October 8, 2010
I missed this huge media acquisition news while I was on vacation:
BCE Inc. has in one fell swoop remade Canada’s media landscape and set the stage for a fierce battle between the phone and cable companies over watching TV shows on something other than a television.
The telecommunications giant on Friday struck a $1.3-billion deal to take full ownership of CTV Inc., a move that breaks apart CTVglobemedia, gives control of The Globe and Mail back to the Thomson family and marks the exit of Torstar Corp. from the group, further shaking up an industry that is constantly being reshaped.
What it means: I love this quote (in another Globe & Mail article) from Kevin Crull, Bell Canada’s President – Residential Services: “Mr. Crull said that he considers Bell more of an entertainment company than a straight communications company, reiterating Bell’s stated goal to be the largest TV provider in Canada by 2015. “You can’t separate entertainment and communications any more, because of broadband [high-speed Internet],” he said.” It’s definitely back to the future for Bell Canada as the company (under Jean Monty’s direction) had bought CTV in 2000. It had resold it under Michael Sabia’s rule. I personally thought Monty’s move was brilliant and I think this vindicates him.
I also think it clearly confirms that content is, once again, king. And it also makes me think about the Yellow Pages industry. Many industry CEOs state that their main asset is the sales force. I think senior management should not forget about content. Local search is all about breadth and depth of content, not just sales.
As some of you, I’m coming back from a great vacation in the south of France. I was mostly offline for the duration of the vacation but still regularly picked-up French newspapers while I was there, most notably Le Monde (for national and international news) and La Provence (for local news). I kept a few articles that I think were blog-worthy and I’m going to share those with you in the coming days.
The first article titled “Rebond du marché publicitaire français en 2010″ (Advertising spending in France bounces back in 2010) was published on October 1st in Le Monde (paid link). The article discusses ad spending in France in the first semester of 2010 by various media vehicles. Data comes from Institut de recherches et études publicitaires (IREP) and data can be found here (.pdf).
I found the following interesting data points:
- Television is the number one media in terms of ad spending (by far) with 1.7 billion euros and a growth of 12.8% over the same period last year
- “Internet”, it seems, only takes into account display advertising (i.e. banners)
- “Internet” gets 264 million euros in spending, a growth of only 9% vs. same period last year. Outdoor advertising growth is almost as much with 7.3%.
What it means: a couple of observations. First, television still rules in terms of ad spending. That media hasn’t (yet!) been hit hard by the Web and still benefits from huge ad budgets. The atomization of TV programs (think on-demand online streaming) is still in its infancy and will not impact TV’s numbers drastically for at least 3-5 more years. Second, I’m not surprised display ads are not growing as fast as we would expect the Web to grow. Even though it is still the preferred method for online advertising, I’m not a big believer in its future. Third, I’m surprised IREP doesn’t do a better job at tracking online advertising in general. PagesJaunes Groupe, the French Yellow Pages, saw their online revenues grow by 6.7% just in the second quarter of 2010 (see press release in .pdf) for a total of 263.9 million euros. That’s an equal amount to what’s recorded by IREP for “display ads”!
September 14, 2009
I was watching the US Open Federer-Djokovic match on TV yesterday when, towards the end, Federer made an amazing, between-the-leg, return to score a point. I immediately tweeted “What a hit by Federer!!!”. I then stopped everything I was doing to watch a couple of instant replay on CBS, the network that broadcasting the game in North America. I was floored, what a shot. Federer went on to win the game.
Turns out I wasn’t satisfied with the two instant replays the network had provided me. I wanted to see more of it! Five minutes after the game, I searched for the word “Federer” on Twitter. Somebody had already uploaded the whole scene to YouTube in HD quality! I could watch it, pause it, analyze the shot the way I wanted to. I then tweeted back
the YouTube URL for all my friends to see.
What it means: a critical mass of people were watching the game. Someone took the time to “atomize” a portion of the broadcast (the amazing shot) and uploaded it on YouTube (the support). The “news” was then “announced” on Twitter (the discovery tool). Why isn’t this happening on CBS.com?
April 23, 2009
Excerpts from “How Much Ads Cost” – eMarketer.
