In a recent blog, we looked at the threat Brexit represents to the future of the UK creative industries, focusing mainly on the games industry – and for a very good reason: the UK games retail market is now a £3.35bn industry, its sales now almost equal to that of home sales for music and video combined.
But this blog perhaps missed the wider, refreshingly positive story about the state of the entertainment market as a whole. For many years, reports have suggested
Last week, it was reported that there are more unfilled job vacancies than ever before in the British economy. As of November 2017, there were 810,000 unfilled vacancies in the UK – an increase of 60,000 on the previous year.
For all employers, that deserves a moment of reflection. But for employers of highly skilled workers, such as programmers, the current situation threatens to become a crisis as uncertainty over the direction of Brexit creeps in.
The challenge of attracting talent to the UK is underlined by the latest Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI), which shows the UK has dropped from 3rd place in 2017, to 8th place this year. The rumours and uncertainty surrounding our future relationship with the European union are evidently making the UK a less attractive place to work.
The lack of noise – positive or negative – about the relaunch of the tabloid Guardian last week underlines just how irrelevant print is becoming to the newspaper market.
Of course, it is also true that The Guardian is the last of the broadsheets – other than the Telegraph, which it seems will go to its grave in the larger format – to go tabloid or abandon print altogether. And given the perilous finances of the newspaper’s owners, GMG, this shift has been seen as inevitable after 13 years of the paper’s ruinously costly Berliner format (GMG made losses before exceptional items of £45m on turnover of £214m last year).
But the figures speak for themselves. Only 20% of the
Most digital media businesses are slaves to the ‘hit’ – the number of clicks on or views of a particular page. And that’s a real shame, because the hit was never a great measure of success for an individual piece of content, and has only become less so as social distribution skews publishing priorities towards creating content designed to go ‘viral’.
Worse still, as a result of a focus on the hit that has been around since the birth of the banner ad back in 1994, ads are mostly sold on a CPM (click per thousand) basis. When you sell in thousands of impressions, all you care about is how many thousands you have. As a result, in some quarters, ‘hits’ has become a damning acronym for ‘How Idiots Track Success.’
The truth is, the hit is a blunt instrument for attracting advertisers. It’s like having a thousand people come to your wedding, but you don’t know any of them, they are unlikely to
By now, you have probably heard about Improbable, the virtual simulation start-up that raised $502m from Japan’s SoftBank – but what you might not have considered is how its technology could be of interest to your business.
Founded in 2012 by a pair of Cambridge University computer science graduates, Improbable is now valued at more than $1bn thanks to the investment by SoftBank, which represents the largest-ever venture financing round for a private British company.
The business employs 170 computer scientists, engineers and designers who are all attempting to recreate the most detailed version possible of the real world in digital form.
From consumer publishers wrestling with whether or not to install paywalls, to information providers struggling to place a value on their output in a crowded marketplace, the one thing media companies seem to get wrong time and again is pricing. Of course every business is different, and there’s no on-size-fits-all solution, but in almost ten years as a headhunter the issue of how and what to charge the customer has seemed to plague the media market.
Paul Mason, the economics editor of Channel 4 News, comes closest to identifying the crux of the problem that faces most media companies in the digital world. In his recent book, PostCapitalism, Mason says that as digital replaces physical media, almost everything is reduced to the same state – that of an information product that can be infinitely distributed and replicated at virtually no cost. Whether you’re talking about an episode of Game of Thrones, the historical worldwide prices of bauxite, or a picture of Kim Kardashian, it doesn’t matter – it’s all information that can be reproduced and shared.
As media headhunters it’s common for our conversations with senior editorial and commercial people – at old and new media businesses alike – to regularly address the challenges they face in offering new and compelling solutions to advertisers.
These conversations often revolve around how a publisher can use the editorial skills they have in-house, and a reputation for producing high-quality content, in commercial ways that won’t alienate the readership or damage a relationship that, in some cases, has been built on centuries of editorial rigour.
So how do they do that? Well, it isn’t easy.
A recent editorial candidate told me at their (established) news organisation, they have clear boundaries to maintain the traditional gap between editorial and commercial. But this ‘traditional’ gap is no longer the case everywhere, and some of the UK’s most distinguished media businesses are peering directly into it in the hope of finding new sources of revenue.
Increasingly, media organisations are becoming more relaxed around the separation of editorial and commercial activity and redefining how existing boundaries can work. Under the umbrella of ‘native advertising’, the old lines between editorial and commercial are changing.
Content marketing. It’s come to save us all, hasn’t it? With consumers looking around every available social network for information and entertainment, all brands have to do is provide satisfying content and in return people will be only to pleased to fill their coffers. Right?
Well, stone me. It’s a little bit more complicated than that. According to research from the Content Marketing Institute, brands are either having difficulty (or simply not bothering to…) to measure the value of their work.
Just 21 per cent of B2B marketers claimed they were successfully tracking the ROI of their content marketing campaigns.
If you’ve been following my recent posts, you’ll know I’ve been spending the last few months talking to senior management figures across the newspaper industry – national and regional. The aim of these conversations has been to found out how they see their industry changing, how their specific business is changing, and to understand the recruitment challenges they face.
In all three areas, one word comes up time and time again – data.
“The challenge for me”, said the Head of Digital at one big newspaper publisher, “has been to convince senior management that it’s no longer just about the number of uniques [web and mobile site readers] you can get. That’s in many ways a vanity number.”
If web traffic alone isn’t enough, he went on to say – digital commercial people working at newspapers need to understand much more about their readers in order to sell appropriate ads.
In recent weeks the concept of “efficacy” has become something we have been thinking about more and more. In conversations with clients and prospects, the ability for them to ensure a desired or intended result with the services and products they supply has been high on their list of concerns.
How do we – the conversations go – ensure we produce stuff our customers really want or need? How do we ensure a great reception for the things we produce or the programmes we run?
Increasingly, the answer is to establish a better understanding of the customer – and the way to do that is to talk to them more directly, more personally, and in an overall smarter way.
Banner advertising has long been the established method by which digital publishers generate income – but an increased use of mobile, difficultly innovating the humble skyscraper, and growing customer ‘blindness’ to banners has led many to re-evaluate their approach and instead start experimenting with native ads.
Guardian News & Media is the latest publisher to jump aboard the native ads bandwagon. The Guardian is by no means the only newspaper looking for new and innovative ways to raise revenue (in fact, the Times has been has been involved with branded content for years), but even by its own forward-thinking standards, its move into native advertising is a compelling one.
The publisher has set up a branded content division – called Guardian Labs – with the aim of creating innovative marketing campaigns that can stretch its revenue stream beyond display ads.
This article first appeared in Press Gazette
Last month marked fifteen years since I became a media headhunter. Much of that time has been concerned with careers in journalism. Which begs the question: what, if anything, have I learned in that time? Here are some things I didn’t know back in 1996:
It is astonishing how much the sector has changed in that time. The job titles themselves are indicative of these changes. While we still recruit MDs, Editors, Sales Directors and so on, we are now as likely to be working on roles like Head of Product Roadmap or Chief Scientist. As business models keep changing, so too do the attributes of the individuals who can add value.
In an era when many consumers are as comfortable making purchases online as they are on the high street, the benefits of a strong digital offering are obvious. But the changing face of communications means that the online space is also highly competitive. Users are fussy about their experience and it is costly to get it wrong. The best sites demand the best people, and they are increasingly sought after.