Guardian Media Group

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  • July 1, 2019

    Reader-first news media: From transition to transformation

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    The number of people willing to pay for online news now roughly matches print paid circulation, and will soon be substantially greater, with publishers increasingly demonstrating that their strategies are influencing industry outcomes. Our thesis is that subscriptions work in some cases, but that a more systematic reader-first approach benefits all cases, recalibrating management focus to media’s core purpose. Effectively implementing such an approach is a more radical, transformative development than is sometimes assumed. The winners will deploy sophisticated, bespoke audience acquisition and retention funnels and undergo detailed appraisals of the trade-offs necessary for optimal user experiences.
  • February 27, 2019

    The price is right for UK’s national newspapers

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    The average cover price of national newspapers has risen by 58% since 2010, more than twice the CPI increase of 22%. Are publishers “shooting themselves in the foot” at a time when buyers and advertisers are defecting to online?. To settle this, we analysed all the cover price events by national titles between 2010 and 2018, which reveals the relative success of The Times when it has raised its price. For mid-market and popular titles, cover price hikes have on balance reduced circulation revenues and, by lowering reach, drained advertising revenue: a lose-lose scenario.
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  • July 30, 2018

    Quality media, Ozone protection

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    The Telegraph, The Guardian and News UK (The Times and The Sun) will jointly invest in The Ozone Project to develop a state-of-the-art platform to sell their digital inventory. Ozone will add value to news digital inventory and seek to win back advertiser expenditure on Facebook and Google’s various properties, (indirectly) reigniting interest in placement next to quality news media content. Each JV participant operates a distinct business model, which risks friction, but this digital reboot is crucial. By 2020, Ozone could add circa £30 million per annum – not a trivial contribution to a national newspaper newsroom.  
  • June 4, 2018

    News brands and reader subscriptions: Towards a sustainable futur [...]

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    Print remains the primary revenue driver for most newspapers, but after 20 years of online news publishing we ask the critical question: how will publishers sustain newsrooms at scale when print has disappeared, or has contracted to a weekend luxury experience? The question needs to be answered in the context of both: 1) Rapidly declining advertising revenues in print media; and 2) A tiny and shrinking market share of digital advertising revenues. We believe these circumstances strongly imply the race for audience scale is more investor fallacy than a sustainable business prize; and besides, over-reliance on the advertising market for quality content provision is unappealing, particularly to proudly independent news publishers. Reader revenue, long assumed to be an impossibility for general quality digital news services, is the only answer. Registrations, membership and subscription models are being explored, tested, adopted or exploited by almost every major quality news provider in the US and Europe. The transition to subscription is hugely attractive, but requires first and foremost a new editorial strategy, requiring a wholesale business transformation.
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    October 17, 2017

    News and Facebook

    Even though Facebook is not a producer of news, 6.5 million UK internet users claim to mainly source their news from the platform. Posts and shares by friends in the user's network, in the context of Facebook's algorithm, determine the order of stories in the personalised News Feed, removing the control of the news agenda that publishers have for their websites. Premium publishers operating a paywall (The Times, The Financial Times) have a lower key approach to Facebook than publishers generating advertising revenue from referral traffic to their websites or from on-platform consumption of Instant Articles. The latter will seek to stimulate social media engagement, optimising stories through attention-grabbing headlines, and installing Facebook’s share and like buttons on their websites. Case studies of the news stories that were prominent on Facebook (measured by likes, comments and shares) in the periods leading up to the Brexit Referendum and General Election 2017 votes respectively demonstrate that newspaper brands (the Express for Brexit, and The Guardian for the General Election) achieved the highest reach on Facebook during these periods, despite being ranked below other news brands (BBC in particular) in terms of traffic to their websites
  • July 10, 2017

    Tinder and online dating: who’s paying?

    Tinder is one of the most high-profile mobile apps on the market and has transformed the adoption of online dating.Tinder’s success is due in large part to its understanding of user experience, which is key to getting, keeping and upselling users through network effects.But the financial value of this success is limited by the industry: even a mobile revolution has not created a high- revenue mass market where none existed before

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    May 3, 2016

    Content marketing online in Europe to 2020

    Paid placements for content marketing online in Europe will increase by 186% from 2014-2020, to over €2 billion. It is a particularly exciting area for premium publishers, who can leverage their content expertise to reverse the flight of ad money to lower-cost properties. Almost all are developing creative content offerings to capture this value. Metrics and measurement, disclosure and cost remain as challenges for content marketing online, but growth is strong due to high commitment to spend from advertisers.
  • April 12, 2016

    Media & Telecoms – 2016 & Beyond

    Enders Analysis co-hosted its annual conference in conjunction with Deloitte, Moelis & Company, Linklaters and LionTree, in London on 8 March 2016. The event featured talks from 22 of the most influential figures in media and telecoms, and was chaired by Sir Peter Bazalgette. This report provides edited transcripts of the talks, and you will find accompanying slides for some of the presentations here.

