economy has actually accelerated the shift to digital advertising."

Online ads are typically seen as more reliable, he said, because their effectiveness can be measured, whereas print ads “are often difficult to tie to a measurable financial result.”

Newspapers will end 2010 with a 7.8 percent gain in online ad spending, to $3 billion, leaving them with an overall drop of 6.6 percent, to $25.7 billion, eMarketer said.

Total ad spending in the U.S. is expected to increase 3 percent to $168.5 billion in 2010, the research company said. Expenditure on newspaper print ads will continue to decline next year by 6 percent to $21.4 billion, and total online spending will rise 10.5 percent in to $28.5 billion, eMarketer estimated.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Bomber Command - oldie but goodie

I'm sure you've all read this many times before.....I hadn't ever read it which is why I post it here

Bomber Command's Operational Research Section (BC-ORS), analysed a report of a survey carried out by RAF Bomber Command. For the survey, Bomber Command inspected all bombers returning from bombing raids over Germany over a particular period. All damage inflicted by German air defences was noted and the recommendation was given that armour be added in the most heavily damaged areas. Their suggestion to remove some of the crew so that an aircraft loss would result in fewer personnel loss was rejected by RAF command. [Patrick] Blackett's team instead made the surprising and counter-intuitive recommendation that the armour be placed in the areas which were completely untouched by damage in the bombers which returned. They reasoned that the survey was biased, since it only included aircraft that returned to Britain. The untouched areas of returning aircraft were probably vital areas, which, if hit, would result in the loss of the aircraft.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

i - struggles at the newsstand

Sales of the Independent's cut-price spinoff i are thought to have dropped to close to an average daily sale of 70,000 since launch, with no official circulation figures expected to be revealed until next year.

The 20p weekday daily launched on 26 October with a flurry of media coverage helping to drive paid-for sales of about 180,000, according to several sources.

In the third week after launch, the week commencing 8 November, average daily sales ranged from about 75,000 to 85,000; by the end of last week average daily sales appeared to be hovering close to 70,000 to 73,000, according to industry sources.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Google in talks to buy Groupon?

According to Bloomberg Groupon has held secret acquisition talks with Google. Sources say the start-up is valued at $3bn!

Apple & News Corp working on iPad newspaper

Industry sources are reporting that Apple and News Corp have been working on a new digital newspaper that would be delivered exclusively on the Apple iPad.

This new newspaper is likely to be named Daily and it would not have a print or a web based edition.

They are likely to price it cheap at around 99 cents per issue.

Daily could be launched as early as later this month.

Sources say that Rupert Murdoch is very excited about this project as he believes that people spend more time with their portable devices on their beds and couch these days rather than on a regular computer for checking out news.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The rise and rise of e-books

Another signs that e-books have arrived: The New York Times announced Wednesday that it will publish e-book bestseller lists in fiction and nonfiction starting next year. The Times has been publishing bestseller lists since 1935, and though Publishers Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today all keep lists as well, the Times’ is considered the industry standard. Janet Elder, the editor of news surveys and election analysis for the paper, says they have spent two years designing a system that tracks e-book sales. E-book sales rose nearly 190 percent in the first nine months of 2010 compared to the same period last year, according to the Association of American Publishers, driven by the growing popularity of the Amazon Kindle and the release of the Apple iPad.

Monday, 1 November 2010

New Social Rules for Living in a Digital Age

This is a direct lift from our friend Tony Fish. Tony is one of the globes leading thinkers on digital priavcy, the author of several well received books including My Digital Footprint and he somehow finds time to runs the successful networking programme mashup.