(…) broadcast TV had the highest cost-per-thousand (CPM) rate of $10.25, with syndicated TV at $8.77. Magazines, cable TV, newspapers, radio and outdoor advertising round out the space. (…)
As for spending in the online sector… it’s a little more complicated. (…)
For display advertising, Credit Suisse estimated that in 2009 the average CPM will be $2.39, down from $2.46 in 2008. (…)
As for paid search, JPMorgan projected that for every 1,000 searches, $75.33 would be generated from ads in 2009. (…)
What it means: always interesting to compare the CPM of various media. It gives you a good benchmark to calculate revenues needed to counter offline to online revenue migration. Again, no Yellow Pages CPM to compare though. I wonder if someone has made the calculation before for the directory publishing industry.
April 9, 2009
“ESPNChicago.com Launches Monday” via Mediabistro.com.
The Chicago-focused online sports destination will feature original content from some of the most familiar names in Chicago sports including former Bears wide receiver Tom Waddle and former Bulls announcer Chuck Swirsky.
ESPN Digital Media is also launching new technology that allows for geo-targeted content and ad insertion in both live audio streaming and downloadable audio. ESPNChicago.com will also make use of existing ABC/ESPN properties in the city including ESPN Radio 1000 and WLS-TV and abc7chicago.com.
Mini what it means: I’m seeing more and more “national” media brands (television, magazines, newspapers) deploying local strategies online. Makes sense. They leverage a powerful and trusted national brand online but they make it locally relevant. It’s something that’s usually very expensive to do offline but is cheaper to do online.
March 31, 2009
Yesterday, Sophie Cousineau, a business journalist from Montreal’s La Presse, offered her explanation as to why Barack Obama had to fire Rick Wagoner, the CEO of [praized subtype="small" pid="597ce70258167de10a3ead0ceea0179355" type="badge" dynamic="true"] (GM). She talked about some of Wagoner’s past successes but also the fact that he hung on too long to his strategy that centered on SUVs and trucks.
It struck me that with the GM situation, we are facing a perfect example of the innovator’s dilemma. Coined by Clayton M. Christensen in the book of the same name, the innovator’s dilemma is “a theory about how large, outstanding firms can fail “by doing everything right.” The Innovator’s Dilemma, according to Christensen, describes companies whose successes and capabilities can actually become obstacles in the face of changing markets and technologies. ” (source: mit.edu) Christensen also talked about “disruptive technologies”.
In GM’s case, they were so focused on their high-profit margin products (SUVs, trucks, minivans) that they ended up being blindsided when the easy credit required to buy these expensive vehicles evaporated and the price of gas went through the roof. It also reminded me that sometimes you need to kill your cash cow before someone else does it for you (or said otherwise, it’s better to cannibalize yourself than have someone else do if to you).
Which brings me to traditional media (you knew I was going there, were you?).
Newspapers traditionally have been huge cash-generating vehicles but they now have clearly met disruptive technologies both on the reader and on the advertiser side. Basic news is a commodity and aggregators (like Google News) serve as destination site. On the advertiser front, classifieds revenue has been completely disrupted via the free model (pioneered by [praized subtype="small" pid="c51b8fbbdf9041e28ba547a1644985a2c4" type="badge" dynamic="true"]) and online eyeballs do not monetize as well as print readers. That leaves an industry that’s questioning itself with many people wondering what will happen to it in the future.
Directory publishers have very good profit margins but, for most of them, 80%+ of their revenues still come from the print platform. The good news is there hasn’t been too many disruptive technologies yet but you always have to wonder what will blindside the industry. Social media and mobile should be top of mind IMHO.
TV networks and cable providers are still enjoying a successful ride with broadcast/cable television and are slowly starting to think of a post-broadcast world. Disruption there will clearly come from the ability for viewers to go à-la-carte on the Web (either through legit or pirated channels) and link back to their television set. A startup like Boxee is trying to crack that nut.
What it means: the GM and the newspaper industry examples definitely show us that smart people, doing what feels like the right thing, can lead whole industries to catastrophe. What should media companies do? As Clay Shirky said recently “If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?” The answer is: Nothing will work, but everything might. Now is the time for experiments, lots and lots of experiments, each of which will seem as minor at launch as craigslist did, as Wikipedia did…”