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How gender-blind is your recruitment process?

A client asked last week how we ensure gender fairness in our approach to a search. It’s a fair question: simply saying “we look for the best person” is not good enough.

We told the client of our pride that, as a company, we had a 50:50 gender ratio – despite the grim pictures of me and Matt dominating the website. (The office is also 30% BAME, and around one quarter LGBTQ+. Look at us, polishing our halos.) We also mentioned that we all had unconscious bias training, and always try to ensure a gender mix on every search. We felt pretty good.

But the client then asked for a breakdown of all the searches we had carried out over the last year to let them know what percentage of our searches had ended up with a woman being placed.

It turns out that around 65% of the placements this business made over the last year were men. This is a fairly discouraging figure on the face of it; but it also hides some interesting anomalies.

In the most senior roles – CEOs, MDs, etc – the ratio was almost exactly reversed: nearly 70% of general management placements over the last 12 months were women. At least boards seem to be getting the message that it is time for a change, and hopefully this change will trickle down the organisations in question.

But below that, gender stereotypes do seem to have a stronger grip. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, men still dominate in CTO / CIO roles: if we remove those from our figures, our male:female ratio switches to a more respectable 58:42%.  Sales leadership roles, particularly in SaaS clients,  are still also predominantly male, by a ratio of three to one. Editorial and creative roles, on the other hand, are 50/50, and the marketing directors we have placed in the last 12 months have been almost exclusively female.

The split between sectors can also affect gender outcomes. To illustrate: we work a great deal with information clients in the energy space. For all sorts of reasons, this sector has been historically dominated by men: a quick analysis of our searches across all disciplines in the sector shows that, where clients have insisted on a background in this sector, less than 25% of potential candidates are women. Where clients are open to candidates from different backgrounds, the ratio is 42:58.

One final piece of statistical analysis. It would appear that the awareness of the issue is having an impact, even if practices remain imperfect. We can measure this by looking at the gender of the hiring manager, and then at his or her hires. Looking back five years to 2014,  only 20% of our clients’ hires were “cross gender”: typically, though not exclusively, this meant men hiring men. Last year, the same measure yielded a more impressive 45% of hires being made by men of women, or women of men.

So, how can our clients ensure a better approach to gender-balanced recruitment? There are no easy answers, but the booklet we have prepared below (Seven Steps to Gender-Blind Recruitment) provides some simple steps that can help eliminate gender bias in recruitment processes.

Click here to get your free Gender-blind recruitment pdf.

 

Martin Tripp

martin@trippassociates.co.uk

Martin Tripp Associates is a London-based executive search consultancy. While we are best-known for our work across the mediainformationtechnologycommunications and entertainment sectors, we have also worked with some of the world’s biggest brands on challenging senior positions. Feel free to contact us to discuss any of the issues raised in this blog. 

 

 

Product discovery: Nike, Balmain, and Kim Kardashian-West

The motto “the customer is always right” has long circulated hospitality and retail, popularised in the early nineteenth century by retailers like Harry Gordon Selfridge. Consumer sway over brands has only increased in the age of social media, as people are able to mobilise opposition to the actions of brands they follow. In recent weeks, three big names have bowed to consumer pressure to change their products: Kim Kardashian-West backtracked on naming her shapewear brand Kimono after accusations of cultural appropriation, Nike recalled its 4th July trainers after consumers pointed out they were using a flag flown during slavery, and Balmain reached an agreement with Laura Biagiotti Group to change their logo. Which all begs the question:

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Can location data be the powerhouse of digital advertising?

One thing modern marketers aren’t short of is user data. All the efforts over the past few years to encourage users to hand over their user data – just in time for GDPR to potentially upend those advantages – have paid dividends. It’s been true for a few years now that accurate user data is effectively just table stakes for any marketer worth their salt, and media companies have been espousing the value of their first-party data even more vehemently since issues of fraud have become table talk.

Take me to your Lidl

But for marketers in particular, there has been much investment in data and less in a framework that can tie all their data points together in an actionable way. It’s been very possible to use reams of user data to target them with offers and ads in their email inboxes, and even to prevent them from taking actions like cancelling subscriptions, but in terms of actually using it to boost the effectiveness of digital marketing, there’s always been one step missing.