New Social Rules for Living in a Digital Age

If we sit back and reflect on current digital services, such as social media, we could conclude they are a game e.g If Twitter is about getting the best quip of the day or providing some useful info,  Linkedin is about proving "my network is bigger than yours", and Facebook is about sharing that "I have a more interesting life than you"; then there must be some new rules for these new games, but what are they? Before we examine some suggested new rules, it is worth confirming and stating that all of the old/existing rules of social engagement are still valid, relevant and have not been washed away by this new digital age. A few examples of classic handed down rules that are timeless would include:-
1.       Don't gossip, make things up, slander, steal, pinch or lie
2.       Have evidence and be professional, factual, accurate, honest, and transparent
3.       Engage and treat others how you want to be treated yourself
4.       Opinions are personal, be gracious, open, respectful and accepting of differences
Whilst all the old rules of social engagement exist, regulation does need some "modernising" as democracy, understanding and technology have advanced significantly since they were written.  Examples of regulation that would appreciate some new impetus would include: Privacy, Identity, Liberty, Harm, Consequences, Ownership, Access and Rights.
Realities for living and surviving in a digital age
Here are my rather eclectic suggestions of New Rules that I have heard, picked up or created.  I am hoping you will add and refine this list.  You can add your comments to this list here - My Digital Footprint Blog
mashup* are also organising an evening debate on "new social rules" on November 24th - you can register here http://www.mashupevent.com/event/new-social-rules   
1.     Change your password to Facebook, Twitter and bank accounts etc before you change your boy/girl friend/ partner
2.     Don't sack/release/ make redundant the person, and then be held hostage, by the person who has the login/password for your corporate fan page, group, twitter account until many people have control/access.
3.     Have several persona's, this is not a sign of madness and you don't need to justify then to anyone.
4.     Hide your friends identities by using personal nick-names on your mobile, just in case a friend borrows it to text that person with some inappropriate message that may haunt you forever.
5.     No adult supervision will not lead to anarchy. The youth want to be somewhere (in a digital world) where they are in control
6.     Provide someone (you trust) with the knowledge how to access your accounts/ data after you die and what you want done with your data/ digital footprint. Be aware - it will go against every term and condition you have signed if you do this.
7.     Your password is the weakest point in your armour,
8.     Reputation is all you have and your name is a good identity - so don't abuse or loose either
9.     Make sure you realise that your digital footprint is worth more than your salary
10.    Everything you do can be recorded (stored) as sensors will be in all digital devices soon - ask yourself why and what use will the data be and to whom!
11.    Create a lot of rubbish data and cause confusion if you want to hide in plain sight. It is easy to find and hard to hide in a digital world if everyone is honest
12.    Determine what the terms "family" and "friends" mean to you before you accept others into your network(s)
13.    Un-friending is acceptable - being un-friended is a reality
14.    Learn the social (digital and physical) rules that apply to your group today but be aware they will be different tomorrow
15.    Privacy - It's all in the settings
16.    Digital has one speed - fast, there are no breaks but plenty of fuel
17.    Internet writing is in Ink, once out there - it is out there, there is no rubber (yet)
18.    Loyalty (to a service) is dead - you are free to your own boundaries
19.    Open means you don't want to hide and transparent means "it can be found" - but most people will not bother
20.    Branding is now personal and it is the new black
21.    Trust is the new king’s advisor – content still wears the trousers
22.    Free is not free - Engagement, Relationship and Conversation have a price
23.    FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) are easier to sell
24.    Money in a digital world has less 'personal' value than real money and is closer to swopping chickens for potato's. Unlike cash, others are more prepared to cheat, lie, swindle and steal your digital money as it appears "virtual" and less actual. 
25.    Don't set up any direct debits to anything
26.    Don't let individuals buy web domains or set up accounts just to avoid the long corporate procedures and PO cycles.
27.     Interaction with the “screens of life” is the ultimate digital game being played. It is to get "content" from the dark bowels of a data warehouse onto your brightly lit screen
28.    Control is not in your hands
29.    Levels of damage and harm from digital engagement is currently lower that you may think

Back online

Aplogies for the silence in whats been the longest lapsed time since we started this blog 3 years ago. Back now and normal service is resumed

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Blackberry tablet - the PlayBook

Hot on the heels of Samsung and others Blackberry officially entered the tablet market last night finally unveiling its own iPad killer - the PlayBook

Aimed squarly at professionals and enterprise users the 7 inch screened PlayBook looks and sounds impressive. 

Heres a picture.

For those of you that like to know whats under the bonnet heres a breakdown: 

The CPU is a dual-core 1GHz unit based on an ARM Cortex A9 architecture, and its screen is a 7-incher like many of the other upcoming iPad challengers. There's full multitouch and "gesture" support, 1GB of RAM and twin HD cameras--one facing forward for Web chat and videoconferencing reasons, and one facing back. The front-facing cam is three megapixels, and the rear is a five-megapixel one, and though RIM's press release seems to hint that both can do "HD" video recording. There's Wi-Fi N compatibility, Bluetooth 2.1, a micro USB slot (for standardized cell phone charger compatibility and syncing) and "charging contacts," which we assume are ready for a customized docking system. It also weighs "less than a pound" and has HDMI out for full 1080p video support.

We're excited by Blackberry's announcement - more competition the better we say as it will lower device costs and boosts uptake. The more tablets in the market means improved services,interactivity and greatly customer engagement. 

