Flexible working: the way to keep staff happy and boost productivity?

Talk to media executives about the major challenge brought about by the digital economy and some will talk about securing lines of revenue with new tech products while others will fret over replacing print revenues with online display.

How many, do you think, will worry about how their firm adapts internal practises to suit the next generation of employees and, in turn, to help it secure the best talent?

Well, if the findings of recent reports by EY, Deloitte, and PWC are accurate, then perhaps more should. (more…)

The unbelievable economics & employment practices of football

Football continues to blaze a trail in the world of unbelievable employment practices.

It’s a world where those seen as failures by many fans continue to get plum jobs, where a manager who has never won any significant silverware can become England boss, and where players are bought and sold with valuations that absolutely defy logic.

Here’s an example: today, Manchester United announced that Paul Pogba would be joining them.  They are spending £89m on a player who left them for £800,000 only four years ago. In any other industry, this would be insane; but Man U are not alone. My club, Chelsea, seems keen to pay £60m for Lukaku, a player they sold for £28m only two years ago. And they have history here: in 1997 they bought Graeme LeSaux for £5m, having sold him for £700,000 a few years earlier. In 2015, Chelsea paid £23m for Matic, a player they had swapped four years earlier for a valuation of £3m.

The whole thing is indicative of a Premiership micro-economy which has no relationship with the wider travails of the last eight years. Average wages in the UK have increased from around £15,000 to £25,000 (a 67% increase) since 2000, with inflation pretty much in line. The average salary of first team players in the Premier League has gone from £410,000 in 2,000 to around £2m per year (with bonuses) in 2014/15– an increase of over 400%. (more…)

Why has Verizon paid $4.8bn for Yahoo?

So Verizon has been at it again: bagging a former digital behemoth for a fraction of its peak market value in the hope that some of the old magic remains.

Last year, it bought AOL for $4.4bn – a tiny percentage of the company’s peak valuation of $160bn – and then last week, it bought Yahoo for $4.8bn.

To put that in perspective, Microsoft offered $45bn for the business in 2008, but was turned down by the Yahoo’s then management on the basis that the business was worth much more. Way to go, as they say in Silicon Valley. (more…)

How Pokémon Go brings augmented reality to mainstream (and main street) businesses

In less than a month since launch, Pokémon Go, the location-based, augmented reality game for mobiles, has become a phenomenon and a record breaker.

It’s the fastest game to ever top the App Store and GooglePlay. In its first week became the most downloaded app of all time, and it’s also become the most actively played mobile game in the US ever.

In under four weeks, the game has been made available in 35 countries and has more than doubled the share value of Nintendo, which made the original Pokémon game in the 1990s, to $42bn.

That’s incredible, not only for the sheer escalation, but because Nintendo doesn’t even produce the new game. It’s made by Niantic, of which Nintendo owns a share and from which it receives a licensing fee. (more…)

What does Brexit mean for our various media sectors?

It’s only two weeks since the EU referendum and media businesses and their employees are still trying to get their heads around what Brexit might mean for the economy, and for the media industry in particular. The economic and political ramifications of the vote are likely to affect us all from years to come, and it’s too early to accurately say what might happen, but in our conversations with business leaders across the media sector a broad picture is starting to build up. (more…)

Affiliate marketing: what is it, and how does it work?

A colleague was recently sharing a cab with a senior sales director working for a traditional broadcaster and was amazed he had no idea of what affiliate marketing was.

It’s perhaps not as uncommon as my colleague might have thought, and many of our readers might be in a similar position. So, to spread a little light, here’s a simple explanation (those of you in the Affiliate Marketing world, turn away now!): (more…)

How the media failed in the Brexit debate

As the fallout over Brexit rumbles on, with infighting on all sides of the debate, it’s perhaps worth considering the part the media played in the run up to the polls.

The three main media influences – broadcast, newspapers (and their digital equivalents), and social media – all played very different but significant roles in the debate. For one reason or another, and whether through omission or policy, it is my view that all three ended up broadly supporting the intentions of the Leave campaign. (more…)

Is Microsoft’s LinkedIn deal as much about SaaS as ad money?

Little over a fortnight after Microsoft paid $26bn for the social network, LinkedIn has introduced a mechanism for advertisers to buy programmatic ads that will display across the site.

In an effort to draw fresh revenue from LinkedIn’s 433m users, the new system will display banners across the LinkedIn desktop and supplement the subscription fees paid by premium users and sponsored content as the main sources of earnings.

For the uninitiated, programmatic ads are administered by a system that relies on complex algorithms to trigger ad deployment to a set of specific criteria. The process is versatile and quick. It allows advertisers to save resources by automating media buying at pre-determined rates, and book and optimise campaigns via a web interface. Optimisation ensures ads are only shown to desired audiences and on relevant pages – and with LinkedIn’s wealth of business professional indexed by industry, job type, gender, nationality, interests, skills and much more, brands will be able to really drill down to find the most valuable audiences for their ads. (more…)

Microsoft to buy LinkedIn: a lot of money for an audience?

The proposed acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft raises an interesting question: how much would you pay for your audience?

As I noted in an earlier blog, predictions have a habit of making you look foolish: but the $26bn valuation for a business with $3bn revenue and no discernible profit looks optimistic, at best. Given Microsoft’s earlier forays into unchartered waters (Nokia, Yammer) it would be best to view the move beyond its core competencies with caution.

LinkedIn is not dying: but a decreasing habit among its users suggests that it is not reaching the parts that other social media cannot reach. (more…)

If the audience hates ads, what does the future of digital advertising look like?

Last week, Martin wrote about how necessary content could make it simpler for B2B media firms to carve out a significant piece of the digital landscape for themselves.

The problem for a lot of content businesses, particularly consumer-facing ones, is that despite the merits of what they produce, it’s not essential for their readers. (more…)