Now it’s looking increasingly like location intelligence data, paired with real-time information about everything from traffic and weather and combined with that existing user data, might be used to deliver on the promise of mobile advertising.

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Protest Art and the Art of Protesting

Top hats

Throughout history, the arts have played a key role in protests. This has happened whether works of art were made for the purpose of serving protests or not: virtually anything can be utilised to serve a cause. Protest art is nothing new: during WWI the Dada movement protested against the violence of war, whilst Picasso’s Guernica drew attention to the bombing of the town during the Spanish Civil War. Protests themselves increasingly

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The interactive future for theatres

Virtually engaged

In 2019, experience trumps product. Retail outlets are retooling their spaces to make the experience of shopping, the so-called ‘retail journey’, as attractive to the consumer as the items they hold in their arms as they leave the shop. Many media companies are attempting to emulate Time Out’s food market success and transition into events and experience businesses, the better to appeal to the Millennials and cash-rich Boomers who prioritise making memories.

A lot of that is driven by the rise of consumer technology that enables brand new experiences, from portable 3D printers that let you take away a physical model of your own face at the end, to venues dedicated entirely to esports, to the ever more interactive experiences offered by theme parks. Many savvy media companies and retailers

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Why the Tories should not rush to appoint a no-deal Brexit leader

The gracious loser

We have long argued that a no-deal Brexit would be bad for business, and for the country. But the self-titled party of business seems most likely to appoint the ‘f**k business’ candidate, Boris Johnson, as its leader. If he takes a hard no-deal stance, it would be a mistake both for the country and for his party.

The great advantage of having Nigel Farage’s Brexit party in recent electoral mixes is that it has served to properly illustrate the lack of support for a no deal Brexit – despite the headlines elsewhere.

Farage points out that his voters are the people who feel ‘angry and betrayed’ by traditional politicians who have failed to deliver ‘the Brexit you voted for.’ And the fact that Farage is standing on one policy alone – a ‘no deal’ Brexit – serves as a focus for all those angry and betrayed voters. In the European and Peterborough elections, the new party polled an impressive-sounding 32% and 29% respectively, winning the first poll and coming close in the second.

But there is one unsettling fact for Nigel Farage: by-elections and European elections are traditionally great places to register protest votes, and these were the mother of all opportunities to mobilise his supporters. And yet, given that turnout for the European elections was 37%, and for the by-election 48% – both massively down on either a general election or the referendum – they still failed to demonstrate a majority appeal. The European election result indicated that, nationally, around 13% of registered voters actually voted for ‘no deal’; in Peterborough, that figure stands at 15% – in a borough that in the referendum voted 61% in favour of Brexit.

In hard figures, across Peterborough, 53,216 voted for Brexit in 2016: 10,201 voted for ‘no deal’ Brexit parties yesterday. In effect, when faced with a choice between Brexit 2016-style, and the more radical no-deal Brexit being proposed now, 80% of 2016 voters either abstained or voted another way.

The desire for an orderly exit is similarly borne out by yesterday’s figures. Both the Labour and Conservative parties stood on a platform of a managed exit (as outlined in their 2017 manifestos), and they took 52% of the Peterborough vote. The ‘remain’ parties – Lib Dem and Green – garnered 15% between them.

In the European elections, widely seen as a protest vote from which inbetweeners stayed away, the no deal vote was 34% (Brexit and UKIP), the ‘Remain’ vote 40% (Lib Dem, Green, Change UK, SNP, Plaid), and the ‘managed exit’ vote a less convincing 23% (Labour, Tory). But – if we accept the proposition mooted by Farage that the anger is so deep among no-deal Brexiteers that they would all turn out to trounce the mainstream – we can expect that their numbers will not massively increase in absolute terms in a general election. In fact, it is likely that with other considerations (education, NHS, etc), people would vote more moderately in a national election. Yet the figures are stark: 17.4m people voted for Brexit in 2016 – but fewer than 6m people voted nationally for no deal Brexit parties in the European elections – a fall of 65%.