Also as an avid Blackberry user (it just works!) I'm a natural to get one of these as I just know it won't let me down and I'm prepared to compromise on the entertainment capabilities to safegaurd my professional needs.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

US retail flees newspapers

Every now and then we publish a link of an article that we think is important and a 'must read'. This one comes from Refections of a Newsosaur, a blog written by Alan D Mutter. Alan'sblog is often featured here as it's a very good take on the US newspaper market.

The poll revealed below isn't great news for regional/local newspaper publishers as it shows an aggressive swift away from newspapers by local business. Perhaps not new news in trend terms but the level and extent is ominous. This news comes hard on the heals revenues being sucked out of local ad budgets by social shopping sites like Groupon.


Monday, 20 September 2010

What about the social shopping merchants?

Social shopImage by dominiccampbell via FlickrTodays we consider the other side of the Groupon social shopping business model namely the merchants themselves.

Its clear from all the hype around Groupon that social shopping is a cash cow --- for Groupon but how is for the merchants?

The challenge with the model as far as we see it isn’t making money for Groupon, but making money for its customers, the recession-pinched merchants giving away their products and services at a loss. The web is full of stories of merchants who have had negative experiences and have sufferred the consequences of suddently having too many customers (looking for a bargain).

Lets be honest for those of us that understand regional and local advertising we know that building sustainable partnerships with low-margin small businesses is hard; it probably involves some level of shared risk, with pricing based on long-term profits rather than short-term revenues. Groupon and the other social shopping 'me-toos' can do this if they want but currently the 50% revenue share is probably too expensive for the merchant in the long term.

We worry that the merchant is vulnerable in the current model  despite the cap 'control' element and the payment on success model. They still have to finance the deep discount.  And as we know discounting doesnt bring loyalty it brings thrill seekers on a once only basis. Might be good for getting customers to the door and short term cash flow but not for longer term profits.

Its here in part that we see an opportunity for local media companies. They understand small businesses having traded with them for many decades. They understand better than anyone the dynamics and realities of low-margin business and they well placed to fashion an equitable commercial agreement on a more sustainable basis.

One suggestion could be to develop activity that combines traditional classified ad formats with deal of the day activity. This sounds sensible to us as it covers revenue generation and the need to develop return customers and customer relationships.

Footnote:  we had heard that Groupon was curremtly only able to service 1 out 8 requests from merchants wanting to use the deal of the day service. There is obviously lots of demand out there and therefore a big opportunity for local media owners to do what they know how to do - namely deliver a tip top service business and readers alike for the long term

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Wednesday, 15 September 2010

National Brands success with social shopping - Hazchem National Newspapers

Hot on the heels of The Gap's staggering success with social shopping juggernaut Groupon in the US (400,000 groupons were sold and $11m of revenue was generated) its the turn of Virgin America to try out the deal-of-the day platform and generate huge success of their own.
Partnering with Loopt (the location-based social mapping service that allows individuals to use their location to discover the world around them) Virgin America offerred people two-for-one tickets to Cancun or Los Cabos from California. The offer proved a smash with consumers and Virgin America recorded its fifth highest revenue day ever.
This is significant stuff. It illustrates that the deal-of-the -day mechanic which uptil now has been the exclusive domain of regional and local brands can work for national brands on a countrywide basis!
We've blogged here on the threat from the rise of social shopping to local and regional newspaper groups advertising revenues but maybe national newspapers should be worried too? How long will it be before Groupon or livingsocial start offerring national deals in the UK and why wouldnt they it looks like great money!!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Groupon - friend or foe? Regional newspapers need to decide - fast

We are watching the rise of social shopping with great interest.

Social shopping represents a real challenge to newspaper companies. Social shopping companies like Groupon are growing fast here now and are aggressively scooping up local advertising revenues that traditionally have been the domain of regional media. This is a clearly problem. These are revenues and relationships that once gone are not coming back and all at a time when regional media owners cant afford further declines in their revenues.

So what to do?

Well the first thing is regionals have to act. They cannot afford to sit back and allow yet another clever non-traditional company to swoop into the market and plunder these revenues. This cant be allowed to go the way of  recruitment, automobiles, property and personals revenues. They have to act and swiftly.

We see 3 'action' options:

1. Partner Groupon (or other major player) and let them commercialize your audience with you at no cost to yourself

2. Find a white label social shopping partner and set up a branded service at limited cost and low risk to yourself

3. Develop your own a 'deal of day' platform and launch the service for your self and pocket the incremental revenue without having to share it with a partner.

