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…)

Business media firms – is your content necessary or just a nice-to-have?

Many people outside the commodities markets may not be aware of Argus Media. It is a 46 year-old business which provides data and content – principally – to the oil and gas markets. It grew fairly steadily until 2000, and then its growth increased exponentially. It now has turnover of in the hundreds of millions, and operations around the world.

This week, its founding shareholders sold a majority stake to General Atlantic, valuing the whole business at close to £1bn. So what can possibly warrant a valuation of around 22 times net earnings? (more…)

Have e-books found their place in the publishing market?

It seems barely possible, but it’s less than a decade since Amazon boss Jeff Bezos ordered his lieutenants to build the world’s first mass-market e-reader. The original Kindle was introduced to the public in 2007 and with it came the fear that its development marked the beginning of the end for printed books.

In the nine years since its launch, Kindle has been through eight generations, an LCD version has launched, along with various adaptors and applications that allow Amazon’s content to run on the slew of other platforms and technologies than have also come to market in this time.

Yet despite the digital explosion that has taken place, despite the consumer’s readiness to ditch old technology for new (honestly, when was the last time you read a printed newspaper?), and despite 2007’s fear for the future of the book, the situation we currently find ourselves in isn’t the one book-lovers feared. (more…)

Publishers, how well do you know your audience? What are you doing to maximise its value?

MTA media headhuntersThe long-term viability of digital publications that rely on scaling audience has been called into question in the last few months. Digital advertising has continued to grow, but increasingly the idea of a business model focused on generating a massive readership or viewership is becoming outmoded by the fluctuating demands of advertisers.

There’s also a prevailing feeling in the media industry that there’s too much content chasing too little advertising cash. This doesn’t necessarily mean that cutting back on both content and audience size will be beneficial, just that a new way looking at the quality of content and its ‘appropriateness’ to the audience is taking hold.

With this new approach come a requirement for new skills, and increasingly digital media businesses are looking to hire heads of Audience Development to their senior management teams. (more…)

Is your firm using emojis in communications?

Each week I receive roughly 150 marketing emails. The majority get deleted without any consideration of the content, but last week two emails caught my eye and caused me to investigate further. Why? Believe it or not, they stood out from the rest because they used emojis in the subject line.

For the uninitiated, emojis are little graphics that are commonly used in text messages but are increasingly moving into other forms of communication. The two that caught my attention were an image of a car to start the subject line of an email about car finance and, similarly, a party image in a service upgrade message from one of my tech providers.

Well, so far, you might think, so boring; but there is a point to all this: according to a recent survey Brits are 63% more likely to open an email with an emoji accompanying the subject line. (more…)

Want to hire good people? What perks and benefits do you offer?

MTA media headhuntersIn a candidate-driven jobs market smart employers need to go the extra mile to secure the services of high-quality people. Often, the best person to fill a vacancy isn’t even looking to change roles, so what can a prospective new employer do to garner their interest?

A new challenge and more money are usually the entry-level requirements, but when a prospect is already sufficiently well-off and is meeting challenges on a daily basis, what other incentives are likely to draw their attention?

Martin posted a blog last week about why salaries may not be the only consideration, and a couple of recent polls have attempted to find out how attractive other benefits may be to current and potential employees. Not surprisingly, on the surface, the two surveys have radically different findings. (more…)

Listen to your media headhunter, it might just change your life…

MTA media headhuntersThe opportunity of a lifetime only lasts as long as the lifetime of the opportunity.”

It was not a quotation I had heard before Anthony Joshua’s IBF world championship fight this week. But in the aftermath of that bout, a BBC commentator attributed it to a former Olympic athletics coach*. It struck me as a pretty significant thought.

Within 24 hours, the British golfer Danny Willett had become US Masters champion. Conventional wisdom would dictate that neither man should have achieved these amazing goals. Joshua became heavyweight world champion after only 16 professional fights: fewer than almost anyone else in boxing history. Willett had previously finished in the top ten of a major tournament only once in 11 attempts. (more…)

Skiing lessons for media business success

Competent skiers at Puy St Vincent. Martin isn't amongst them!

I have just spent a week falling down mountains. At the age of fifty, I have discovered the truth of the adage: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Specifically, you can’t teach this ancient pug how to ski. As much as I understand the theory, the practice is beyond me. And I have the bruises to prove it.

Annoyingly, of course, it was also my children’s first attempt at skiing. After their first two-hour lesson, they were straight back up the mountain to crack the green runs. By the end of the week, one of them had conquered red runs and the others were comfortable on blues. (more…)