So it would appear that what moderate Brexiteers say is true: the vast majority of people who voted Leave in 2016 did not vote for ‘no deal’: they voted for a managed exit and the ‘exact same benefits’ (or as close as can be reasonably managed) that they were promised. When the reality of no deal is exposed, they are distinctly less enthusiastic.

If the Tories rush to install a ‘no deal’ Prime Minister, they will be bowing to the constant drumbeat of around 15% of the electorate. Not only would it be an economic catastrophe for a new Tory leader to pursue a hard exit on 31st October, it would be profoundly anti-democratic. And voters would not easily forgive the party that delivered it.

 

Martin Tripp

martin@trippassociates.co.uk

Martin Tripp Associates is a London-based executive search consultancy. While we are best-known for our work across the media, information, technology, communications and entertainment sectors, we have also worked with some of the world’s biggest brands on challenging senior positions. Feel free to contact us to discuss any of the issues raised in this blog. 

NME, Sports Illustrated and the future of magazine publishing

Authentic Brands Group: boxing clever?

The news recently broke that US magazine publisher Meredith was selling off another of its titles, part of a long-running effort from the media company to focus more on its core areas of interest. What was unusual about this latest piece of news – that venerable Sports Illustrated is being offloaded for $110 million – is the identity of the buyer.

Rather than being another media company, which would have made this just another entry in the ledger of media consolidation, Sports Illustrated is being sold to Authentic Brands Group. Other than having a name that sounds made up on the fly, Authentic Brands Group is best known for its brand development operations – it oversees the management of parts of the Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali estates, for instance.

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Points of Differentiation in E-Learning Platforms

May contain graphic images

E-learning is big business. The share of people in the UK taking online learning courses more than doubled between 2007 and 2016 (4% to 11%), and globally the e-learning market is expected to reach $65bn by 2023. The advent of cloud-based infrastructure and a rise in competing e-learning platforms means there is more choice than ever for companies looking to boost employee skills through digital learning.

Between e-learning platforms like Docebo, Grovo and LearnUpon, there are many points of similarity. All are aiming to provide comprehensive learning tools at scale, and the majority are building out customised learning modules and courses that are tailored to consumer needs in an attempt to dominate the markets in which they operate. Many e-learning providers are also keen to promote their international efforts in line with the globalisation of the companies they market to: Learning Technologies Group (LTG) recently announced the launch of ‘Instilled,’ a new learning experience platform, with the explicit promise of aiding international companies, with the ability to “disperse content globally and translate it into more than 100 languages.”

In 2018, ten percent of UK respondents reported purchasing digital products in the e-learning category

But as more platforms build out similar solutions to common problems, the need for points of differentiation between competitor platforms is becoming ever more acute. From the gamification of e-learning to introducing more sophisticated points of contact between peers, here’s how the leading platforms are attempting to stand out and dominate the world of e-learning.

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c/o newzoo

Who is investing in esports and why?

The play’s the thing…

Global esports revenues are expected to hit $1.1bn this year. Over $155 million in prize money was awarded in nearly 3,500 esports tournaments last year, playing games like Dota 2, League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offense.  $11.47m of this prize money went to just one team: OG, a European professional team which is famed for playing Valve’s Dota 2.  With teams like Team Liquid racking up overall earnings of over $26m, and global esports viewers projected to total 453.8m this year (representing a year on year growth of +15%), competitive gaming is becoming a money-making phenomenon for both players and investors. So where is the money coming from, who is investing and what’s in it for them?

Esports is still in its infancy, comparatively, so the medium represents a new, current and exciting opportunity for traditional investors, looking for growing areas, to maximise return on

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A Pessimist’s Guide to Podcast Growth

Sound thinking

Recently there’s been a lot of noise made about how podcasting is about to break into the big time. We’ve heard that before, of course, and have been hearing it for well over a decade, but now there are financial reasons to believe it might actually be true. Slate has announced it is expecting nearly half its revenue will come from its podcasts this year, after making significant investments in audio last year. It did so after reportedly seeing a significant uptick in overall advertising and membership revenue off the back of its podcasts, which is also one reason given by the NYT for their overall subscription success off the back of its podcasts including The Daily.