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    December 1, 2015

    UK Digital Upfronts 2015: going mobile

    This year marked the second annual IABUK Digital Upfronts. As well as Facebook, Google/YouTube, Aol, Yahoo!, Twitter, BuzzFeed, Vice and others, several traditional media companies – Sky, The Guardian and Global Radio – participated, reflecting the rising importance of digital media and digital media buyers to their businesses. Many of the pitches were informed by the key shifts in online content: it is increasingly cross platform, driven by mobile devices and focused on video programming, and these formed the main themes of the event. A key piece of context is the rise of social media and the shift to programmatic buying, which continue to driven down pricing for all but the most valuable inventory – audience scale, high value audiences and premium content have never been more essential.

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    December 9, 2014

    UK advertising expenditure forecast 2014-2016

    2014 has been a good year for total advertising, which we forecast to grow by 5.5% across the year; display advertising spend is also forecast to grow by over 6% year-on-year. This is largely thanks to a positive economic backdrop, where we have seen a significant rise in consumer expenditure over the last two years. Online advertising spend has been the biggest recipient of growing ad spend, with 20+% growth last year, this year and next. This has mostly been to the detriment of print revenues, where online classified search solutions, amongst other factors like declining circulation, have disrupted print marketplaces. Video has been the largest growth area in internet advertising as online video consumption increases. Up to now online spend has largely been accretive to TV budgets but we are starting to see some advertisers switch to online video spend. However we do not expect TV to suffer in the same way as press.

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    October 1, 2014

    Privacy and the internet in the UK

    UK consumers have embraced data-hungry services like Facebook and Google, but many also have concerns about privacy online; young people have a more positive view of the trade-off and know how to avoid targeted advertising. Businesses that are conscientious about consumers' data gain their trust, and the gap between trusted brands and the market as a whole may grow substantially in the future. Despite Edward Snowden's revelations on ‘Big brother snooping', the UK Government has secured vast access to communications data without serious challenge to date.

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    September 14, 2014

    Media in an independent Scotland

    Claire Enders set out the implications of a Yes vote in the Scottish independence referendum for the media available in Scotland. She critically examines the SNP's plans for a Scottish media, and argues that Scotland's small population would make an independent media hard to sustain. When the effect of a nationalist 'nation-building' project is factored in too, the overall results would be serious costs to the quality of democracy Scots enjoy.

  • December 19, 2013

    2013 round up and topics for next year

    2013 has seen yet another year of strong growth in consumer adoption of mobile devices and screens adding to the challenges facing traditional media. Press and radio have long been affected, but television is now starting to feel the heat. BT and Sky's contest for premium pay-TV sports rights has intensified. August saw the launch of BT Sport, while BT's acquisition of the European football rights in November was a clear statement of intent, spending half of Channel 4's total programming budget on approx. 200 hours of content. The UK has seen buoyant advertising growth of around 4% in 2013, with similar growth expected in 2014, in the context of the strongest economic recovery in Europe.

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    October 20, 2013

    Leveson and the Royal Charter: playing for time

    On 30 October, two days after criminal trials for alleged phone hacking begin, the Privy Council will finally seal a Royal Charter to set up regulation of the press. The end of this drawn-out process might be thought near. Several major publishers are planning to boycott the system by setting up their own regulator, which will not meet the Charter's standards. In recent days, Conservative ministers have said the press is ‘free' to take that route. The Recognition Panel set up by Parliament's Royal Charter may not report on the system's success or (more likely) failure until the autumn after the 2015 election. Whether to have a showdown with publishers who reject the Royal Charter is a decision being put off by everyone.

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    October 15, 2013

    Press advertising – turning the page

    Press display advertising fell 10% in 2012, and we forecast a slower decline this year (about 7%), as press benefits from the deluge of telecoms advertiser spend and the ongoing commitment of retailers to national newspapers and fashion and beauty brands to leading magazine. But structural factors are gathering pace relentlessly: circulation decline is accelerating in some categories and rate cards remain under pressure. Some smaller newspapers and poorly differentiated magazines face the possibility of an existential crisis in the next five years. Publishers able to embrace creative marketing solutions from an integrated digital and print platform will stimulate a more sustainable model in the medium term – but this requires a more radical rethink than is commonly assumed.

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    February 28, 2013

    Global Radio and the GMG radio purchase

    The Competition Commission has provisionally decided that local (but not national) advertisers will suffer if the Global/GMG radio merger is passed and its suggested remedies are for Global to divest stations outside London and the West Midlands or simply unravel the whole transaction. If these provisional findings are confirmed in May 2013, Global will find itself in the unenviable position of looking for a purchaser or more of radio assets, since the transaction was finalised in June 2012. Although the Competition Commission is likely to prefer a single buyer of the portfolio to minimize the purchaser's risk, it may be content with a carve up of the GMG stations, in which case we see Bauer Media as being a strong contender for stations out-with its current footprint.