There are as always advantages and disadvantages to each of these and the best fit route is dependent on individual market circumstances. The good news is that which ever way regionals choose the result will be positive. Market take up has proved that merchants like the social shopping model (why wouldn't they there is no money to pay until there is revenue through the door) and millions of consumers are loving the deep discounts and the social "all join in' aspect aspect of the service.

The other significant advantage about social shopping for regionals to consider is that the service is good at building brand relevance/role and reader engagement - both in shortish supply these days.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Online TV - the reality

With all the hype surrounding online TV I thought it would be worth putting some stats around the hyperbole.

According to Nielsen people watch 3 hours of online video per month compared with 158 hours of old-style TV.

There you go.....

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Groupon - its spreading fast

Is anyone else out there tracking the rise of Groupon? It seems to be growing very fast in the UK. I judge this on my own personal experience. I signed up two or three months ago and just lately the service has gone from one rather poor and mostly irrelevant 'deal of the day' to at least 6 really good deals a day. I mean good enough to take advantage of.

So what is Groupon? It's official tag is that its the 'leading social commerce site' or put another way its the 'leading social shopping site' or even 'collective buying'.

Ok but what does that all mean? Well actually its a pretty simple concept. You sign up for the service. The service emails you a deal of the day (or many actually). If you like the deal and want it you pay upfront. The deal only takes effect if the specified number of customers buy-in (thats the social bit). The deals expire after a day.

So why so popular?

Well for merchants its a results driven no cost ad meduim (they dont charge up front, it shares the proceeds)and for punters its another targetted deep discount channel.

We are very interested in what the effect of this fast growing meduim will be on business. There are clearly opportunities for media owners to joint forces with Groupon to leverage the hyper local ad market (or to offer their own perhaps?)

More on the opportunities and challenges posed by Groupon soon, but in the meanwhile watch this space.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Defination of a tech start-up

Reid Hoffman founder of Linkedin coined the definitive description of a technology start up. It is, he says, like 'throwing yourself off a cliff and trying to assemble a plane on the way down'

pretty appropriate defination we say

and if you are involved in the tech patent business we could add ".......whilst monkeys try and steel all your tools"

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

e-book Milestone

Amazon has announced that sales of digital books for its e-reader, the kindle has outstripped US sales of hardbacks on its website for the first time.

Amazon has sold 143 digital books for every 100 hardbacks sold over last 3 months.

Does this spell the end of the musty old book shop? Well it appears not. The growth of ebooks is not damaging sales of physical books. According to the Association of American Publishers, hardback sales are still growing in the US, up 22% this year.

The US market is 2 to 3 years ahead of UK where digital books are still small. The kindle has only been available here since October and it still has to be shipped from US. The books catalogue is available only through the US site and the books are priced in dollars. That said the US market dynamics must be a sign of things to come here.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

iPhone 4 flies of the shelves

Shoppers in the United States, UK, France and Germany bought 1.7m iPhone 4s in the three days after they went on sales on June 24th.

By comparison the iPhone 3GS sold 1m in it's first weekend of sales in 2009.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Battle for online content hots up

Couple of interesting developments in the battle for online content:

Rupert Murdoch has acquired Skiff from Hearst and a stake in Journalism Online. These two deals are significant because Skiff is an online store for content and an e-reader and Journalism Online is a platform that alllows content producers to charge for content. This is clearly Mr Murdoch buying up the pieces or building blocks required to let people buy and enjoy content online from a wide range of producers over a wide range of access devices. Sound strategy

Google looks likely to launch its own content payment platform newspass. This was rumoured last year but now it appears that its happening and will be live by end of the years according to PaidContent.org.

As the battle hots up the race is on to get the access platform and the payment technology out there and adopted by consumers. Who would you back to win that race?

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Home Printing - exciting new frontier

Taken by the news that HP are rolling out next generation of printers.

Central feature is printers with email addresses. This is brilliant. First no more cables and secondly ease of printing from where ever you are and whatever device - simply email whatever you want printed and its waiting for you when you get home. Brilliant

Perfect for our increasingly mobile lifestyles.

What's also significant about this generation of HP printers is the partners they've lined up for their version of the App store. With lots and lots of partners on board printing just got much more interesting.

Now this is something I've long toted. Home printing is going to become really, really important.

We started with word processing docs, moved swiftly to pics and now I believe we will print everything from colouring books for our kids to our favourite daily newspaper.

I forecast that home printing will become an important component in the transformation of the publishing sector in same way smart phones and iPads are.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Web-only TV

We've long taken a keen interest in web-only TV and its been a surprisingly quiet market. But now it seems to have burst into life with the imminent launch of 2 high profile web-only launches in UK.