According to the latest Infinite Dial report from Edison, the average time per individual spent listening to podcasts has been steadily ticking up over the past few years, with 32 percent of the US population expected to have listened to a podcast monthly. Better still, research from Acast demonstrates that 76% of podcast listeners exposed to an ad took some form of follow-up action on the ad.

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The revolution is coming: the future of PropTech

The property market has not gone digital at same rate as other sectors, like shopping and taxis. This is visibly demonstrated by the state of estate agents, where it is still clearly the land of fax-machines, whiteboards and post-dated cheques. Where there are landed assets to maintain, investing in the future digital direction of the business does

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The Final Frontier of Advertising

Advertising gimmicks are ten a penny, with attention-grabbing schemes deployed and abandoned as soon as they’ve received enough attention from the media. In February this year, though, soft drinks giant PepsiCo announced plans to advertise in a completely new format – in space.

Here’s looking at you

The partnership with Russian start-up StartRocket would have seen a cluster of cubesats (effectively a miniaturised commercial satellite) deployed to form an ‘orbital billboard’. At the time of the announcement PepsiCo’s spokeswoman Olga Mangova wrote “We believe in StartRocket potential. Orbital billboards are the revolution on the market of communications” in an email seen by Futurism.

However, last week PepsiCo confirmed that plans had been shelved, telling space.com that StartRocket had performed a single, exploratory test of the technology and that there are no current plans to roll out a fleet of space-borne billboards.

For some, that news will come as a relief. The commercialisation of space in any form, whether that’s asteroid-stripping or establishing hotels on the moon, is contentious. This particular scheme has received criticism for potentially adding to the vast amount of ‘space junk’ that is already orbiting the earth.

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New local news products for the UK: what works elsewhere?

All the news that fits.

The UK’s local news economy is in dire straits. Local newspapers have had their ability to create relevant regional news slowly stripped away as newspaper groups attempt to cut their way to sustainability, and the mishandling of specific local television channels has been a source of controversy over the past few years. In the executive summation of the Cairncross Review, the UK government’s year-long review into the sustainability of journalism, Dame Frances Cairncross noted that the ability of local news providers to make a living among the huge digital giants that now dominate ad spend was far from a given. As the sales of local news titles in the UK has halved between 2007 and 2017, few would argue that it is not an unprecedentedly challenging time for regional news producers.

According to the 2018 edition of Ofcom’s ‘News Consumption in the UK’ report, only 40 percent of people in the UK regularly get their news in print, with less than one in four (23 percent) using printed local or regional newspapers. By contrast, close to half of people (48 percent) get their news from local BBC television bulletins and just under a third (32 percent) doing the same with ITV. That might be why, in the US, the Tampa Bay Times is attempting to use local television to increase newsstand sales (every little helps!).

Far and away the least used source of local news is social media, which Ofcom found was only a source of local news for 16 percent of people. That is likely due to a number of factors, from how few local newspapers actually maintain active social presences, to people’s propensity to use social media instead to communicate with either friendship groups or national news. Concerns about online misinformation are also primarily focused around social media, which may be a slight factor. Even as use of social media increases, its use for local news remains fairly limited.

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AppleNews+: The short long history of publisher-platform fights

The announcement of the long-mooted AppleNews+ was, broadly, not a surprise. Publishers had been aware that a new subscription product from Apple was coming down the pipe for months, and based on leaks we mostly knew exactly what was being announced.

Apple: defying gravity?

AppleNews+ is a subscription-based magazine and news app that builds on Apple’s existing work with Texture. Priced at $9.99 per month in the United States, the service sells itself to news and magazine publishers on the basis that it gets them into the pockets of potentially every single person who owns an iPhone.

