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, 29 January 2010


Lots has already been written about the ipad.

The nay sayers damn it as just an over sized iTouch and its fans say it's a radical step forward in convergence.

Whatever your point of view I'm pretty sure of 2 things:

1. consumer will buy it and in large numbers forcing more innovation, me-too products, and ultimately mass adoption. A great thing.

2.Whilst the ipad won't on its own 'save' print media (how can it?) it's launch marks a significant moment in the print industry's revolution - the moment when industry and consumer saw for themselves the future.

I'm a fan and I say thank you to Apple

Now it's time for the publishing industry to WAKE UP, stop whining and create e-content that people will 'want' to pay for.

The technology is arriving but it's less sure that the content is there to run on it.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

The iPad - the future?

Yesterday saw the very high profile launch of the new Apple product - the iPad. Despite the fact it was widely expected to take the world by storm and signal the death of the increasingly popular Netbook it seems that the majority of the world's press have been left largely underwhelmed. Half an inch thick and weighing in nicely at 1 1/2 pounds the iPad looks the part but is it essentially just too big? Many insiders were expecting something that would actually fit in a pocket rather than have to be carried in a bag.

It is clear that Apple are aiming for people who are already their customers, the pad contains many similarities with the phone and the touch but the practicalities of its size are already being discussed. It is far smaller and lighter than a laptop, will undoubtedly be slicker and sleeker but it also clearly not aimed for business. It will seemingly be difficult to work on and so is aiming at the market as a leisure device. But can it actually do enough to be considered a ‘must have’?

The iPad has very little that is new or different from an iPhone and it appears that internet browsing and e-books are the fundamental selling points. Apple have signed deals with several major publishers including Penguin and HarperCollins and the iPad has an impressive library format for storing the books and an equally appealing reading format, described by many to be as close to reading a book without actually holding it in your hands.

Interestingly, Apple have also struck a deal with the New York Times who have specifically designed an app that showcases the power of the iPad perfectly, allowing readers to view content filled video clips immersed within an article. It is clear the NYT feels very strongly that the iPad will be a success, "The iPad combines the best of print with the best of digital, all rolled up in to one," according to Martin Nisenholtz, a senior executive at the newspaper, "It's something you can really immerse yourself in. We're pioneering the next version of digital journalism." This sounds like a full multi-media experience, bringing static content neatly to life.

A bold statement indeed, could this really be the future of digital news? Would people be more willing to pay for content on an iPad (or similar) than on a netbook or PC? Perhaps, perhaps not. Our thought is that it is just slightly too big for the pocket and surely liable for damage in a bag, if you wanted to read from it, or play a game, or surf the net surely it would be easier if your device was pocket size and less obvious?

It is definitely too early to say how well the iPad will sell, still relatively few people have actually seen one in action, but what we can be sure about though is that competitors will be quickly developing their own alternatives and that Apple have, once again, pushed technology firmly, but accessibly, into the future.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Would KRM sell Times Newspapers?

Rumours are the fuel that keeps the media bonfire burning warmly during these cold winter days, and there's a very interesting one doing the rounds at the moment. Is Times Newspapers Ltd up for sale? Acquired in 1981 by Rupert to sit alongside the more profitable News Group Newspapers, and undoubtedly occupying a place in the great man's heart, this rumour would in recent times have been laughable.

Now though, could there be a grain of truth in it? With the move to digital paywalls imminent, and the group registering £50m+ losses in recent years, would NewsCorp consider disposing of this prize asset? With James having firmly replaced Les, is their enough ink in the blood at the top of the tree to keep the Papers at any cost? The recent decision to move from free home delivery to paid for delivery for Times+ customers, and increase the cover price to £1, suggests a need to tighten up on revenues is moving further through the business. It'll be interesting to see how many customers drop the home delivery now that a weeks worth of newspapers will cost them over a tenner.

Throw into the mix the ruling by Ofcom that Sky has to wholesale its prized sport assets, diluting potential profitability, then these are challenging times across the News Corp portfolio.

That said, it's one of the few newspaper groups I'd buy at the moment. Good audience, a lot of good strategic work already done, maybe all it needs is to be unbound from the restraints of a big Corporation to survive and flourish in this new age.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

68,979 downloads for Guardian news app

The Guardian has claimed that its readers are happy to pay for online content citing the success of their iPhone application. According to the newspaper their app has been downloaded 68,979 times in the first month of its release. The app costs £2.39, an expensive price considering similar apps from the Telegraph, Independent and Financial Times are all free, but it has climbed steadily up the UK App store charts and as a result is now available in other European countries, the US and Australia.

The Guardian claims that one reason the app has been so successful despite the price tag is the impressive number of downloads available on the app. As a result the app ‘proves to the industry that users are willing to pay for a news application.’