First off comedy star David Baddiel is debuting in FA Dave, a web-only series on (yes you've guessed it) UKTV's Dave channel.

Fashionistas Trinny and Susannah are back on screen with a web-only series entitled Trinny and Susannah - What They Did Next.

Their 16 episode mockumentry goes out exclusively on ivillage.co.uk and is then available across the web via a group of super distributors.

You can view the trailer of the show right now on their website.

The T&S model might give us a clue about how future commercial models might work. Producers TM5 have sensibly underpinned the show with sponsor money from ivillage and Westfield and are augmenting with ad sales.

Let's see how these two perform but I suggest that if these shows go well they might provide some much needed impetus for the web-only format.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Apple’s market value overtakes Microsoft

on the day that the iPad lands in the UK Apple has overtaken Microsoft to become the largest technology company by market value, crowning a stunning corporate comeback.

After more than three decades of rivalry between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, the founder of the iPad maker saw his company take the lead on Nasdaq.

When the New York markets closed on Wednesday, Apple was worth $222bn – short only of ExxonMobil. Microsoft was valued at $219bn.

The moment says much about how technology and business strategies are changing. But it is above all a triumph for Mr Jobs who has consistently defied conventional wisdom and taken big risks in new industries with entrenched powers, overthrowing the establishment in the music and mobile phone businesses and staking out new ground.

This clearly says alot about Apple but what does it say about Microsoft? After 3 decades on top and once so powerful it was viewed as anti-competitive and many thought it should be broken up its stumbling.

Beaten in mobile, beaten in games consoles and with software moving to a pay-as-you-use service in the cloud its truly a gloomy moment for them.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Vanity Fair comes to iPad

Conde Nast continues its promised roll-out of print titles for the iPad. Vanity Fair was released late last week for both the iPhone and iPad at $4.99 an issue.

The mobile iterations follow closely the model used in GQ. The full contents of the magazine can be thumbed in facsimile format when the iPad is in landscape mode.

Apparently recognizing recent complaints by iPad users that the single issue pricing of these apps is multiples higher than a subscription rate, Vanity Fair is giving a price break to customers. Once one buys the first iPad edition for $4.99, subsequent months will cost only $3.99. This is still extremely expensive if you consider their current 20 week (2 year) print copy subscription offer is $20.

Having given their content away online for years for free are publishers in danger of now over charging for it!

Maybe? Maybe not?

I suggest that they are pricing high to capture those who will pay a premuim for digital access whilst using high price to illustrate the value of their print subscription offers.

Remember that however well the iPad sells its penetration will never give enough coverage to sustain a digital only model so publishers have to grapple with subscription versus digital price comparision fro years to come.

I dont mind premium prices for the digital format and low prices for the print subscription model particularily for magazines not least because magazine print subscription prices have been historically extremely low and now is certainly not the time to raise subs prices

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Happy Birthday YouTube

YouTube turned 5 years old yesterday.

Its proud parent, Google announced that its video-sharing site now has more than 2 billion views -- a day. Amazing

What's more, YouTube, is the third most visited Web site in the world according to Alexa and offers local versions in 23 countries across 24 different languages (70% of its traffic is from outside the United States), receives 24 hours of uploaded video every minute, and garners 45 million home page impressions every day.

Whilst it yet to turn a profit its future looks very bright indeed.

Happy Birthday

Monday, 17 May 2010


Interesting to see that while the rest of the media industry stresses about digital strategy, convergence and up and coming technology driven consumer trends, the Lebedev's are focusing very much on the nuts and bolts of the "old" media world.

We've been suggesting for a while that the Independent and Standard would end up sharing editorial resource, though in our view, it may go further than the reports this morning that the process may be starting. Currently this looks likely to extend to a shared foreign reporting presence at the World Cup, cutting the cost of content generation for both loss making titles.

Well, it makes sense, and would be a good start in combining the newsroom. Rolling forwards, would Standard readers mind if their content was written with an Independent hat on? Probably not, but vice versa?

Reports also that the Indy will be going free within the M25 - presumably piggybacking the existing Standard distribution network. Lebedev is saying that the Standard should be profitable in 2011 as the new ad reveneues gained since the Standard went free are starting to beat previous combined ad+circ rev. If so, well done, a brave move that has paid back, and one that I doubted would work out. But, and it's a big but, the Independent spent the best part of 20 years "breaking even next year" without ever quite making it.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

So long iPlayer

We've just taken delivery of our first Apple iPad and it is as lovely in the flesh as we've been told.