However, what was a surprise (albeit a welcome one) was the reaction of the newspaper organisations, of which only the Wall Street Journal was tempted into the AppleNews+ scheme. For the most part, where the reaction wasn’t muted, it was very negative, with people pointing out the offer to publishers was a recipe for brand destruction. It appears that – finally – news publishers

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Only 216 years to go until equal pay

Yesterday (April 2nd) was Equal Pay Day – symbolising how far into the year women have to work to earn the same as men did the previous year. The World Economic Forum calculates that, at current rate of progress, the pay gap will not be closed until 2235. Unequal pay for men and women doing the same job has been illegal in the UK for 40 years, yet the pay gap remains at 8.6% for full-time employees. In the US, women earn 81 cents to every dollar a man makes. Yet, perhaps not that surprisingly, a recent survey revealed that nearly half of men, and a quarter of women, do not believe in the pay gap.

Equal Pay Day brought about a plethora of news articles on which companies, roles and areas are falling behind on equal pay: over one hundred NHS trust have a larger pay gap than last year, the gender

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Too big to bundle: the bifurcation of subscription strategies

Last week the NYT’s chief executive Mark Thompson warned other publishers to be wary of jumping into bed with Apple’s soon-to-be-announced news subscription service. He told Reuters: “We tend to be quite leery about the idea of almost habituating people to find our journalism somewhere else. We’re also generically worried about our journalism being scrambled in a kind of Magimix (blender) with everyone else’s journalism.” Later on in the interview he cited the example of broadcasters giving Netflix their most valuable shows before they quite realised what a competitor the streaming service would ultimately be, warning against giving your usurper the tools needed to supplant you.

If anyone knows what they’re talking about when it comes to subscription success, it’s Mark Thompson. The New York Times’ triumph in that area is held up as a shining beacon for other news companies to emulate. It has a new target of 10 million subscribers by 2025 after it surpassed its own targets for subscribers in the latest quarter, and has undertaken a very smart approach to onboarding new subscribers through offering free student memberships. It has even kept up its ‘Trump bump’ pace despite predictions (including mine) that harnessing an ephemeral national mood was an unsustainable business model in the long term.

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The Future of Print is Obvious: It’s a Marketing Gimmick

A few weeks ago I moderated a panel on the future of print at 2020 Publishing in London. A panel of industry veterans discussed their optimism for the medium, noting that it is still a lucrative endeavour for national newspapers that still print huge numbers of copies, and for B2B and trade magazines.

Niche, shmiche. 

One thing that I took away from the lively panel was that print absolutely still has a place at the legacy publishers – namely as a source of non-incidental revenue as they transition to newer, more diverse sources of revenue. That’s no surprise; a quick glance at the latest ABC figures suggests that media companies are riding that long tail of print decline in an effort to become primarily digital companies, some more successfully than others.

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How programmatic is driving internal change at media companies

Finding an easy way in

Programmatic dominates the digital advertising landscape. By eMarketer’s metrics it is set to account for 90% of all total digital display adspend in the UK by 2020, with the vast majority of the growth coming from mobile programmatic. It also estimates that video programmatic spend is set to account for 43 percent of total programmatic display in 2019, double the amount in 2016.

That’s despite the obvious challenges facing digital advertising: rampant problems of viewability, out-and-out fraud and unsafe ad spaces, to say nothing of the dominance of the Duopoly of Google and Facebook.

For those people working in the trenches of digital advertising, however, often the real challenge is inside their own business. Getting buy-in from senior people within the business who don’t necessarily have the time or the understanding of the fast-moving world of programmatic can present an obstacle to the actual advertising experts.

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Resource, not news source: How service journalism can help news publishers thrive

Recycled as ballot papers

Last week, I wrote that ad-funded digital news publishers were having a terrible time. But there are some reasons for optimism, if publishers are prepared to think more strategically.

It’s been apparent for a few years that US regional titles are performing better than their UK counterparts, despite costs being taken out en masse by their owners. It’s an apples-to-oranges comparison to some extent, given that the scale of ‘local’ is so different between the two countries, but the reality is that US local news titles are looking more sustainable than your average local paper (which isn’t actually saying all that much).

There are a few reasons why that might be the case: In the UK regional publishers tend to take costs out from local titles, and retreat to hub-based models that rob each title of truly local content (a rant Matt had five years ago, and which proved to be prescient). That then has a knock-on effect on UK local titles’ websites, which are for the most part unfit for purpose and flooded with low-quality ads in an attempt to salvage all possible revenue.