Our question would be whether this is a more of a reflection on the Guardian’s technologically minded readership, many of whom will be regular iPhone users and Guardian loyalists? Our view is that this isn't definitive proof that readers are willing to pay for online news content. More to come in this area over the next few months.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

YouTube to show live sports

Cricket is not normally a sport we talk about on this blog, mainly because up until now the sport has been well governed by its television backers. Today however, the IPL (Indian Premier League) a twenty20 league noted for its extravagant salaries and very limited exposure in the UK announced they had completed a deal with YouTube to show 59 matches live, all around the world.

This is not the first time the online video channel has dabbled with big events, its streaming of a U2 concert proved very successful, and we feel that this is only just the start. The YouTube ‘brand’ is already well developed and with the much anticipated launch of Apple’s tablet coming soon it is possible live TV streamed from YouTube could become a staple for the modern media generation.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Talent spotting

This year will apparently be the toughest year for graduates to be finding employment, with 25% of jobs being taken by those who graduated in 2009. There should be a pool of people with the potential to grow into excellent employees who will be left waiting for their opportunity.

Strikes me that smaller agencies with similar expertise and specialisms should work together and offer internships to a pool of this undeveloped talent, allowing the best and most enthusiastic to spend 4 weeks in one agency, then another 4 weeks at the second agency, and the third month at a third agency - allowing them to experience a range of work in a number of businesses. Would allow us smaller agencies to see a number of people in action, without the headcount investment, and save ourselves paying any headhunters. Anyone else think this is a good idea worth developing?

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

One Screen to read them all

Pixel Qi's low power displays can switch between colour and ereader-like black-and-white bridging the gap between computer and ereader.

This is significant as it means that very soon we will see devices that can handle e-content - colour, video and black-and-white. Convergence is truly on its way.

Half of employers 'reject a potential worker after look at Facebook page'

Almost half of employers have rejected a potential worker after finding incriminating material on their Facebook pages, research has found.

Bosses are now using the popular social networking site as a tool to double check how likely it would be that their new worker would take a sick day for being hungover or on drugs the night before.

And job seekers were being found out for lying about their qualifications, with employers checking their Facebook pages to see if their online details matched their resume.

One in 10 were knocked back for boasting about drinking and drugs online, 13 per cent were vetoed for making racist comments and nine per cent were overlooked for placing racy photos on their Facebook page.

Big Brother employers reported the biggest online mistake that job seekers made was lying about their qualifications but having their real academic record available for all to see on line.

There were 38 per cent of job seekers knocked back for boosting up their qualifications on their resume and then getting caught on Facebook.

Examples of online posts that have caught employers' eyes include:

* Employee X "wishes his desk was near the television to watch the cricket at work

* "It's one para weekend for me".

* "Tramp related hangover"

More than four in 10 employers discarded a job seekers resume after checking their Facebook page, a survey of 450 employers for careerbuilder.co.uk found.

Career Builder president Farhan Yasin(ok) said job seekers could have all the skills needed for a job but fail to secure their dream job because they had been sloppy about what they posted online.

"More employers are now using social networking sites to uncover any digital dirt," he said.

"Job seekers are urged to be mindful of the information they post online. They are indirectly communicating with potential employers.

Mr Yasin said social networking sites like Facebook could be a bomb waiting to go off in the background checks employers do on potential recruits.

"Social networking is a great way to make connections with potential job opportunities in 2010 and to promote your brand across the internet," he said.

"Make sure you are using this resource to your advantage by conveying a professional image and underscoring your qualifications."

Mr Yasin said there were simple things job seekers could do to protect themselves from prying employers' eyes online.

"Clean up digital dirt before you begin your job search. Remove any photos content, and links that can work against your in an employers' eyes," he said.

"Consider creating your own professional group on sites like Facebook to establish relationships with business leaders, recruiters and potential referrals."

Mr Yasin said no employer likes whinging employees.

"Keep your gripes offline. Keep the content focuses on the positive, whether that relates to professional or personal information. Make sure you highlight specific accomplishments inside and outside work," he said.

"Don't forget others can see your friends, so be selective about who you accept as friends. Monitor comments made by others and consider using the block comments feature or set your profile to private so only designated friends can view it."

Thanks to the Daily Telegraph for this article.

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Thursday, 7 January 2010

HP Tablet Computer

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer unveiled a new Hewlett-Packard Co tablet computer on Wednesday, beating Apple Inc's hotly anticipated move into the market.