I dont intend here to add to the rave reviews but rather point out something that startled me.

As you've read elsewhere Apple and Adobe don't like each other and as a result there is no Flash on the iPad (nor the iphone). You know what this means - no BBC iplayer! and what that means is the millions and millions of users who now use hugely popular iPlayer weekly will not ne able to so on their shiny new iPad.

In many ways this is a shame. The iPad is a device that might as well have been made for the iPlayer. It's absolutely perfect for it.

So whats the BBC to do? Two choices:

They could create a non flash version of iPlayer for the soon to be millions of iPad customers or as is more likely stick with Adobe and lose the custom of the iPad crowd.

So long iPlayer my loyalty is with the iPad.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Newspaper market is bad - Music is worse

Global recorded music sales shrank by 7.2%, from $18.3 billion to $17 billion, through 2009.

What this means is the industry has been sale decline each year since 1999.

Digital sales grew 9.2 percent and now make up over a quarter of all music income…

But the extra $363 million brought in by digital last year still wasn’t even close to offsetting $1.74 billion lost from physical sales.

Source: International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s Recording Industry In Numbers report.

What to do?

Well our tonic to improve the health of the music sector would be the following:

1. Understand buyers better - who they are and what they buy. This basic knowledge is critical (but still largely absent).

2. Build greater sense of community around listening types. Last FM etc has proven people are drawn together by shared musical taste. Build communities around taste and market to them

3. Recognise and actively reward the few who pay for digital music. Continue to chase out the illegals but not at expense of the legals. 

4. Dont be afraid of useage rather than ownership model pushed by players like Spotify and Beyond Oblivion and recognise its better to get small payment from everybody than as currently a large payment from a few.

6. Love the talent. Without it there is no industry!

7. Don't be afraid to go digital retail only. Saves on production, distribution, sales commission and critically stock risk. 

8. Merchandising. Hugely under leveraged by the industry and worth a fortune. Recognise that recorded music powers broad and valuable consumer lifestyle habits. Get in on the act directly.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Apple's stellar universe

85m iPhones and iPod touches sold from zero in 2007

4 billions Apps downloaded

10 billion songs downloaded

33m movies downloaded

250m tv shows downloaded

iPhone users who represent 2.2% of total mobile phone market but chug 64% of all browsing minutes

500,000 iPads sold since launch

185,000 apps on App store

125,000 app developers on contract but effectively working for free

iAd which lets advertisers make inventive messages appear inside apps launches in summer

Share price $3 to $247

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Historic Ninety Minutes that could change the Election

Today marks a historic day. Its the first ever live UK TV Election Debate.

I have high hopes that even in the completely de politicised UK the debate will cause a wave of interest and excitement amongst voters. The Independent suggests this morning from a poll it commissioned that 30 million people will tune in and of those 50% say that the debate could influence the way they vote. Wow - thats 15m votes up for grabs.

Inspite of the oh so very typically British need for rules (and in this case 70 rules) to govern the event I am looking forward to a contest that reveals more to the public about each of the candidates than we are able to glean from PR prepared set pieces and carefully orchestrated policy statements.

The Q&A will be dull. All possible chance of excitement killed off by Candidate preparation, schooling and spin. The part that interesting is the debate itself where the 3 of them are let loose on each other. Its a relatively short segment so make sure you're back from making cup of tea or you risk missing it.

Alongside 30m others we will be listening in but not just as voters but as insight managers. We will be monitoring, analysing and reporting on all the chatter on Twitter and Facebook to see how the candidates are performing. We will be recording personal sentiment and comparing it regionally. With the stakes so high its going to be fascinating evening.

Social media channels and clever insight technology is giving us the opportunity - for the first time - to listen to the groundswell and to reveal actual sentiment. Check back with us as we will be posting results from all 3 of the live debtaes on a specially created Market Evolution election blog.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Mobile drives 5th Major Technology Cycle

The modern world is presently experiencing its fifth major technology cycle of the past half a century, according to the latest "State of the Internet" report from Mary Meeker, Morgan Stanley's managing director and global technology research head.

In what shouldn't come as a shock to readers of this blog, the two key trends driving this latest shift are mobile and social networking.

Within the next five years "more users will connect to the Internet over mobile devices than desktop PCs," according to Meeker.

Also -- based on adoption rates of iPhone/iPod touch compared to that of AOL and Netscape in the early 1990s -- Meeker says that mobile Internet usage is increasing substantially faster than desktop Internet usage did. Indeed, adoption of the Apple devices is taking place more than 11 times faster that of AOL, and several times as fast as that of Netscape.