But the primary reason I would like to believe US titles are in ruder health than UK counterparts is that

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Ripping off the plaster: Job cuts and sustainable journalism

In the red

Last week was a terrible week for digital journalists, with well over 1000 job cuts announced across a swathe of the most popular digital publishers. BuzzFeed announced up to 250 job cuts, which seemed to disproportionately hit BuzzFeed UK. Verizon is looking to cut 800 jobs, or 7% of its global workforce after its CEO announced that each of its three strands – which includes its media properties such as Huffington Post and AOL – should be sustainable in their own right. And Gannet cut 20 jobs as part of a restructuring ahead of a rumoured buyout.

Reactions to the cuts have been emotional and frequently incendiary. Media Twitter has been awash with journalists expressing condolences and wishing the best for their peers, with many editors advertising potential positions within their own organisations. On the other side of the spectrum, former BuzzFeed staffer Jason Sweeten used BuzzFeed’s own platform to create a quiz lambasting the organisation for letting so many

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How much does an Oscar nomination cost?

What would you spend to win an Oscar?

This year’s list of Oscar nominations for best film is notable for a number of reasons – but primarily for the inclusion of two new entrants to the category: Marvel Studios for Black Panther, and Netflix for Roma. But the two illustrate very different business models.

Black Panther – nominated for seven Oscars – cost an estimated $200m to make, and has taken $1.3bn so far at the box office. That’s an earnings ratio of 6.5x (excluding marketing and distribution costs). This is good, even by Marvel’s money-making standards: the previous five Marvel films had average budgets of $250m, and takings of $925m (3.7x budget).

Roma cost $15m and took, er, $217,000 in a limited cinema release, an earnings ratio of 0.014x production costs – or, more straightforwardly, a loss of $14.8m. It is estimated that Netflix has spent an additional $25m on promoting the film ensure an Oscar or two. Clearly, Netflix has a different ambition in mind rather than profit: it wants to be taken seriously as a filmmaker, and it wants

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Brands, ethics and controversy: Gillette, Nike and Greggs

There has been a lot of hot air surrounding recent advertising controversies – but, beyond the guff, there might also be valuable lessons for employers.

In the wake of #metoo and TimesUp, we have seen an increase in advertising campaigns focused on supporting progressive social change. The release of Gillette’s latest advert followed in the footsteps of Nike’s 2018 campaign faced by Colin Kaepernick: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Nike’s ‘sacrifice’ amounted to

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Three TV Trends for 2019

Broadcast is changing fast – but not necessarily in ways we might have expected a couple of years ago. Here are three trends to watch for in 2019.

Change that model

VOD apes traditional media

Streaming services are working hard to steal eyeballs from traditional broadcasters – and they certainly seem to be succeeding. Netflix obliterated analysts’ expectations by adding 7 million new subscribers during the third quarter of 2018. And it is willing to spend some serious money to continue that trajectory.

It is no secret by now that the reason Netflix, Hulu, etc. are investing so heavily in original content is that the studios are looking to withdraw their proprietary content from these platforms in order to launch their own services (eg ‘Disneyflix’). Netflix have indicated that they are allocating 85% of their new spending on original productions, according to Variety.

They will also be looking to capture the heart-of-the-nation market from linear broadcasters – think ‘Great British Bake Off’ or ‘The Bodyguard’ (the latter of which they own the international rights to). There has certainly

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Will in-game advertisements backfire for video game companies?

The most recent statistics from the Entertainment Retailer’s Association reveal that the UK video games industry outperforms the music and video industries by a significant margin. Combined physical and digital sales of games reached £3.86bn for the year, a significant improvement on last year, where physical and digital sales for music and video achieved £1.33bn and £2.34bn respectively. That effectively means that games are responsible for over half of all UK home entertainment sales for 2018, a testament to the increasing numbers of the public who have grown up with games as a medium.

Macho nachos.

Monetisation opportunities around games have similarly increased as technology has enabled more ways for consumers to support game developers and publishers. Where once one-off purchases were the only way to support a game, the rise of free-to-play (F2P) games and paid-for downloadable content (DLC) have paved the way for many other models. Despite publishers being ever-more hungry for sources of incidental revenue from their titles, one potential form of revenue – in-game advertising – has never really taken off in the West. But that could be about to change.

