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, 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.....