Supporting this trend is 3G technology, which Morgan Stanley says recently hit an "inflection point" by being available to more than 20% of the world's cellular users.

Read the whole story at GigaOm.

Disappointing news from Apple

Apple has delayed the international launch of the iPad until the end of May because it has sold more devices (over half a million) than it anticipated.

Here’s the official announcement:

“Although we have delivered more than 500,000 iPads during its first week, demand is far higher than we predicted and will likely continue to exceed our supply over the next several weeks as more people see and touch an iPad™. We have also taken a large number of pre-orders for iPad 3G models for delivery by the end of April.

Faced with this surprisingly strong US demand, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the international launch of iPad by one month, until the end of May. We will announce international pricing and begin taking online pre-orders on Monday, May 10.

We know that many international customers waiting to buy an iPad will be disappointed by this news, but we hope they will be pleased to learn the reason—the iPad is a runaway success in the US thus far.”

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The End of Bebo?

It looks as though the once wildly popular Bebo is on the rack.

If memory serves it was the hottest property around and was fought over by the likes of Yahoo only to fall to AOL on an exuberant valuation for $850m two years ago.

Well its no longer seen as 'core' at AOL and as they readily admit they don't have the money for the fight against Facebook.

Here a snip from the AOL memo:

“Bebo, unfortunately, is a business that has been declining and, as a result, would require significant investment in order to compete in the competitive social networking space. AOL is not in a position at this time to further fund and support Bebo in pursuing a turnaround in social networking"

All this is a long way from what was said at the time :-

"This is a tremendous acquisition and one I think is game-changing for AOL," said the company's chairman and chief executive, Randy Falco. "Bebo will be the cornerstone of our strategy."

Monday, 5 April 2010

Apple iPad sales update

Apple sold 300,000 iPads in the U.S. as of midnight Saturday, April 3, the company announced Monday.

That total includes pre-ordered units delivered to customers and sales partners as well as Apple store sales.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

iPad sells quicker than iPhone

The latest estimates for iPad sales may surprise even the most optimistic Apple watchers:

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster puts the number at 600,000-700,000 this weekend, including pre-orders.

By comparison, it took Apple more than 70 days to sell 1 million iPhones after the initial launch.

Monday, 29 March 2010

The Times & Sunday Times pay walls

Phew its finally out in the open

We've all been thinking about pay walls for months and months now so it feels quite a relief that Murdoch's strategy for The Times and Sunday Times is finally out in the open.

The payment mechanism makes sense to me. At £1 a day or £2 a week they've priced it 'to go'. Its priced absolutely to encourage people away from the daily spend into the weekly committment. Why spend £1 a day when I can spend £2 for the whole week etc

The reason this is sensible is that there is an increasing recognition amongst publishers that its good business to have fewer people comitted to spending something and than large numbers comitted to spending nothing at all!

I know this sounds obvious but its taken publishers some time to get here. Lifetime value is finally becoming more central to the way publishers look at customers . For too long publishers ignored the value of relationship with readers. Now they are wide awake to the fact is of critical importance and its where the value lies.Hooray

With this payment structure they are incentivising readers through low weekly prices to make a committment. Once committed they are hooked and can be sold other bits and pieces.

Its going to be fascinating to see how many sign up and on which of the two tariffs.

I'm less concerned by the damage to visitor numbers as the advertising led commercial model around eyeballs was not working. I'm glad its moving on.

I had another thought.

Why would I continue to buy a newsagent copy of the TT and ST paying £1 a day, £1.50 on saturday and £2 on sunday when I can simply pay £2 for the week for digital access and save £5.50 a week (a massive £250 a year).

Am I alone in thinking that the digital offer might infact impact on cover price revenues as people do the maths and swap to digital access. Would'nt that be something?

Now this may not matter as its obviously far cheaper to produce a digital 'copy' and therefore the margin on £2 is probably greater that it is on the £5.50 physical copy (not paper, no printing, no distribution etc).

Lets see. Whatever happens the market is moving and its a relief

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Sunday Times Ad

Id forgotten about this lovely ad we made a while back for the Sunday Times. Shot with Ian Dury shortly before died. RIP

Marie Claire iPad

Carolyn McCall takes to the skies

Guardian Media Group CEO Carolyn McCall is flying off to become chief executive of European budget airline easyjet

In the media world truth is stranger than fiction!!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Murdoch parks his tanks on N Y Times lawn

In an attempt to eat into The New York Time's mass market audience and tempt away some of its luxury advertisers The Wall Street Journal is launching a local news section for New York.