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Can broadcasters pull together in a show of united strength?

We all know what’s happening with adspend. Digital advertising spend represents all net growth in adspend, and three big players are in control of that flow of cash. It’s an issue that isn’t going to be solved any time soon, and in the meantime the competition for the squeezed remainder is only getting fiercer.

As part of that various broadcasters, platforms and advertisers are reappraising the metrics they’ve traditionally used to demonstrate their superiority (or otherwise) compared to their competitors. In the US, for instance, the television and radio broadcast network CBS has failed to come to terms with the measurement company Nielsen, leaving the broadcaster without one of the most-cited measurements. As Variety’s Brian Steinberg explains, part of the issue is that broadcasters like CBS argue that Nielsen’s metrics fail to take into account viewing across a variety of platforms. The rise of VOD and the diffusion of television content across different devices means that – at least in theory – more people are being exposed to television content than ever before:

“TV networks have long based their advertising rates on Nielsen’s measure of linear TV audiences, which have slipped as consumers embrace Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and other streaming and on-demand options. In such an environment, TV networks believe Nielsen’s overnight ratings are no longer the critical yardstick of viewership they once were.”

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Finding its voice: What’s the future of news on smart speakers?

Audio content is having a mini Renaissance. Between radio’s strong showing in adspend predictions for 2019, the steady maturation of the podcast market and the strong showing for audio as a secondary activity, there is a strong case to be made that audio content is a sure bet for media companies.

That’s helped significantly by the mutability of audio content. Music, radio shows and podcasts tend to bleed into one another, with each existing alongside the others on Spotify, DAB and any number of streaming services.

That makes the relative lack of success of news content on connected devices and smart speakers all the more marked. Emarketer’s predictions suggest that the number of smart speakers in US households is set to rise from 16 million to 76 million between 2016 and 2020, based on “stronger than expected uptake” of the devices.

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Women will be the future of technology

Female founders got just 2.2% of Venture Capitalist Funding in 2018, the same percentage as in 2017.

Okay. TimesUp, Starting Now.

This woeful figure is actually an increase on the 1.9% offered to female founders in 2016, and comes despite female founders raised a record amount of VC funding, at $2.3bn in ten months. This is an issue on both sides of the table: 74% of US Venture Capitalist firms have no female investors. These figures are a stark reminder that whilst the tech industry looks to the future, its decisions are being made in the historical, male-dominated model.

Female-headed businesses have a real potential to make societal change in ways perhaps different from those headed by men. Whitney Wolfe founded Bumble after leaving Tinder and filing a lawsuit against Tinder for sexual harassment. Bumble, where women have to make the first move and start the conversation, has led a revolution in how modern women go about dating, making

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What Noel Edmonds can teach us about Brexit*

Lord of the Jungle.

It is slick programming by ITV to have Noel Edmonds featuring in this year’s I’m a Celebrity….. Why? Because the phrase “Deal or No Deal” is suddenly assuming a sickening relevance. And on December 11th, two days after Celebrity… reaches its climax, MPs will vote on whether to accept or reject the withdrawal agreement the government has agreed.

Let’s be clear: the deal is problematic. Its description of future trading arrangements is necessarily scant, due to the EU’s insistence that those cannot be discussed until after the Brexit deal has been struck; the Northern Ireland backstop plan is imperfect (though overblown by trumpeting politicians); and, yes, the

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The business case for making UK media less homogenous

Last month Channel 4 announced it had chosen Leeds as the location of its new second national headquarters, with around a quarter of its London-based staff making the move. Though Leeds had been on the announced shortlist as far back as June, the announcement managed to take media twitchers by surprise, as it was seen as having the longest odds compared to other shortlisted cities like Birmingham and Manchester.

The national channel also announced it will open creative hubs in Bristol and Glasgow, each with around 50 staff, as part of a plan to increase the amount Channel 4 spends on programmes outside London by £250m over the next five years.

Speaking at the time of the announcement, Channel 4’s chief executive said the move would involve more “people from across the UK and supercharge the impact we have in all parts of the country”.

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