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    December 20, 2012

    The Leveson Report: entering the mire

    On 29 November, the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press finally issued its report. Its verdicts on the conduct of the press, politicians and police were less severe than expected. The three main political parties have accepted most of the report's recommendations, but have disagreed over the use of statute. As expected, the Conservatives are against, while Labour and the Lib Dems are in favour. Subsequent cross-party talks and negotiations between editors have so far failed to produce agreement, with the process only becoming more opaque as time goes on. The shape of the future regulatory system remains uncertain.

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    October 18, 2012

    AutoTrader and auto classified outlook

    The third of our four reports on specialist advertising focuses on the automotive sector and AutoTrader's role at the heart of the dealer ecosystem. The used car market has been remarkably resilient in recent years, but as with many classified categories the core trend in digital is diversification to a suite of services from a core listings model. AutoTrader's owners Apax Partners and Guardian Media Group will of course be considering their options in terms of an exit from their investment.

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    March 9, 2012

    Print media outlook: make the most of 2012

    We forecast print media advertising will be down by about 4% in 2012, with national newspaper display roughly flat, performances we envisage will be seen as a temporary reprieve once the substantially tougher 2013 that we expect to follow is underway. Print media is not out of the structural woods, and even relatively small revenue contraction will amplify pain as the opportunities for further streamlining fixed-cost physical distribution operations are realistically diminishing. Digital is a greater challenge for paper than for screen media, as consumer and advertiser demand continues to weaken, yet publishers struggle to generate the killer service solution to stimulate scale revenue online.
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    November 24, 2011

    Zoopla’s merger with the Digital Property Group: implicatio [...]

    Zoopla and The Digital Property Group, DMGT's property portfolio which includes Findaproperty, Primelocation and Globrix, announced a merger on 14 October 2011. Under the terms of the proposed merger, DMGT would receive a 55% interest in the merged entity. A merged Zoopla and DPG will compete more effectively with market leader Rightmove, in a property market scaled down by one-third in terms of the number of transactions. We think the merger will give advertisers a better choice and constrain Rightmove's pricing power, which has seen hefty fee increases on members, most recently in 2010, in 2011 and most recently again in November 2011.

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    October 18, 2011

    National newspaper ABCs, September 2011

    National newspaper circulation continued its inexorable decline in September, with daily circulation down 7% year-on-year, although we estimate retail sales value decline was marginal. Sunday popular and mid-market newspaper circulation fell 4% month-on-month, as News of the World buyers continue to drop out of the market; we estimate around a third of ex-readers have not migrated to another title. Publishers are responding to circulation decline in a variety of ways, from churning out bulks to maintain scale, to increasing cover prices, axing international editions and developing their subscriber base.

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    October 5, 2011

    Competitive pressures on the press: presentation to the Leveson I [...]

    In the context of his Inquiry, Lord Leveson invited Claire Enders, as “one of the UK's foremost media business analysts”, to kick off the seminar series on the 6 October with a synoptic presentation on “Competitive pressures on the press”. The Inquiry is interested in understanding the market economics of the mainstream media, including the impact of technology. This presentation brings together our existing work on the newspaper and consumer magazines industry, with an emphasis on the former, highlighting the challenges to the print media of the internet. A video transcript of Claire's presentation and the debate on the session's subject of “Competitive pressures on the press and the pressures on journalism”, may be accessed on the site of the Leveson inquiry, at www.levesoninquiry.org.uk

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    July 20, 2011

    The regulation of news

    The uncovering of criminal behaviour at one newspaper (so far) has led to a much broader review of how the press is regulated, seeking to put a stop to dishonest and unethical behaviour, legal or illegal, and touching on ownership, ethics and on the freedom of the press in general. However, much of investigative journalism relies on activities that are certainly dishonest and arguably open to prosecution: any new code and enforcement will need to rely on judgement and selectivity, not prescription. Statutory, compulsory, enforceable regulation of the press will risk running into the sand in a world in which casual chat between friends is viewable by millions on social networks and celebrity gossip is sent to pixel in Los Angeles or São Paulo, not Wapping.

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    December 3, 2010

    Newspapers: Good news, bad news

    National newspaper advertising revenues should be up 6-8% year-on-year in 2010, with ‘popular' titles in particular attracting display ads from national retailer brands. Local and regional press advertising revenues will fall by about 6% year-on-year, mainly on the continued decline of recruitment classifieds. Publishers are exploring more efficient printing, new digital models, and staking a claim on e-commerce.