Google's Nexus One reviews

“I like very much the way social-networking information, including status messages, is integrated into the contacts app. One tap on a person’s picture in Contacts lets you quickly choose whether to call, email or message her, or map her address—all without opening the contact card itself. I also liked the pictures and videos I was able to take with the five-megapixel camera and flash, which I preferred to my iPhone’s camera. You can even view a photo slideshow or listen to music when the phone is in the optional desktop dock.”
Walt Mossberg, All Things Digital

“Overall, the phone is good enough that it's conceivable in a way that it wasn't a few months ago that we'll see a replay of Apple's experience in the PC market twenty-five years ago, in which Apple's fit and finish was unquestionably superior, but a commodity platform that was "good enough" and available to the entire industry ended up taking the lead.”
Tim O’Reilly, O’Reilly Radar

“Android, including the new 2.1 version, isn’t as smooth as the iPhone. One needs to make more of an effort on the Google Phone to get things done. I guess you can blame that on the lack of multitouch features. Now don’t get me wrong — Android 2.1 running on Nexus One is pretty darn good. Just not as good as an iPhone. It feels somehow disjointed – much like all the other Android phones. When you install non-Google applications, they don’t quite have the tight integration of Google-based apps. Of course, that’s the downside of an open platform, one not entirely controlled by a single entity.”
Om Malik, GigaOM

“Finally, the Nexus just doesn’t attain the iPhone’s fit and finish. The buttons under the screen (Back, Menu, Home, Search) are balky, often ignoring your finger-presses completely. One of the animated wallpapers freezes the phone with a message that says: “Sorry! The application Android Live Wallpapers has stopped unexpectedly. Please try again.” (Note to Google: I did. The same thing happened.) But maybe it doesn’t matter if the Nexus One isn’t nirvana. Google says it’s only the first Google phone of many, with one store to sell them all.”
David Pogue, New York Times

“The noise cancellation feature is particularly useful. The device has a second microphone on the back that monitors inbound noise and automatically cancels it out (anyone who’s used Bose noise cancellation headphones on a long flight will appreciate this). It does a great job of canceling out machinery and wind noise on the other end of the call. In my testing, call recipients noticed a substantial increase in call quality on this phone v. either the Droid of the iPhone. Look for other phones to quickly add this feature, it’s a must have.”
Michael Arrington, TechCrunch

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Google Phone - Nexus One

Google finally announced its own mobile handset yesterday, the Nexus One.

There has been a lot of hype built around this launch and lots of thought into its consequences. Why would Google risk a rare move from software into hardware?

The obvious answer is to break the stranglehold Apple has on the mobile web through its iphone and App store franchise.

But the answer is bigger than that.

Its another move in a carefully constructed plan by Google to retain its leadership as computing shifts from one generation to another. Mobile is a game changer. As people increasingly rely on powerful mobile phones instead of PCs to gain access to the Web, their surfing habits are bound to change. As a result Google's economic model is under threat.

'The new paradigm is mobile computing and mobility. That has the potential to change the economics of the internet business and to redistribute profits yet again' David B. Yoffie, a professor at Harvard Business School.

Now Google saw the threat posed by mobile long ago and are well prepared making shrewd moves before Nexus One. In fact Google have been busier and have invested more than their rivals. Their mobile operating system Android has grown fast and is already beating Microsoft in mobile. They are trying to buy AdMob, the leading mobile ad placement company. They bought Grand Central a smart call handling services company. They've invested in mapping (recognizing services based on location are going to be critical particularly in ad placement).

Yes this is defensive but its also a recognition that mobile is going to be bigger, far bigger than PC and gives them a great place to grow revenues. All in all its the only place for them to be.

As for Nexus One it doesn't look that amazing when compared to iphone but that in itself doesn't matter. The game is much bigger and much more important than that.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

2010 - e-content takes off (driven by Apple)

Happy New Year.

The global economic situation will undoubtedly remain challenging but in our world of digital media there is so much to be excited by in 2010.

We open the year with the news that Amazon sold more digital books than the ink on paper kind (on Christmas day) and that their e reader was the most popular gift item.

2010 is the year, we forecast, that e readers take off and media companies make full use new found ability to bring content to life - e-content.

Consumers can look forward to the convenience of the printed product combined with the dynamism of the web.

What drives this?

E readers whilst making some headway haven't really broken through. People like their Amazon Kindle (me included) or their Sony Reader but they don't love them. What we need is a really great e-reader.

Enter Apple.

We are excited by the imminent launch (in shops in US as early as March) of the much hyped Apple tablet computer - the iSlate.

Combining several products in one (think of it as an extreme iphone) the iSlate opens up a new frontier in personal digital 'convergence' technology. It will, also, act as an electronic reader and given Apple's designers ability to transform markets it should do for content access and presentation what ipod did for MP3 and e-music.

We can look forward to a fun, simple system which we can download (and pay for) dazzling e-content. A sexy system that many people want to buy.

Hope newspapers and magazine content companies are ready! We certainly are.