The daily news section, starts on 12 April, will average 12 pages and include daily real estate, culture, business and particularly sport.

Its unlikely that it will cause the NYT undue pressure in circulation sales but that's not the intention. This is about local retail premium advertisers.

At best this gives advertisers an opportunity to attack ad rates which is not to be encouraged and at worst its provides a viable alternative and a chance to switch.

This is unwelcome and uncomfortable for NYT who alongside all newspapers is having a hard time of it.

Its another front in the escalating turf war between these two titan titles.

News Corp (owner WSJ) is quite open about its expansion plans.

We will watch with great interest

Full story can be read here

Monday, 22 March 2010

Time sharpen your marketing axe

Once upon a time, a very strong woodcutter asked for a job with a timber merchant, and he got it. The pay was really good, and so were the work conditions. For that reason, the woodcutter was determined to do his best. His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he was supposed to work.

The first day, the woodcutter brought in 18 trees, and of course his boss congratulated him. Motivated by his boss' words, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he could only bring in 15 trees. The third day he tried even harder, but he could only bring in 10 trees. Day after day he was bringing in fewer and fewer trees.

The woodcutter thought he was losing his strength, and he went to the boss and apologized, saying that he couldn't understand what was going on. His boss then asked, "When was the last time you sharpened your axe?" Appalled by the question, the woodcutter harshly replied, "Sharpen my axe? I have no time to do that. I've been busy cutting trees."

Apple ipad and USA Today (and Marriott)

Content providers may be thrashing about sending themselves crazy about what to do with the coming iPad tablet. Not USA Today, which has secured a rather un-Internet-like, dual-revenue stream as it debuts.

The paper will employ a subscription model, while a deal with Marriott Hotels has the hotel chain funding its iPad presence from day one. The sponsorship will last for the first four months after the device's April debut.

Whilst this is an rather traditional and dare i say it old fashioned approach its a practical one and one that newspapers know how to arrange and negiotate.

David Hunke, USA Today's president and publisher says the tie-up will
"do a lot to get ... our designs in front of many, many people,"

"Our guys were very excited about the opportunity -- we will be there," said Hunke in a gathering with analysts last week. "It will be classic, very unique USA Today design that was built for this device, as it was for the iPhone in a previous generation."

Friday, 19 March 2010

China big in mobile internet

By the end of this year, there will be more more mobile Internet users in China than the entire population of the US, according to eMarketer. The 2010 estimate of the size of the United States population stands at roughly 310 million people, according to Wikipedia.

Also, according to the report, the number of mobile Internet users in China will grow to reach a jaw-dropping 957 million by 2014.

Of course, those mobile Internet users don't presently "monetize" as well as Western audiences, i.e., mobile advertising spending in China is still low relative to the size of the mobile Web user base. But its only a matter of time

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Is Facebook bigger than Google?

New data released from analytics service Hitwise today names Facebook the largest website in the U.S. with 7.07% of all U.S. visits. Google is second at 7.03%. Yahoo Mail is third with 3.8% and Yahoo is fourth at 3.67%

This is the first time Hitwise has named Facebook the top site in the U.S. Comscore still ranks Google the top site by reach at 81% of the U.S. population. Facebook, at 53%, is still behind Google, Yahoo and Microsoft sites in the U.S., according to the most recent Comscore data from February 2010. Source: Techcrunch

Tiger Woods to return to golf

News Flash -- Tiger Woods will return to golf and play at the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga., in April, according to media reports Tuesday. Woods last played in November winning the Australian Masters before going on hiatus because of a widely publicized sex scandal.

Wow imagine the viewing figures for his tee-off. They are going to be a vast.

Checking - in

All the buzz swirling around social app Foursquare is good news for mobile advertising.

For years we've been promised location based services and the ability to match location with personal offers. Now with apps like Foursquare and Gowalla users are happy to reveal their location by 'checking in' giving advertisers permission to hit them based on location.

The check-in model is more attractive than constant tracking because it gives people more choice in disclosing their locations. And its gathering pace.

Foursquare has swelled to more than 500,000 users and has more than 1.6m 'check-ins' a weeks from around the world. Gowalla says it has 100,000 people using its application. Facebook is expected to adopt the 'check-in' method when it introduces location features in coming months.

One drawback with 'check-in' as opposed to constant monitoring is that people have to remember to use a service, but just as people have successfully got into the habit of tweeting they'll learn the habit of checking in.

If 'checking-in' goes mainstream its going to be good news for advertisers as it allows them to do some interesting things like coupons and offers based on location.