Why publishers no longer need to worry about ad blockers

It was labelled by some as an existential threat to the principal of giving away ad-supported digital content for free, but a year on the anticipated growth of ad blocking has failed to materialise and digital publishers are breathing a sigh of relief.

According to the Internet Advertising Bureau UK, the proportion of British adults using ad blocking software online in February was 22.1%.

The figure is less than half-a-percent more than in the same month last year and shows growth almost grinding to a halt. In February 2016, year-on-year growth of those using ad blockers stood at around six percent. (more…)

Can crowdfunding help media businesses?

In my last blog on gaming consoles, I asked whether anyone would be brave enough to launch a new Nintendo magazine in light of the projected success of the Nintendo Switch console.  Well, it turns out they have been…

Just days after I wrote that piece, SwitchPlayer magazine received a limited release after funds were raise for its launch through crowdsourcing platform Patreon. (more…)

Tech IPOs hit a low in 2016 (but 2017 could be boom time!)

Last year was a busy 12 months in terms of tech business manoeuvring. The big moves, however, were takeovers, mergers, launches and collapses – there didn’t seem to be that many public offerings.

Much of the movement in 2016 was established businesses buying content firms or platforms that provided a link to sizeable audience. Verizon bought Yahoo for $4.8bn, Microsoft paid $26bn for LinkedIn, and we also looked at telco convergence generally. Yet, other than flagging up the expected IPO of Snapchat, Tech IPOs didn’t seem to impact the media world in 2016 to such a degree.

Now, thanks to a study from PwC, the reasons for that have become somewhat clearer – as 2016 marked the decade’s low point for global tech IPOs. (more…)

Fake news: will a backlash bring renewed interest to reputable outlets?

So, Fake News is in the news again. This time, the Culture, Media, and Sport committee is to hold an investigation into the phenomenon – which is admirable. What it hopes to achieve, though, is perhaps more open to question.

Certainly, it is a trend that ought to cause alarm. Social media has made it incredibly simple to spread any kind of malicious or just-plain-silly story. Concerns have even been raised that fake news might have influenced the US election: BuzzFeed reported that, in the last three months of the election, the top 20 fake stories were shared 8.7m times, compared with 7.3m shares for the top 20 stories from reputable sources. (more…)

Nintendo Switch: what could launch mean for the console – and publishing – markets?

Since the release of its Game and Watch in 1980, Nintendo has dominated the handheld console market. The Game Boy and Nintendo DS are remembered fondly by people who played them in their youth while latest Nintendo 3DS had sold around 60m units by June 2016.

What’s more, a national survey in the 1990s found that Nintendo’s character, Mario, was ‘more recognizable to American children than Mickey Mouse’.

When it comes to home consoles, however, it’s a different story. (more…)

Life for the media in the Trump era

While I was writing my most recent blog post – on the need for journalism of the highest standards in this ‘post-truth’ world – BuzzFeed went ahead and published the full text of the dodgy Trump dossier.

This was in the week before Trump was inaugurated. In an email to our subscribers, we were critical of Buzzfeed’s decision to publish. Despite Jim Edwards’ excellent arguments on Business Insider, we felt that the BuzzFeed approach had failed to fulfil the two critical functions of journalism: to scrutinise the facts, and to guide their readers through them.

The fear was that publishing unchecked allegations would make it easier for Trump to dismiss the entire document, and to attack the media as a whole. (more…)

Should you tell a recruiter your salary?

This is such a perennial issue in the headhunting world I’m surprised it’s taken this blog so long to get round to covering it. Before I became a headhunter, I would never have dreamed of asking someone how much they earned – it just isn’t done in polite conversation. Now, I have to do it dozens of times a week. The vast majority of candidates answer without batting an eyelid, but a handful still bristle at the question, or refuse to answer whatsoever. This is understandable, but ultimately misguided.

The most common reason given for the refusal to disclose salary is that candidates fear putting themselves in a weaker negotiating position when it comes to the offer stage. In a decade of headhunting, I’ve never worked with a client who would even agree to meeting a candidate without knowing their salary. Far from putting you in a stronger negotiating position, you’re more likely to remove yourself from the table before you’ve even started. (more…)

Why journalists need to ask the obvious question

One of this blog’s favourite journalists – David Walsh – gave a talk this week on the Moth Radio Hour – one of my favourite radio shows. A pretty perfect combination.

For those that don’t know him, Walsh was the first journalist to raise, in print, suspicions of Lance Armstrong’s drug cheating. He was reviled by many, and ignored by most of the cycling world, but stuck to his guns. Ultimately, of course, Walsh was vindicated.

The point about the Moth Radio Hour, though, is that it is a place for personal reflection, with stories told by people from all walks: Walsh, in his quiet and faltering way, told a story as personal and moving as any I have heard on the show. It is a story from which all journalists could learn something. (more…)

Millennials and the gender pay gap

Here’s a bit of uncheery news for the start of 2017 – despite years of progress, a woman in her 20s is still more likely to earn less today than a man of her own age.

Happy New Year, millennials!

We’ve written quite a bit about the points of difference between this generation and its predecessors in recent months. We’ve looked at its attitude to the working world and how work is changing to accommodate this generations’ ideas and expectations – but what we haven’t looked at, until now, is how gender determines your likely lifetime earnings. (more…)