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  • January 16, 2018

    Stitch Fix IPO: profits are back in style

    Subscription fashion retailer Stitch Fix has gone public, revealing a rare example of a new, private, technology-based company capable of making a profit. Stitch Fix relies on the ‘mixed intelligence’ of algorithms and human stylists to offer its customers a curated fashion “Fix” of clothing and accessories, aiming to cut through some of the chaos of ecommerce. Though Stitch Fix’s success is not guaranteed, there is much to be learned from its approach of focusing on building a solid business and generating positive earnings early, rather than growing users at any cost
  • December 21, 2017

    Recruitment classified marketplace: Tech giants eye up LinkedIn [...]

    A strong UK labour market, with record low unemployment but historically high vacancies, has supported growth in the recruitment industry, though trends may be peaking as we reach unknown territory. These trends play out in the recruitment market before they become apparent in the labour market.Despite the fragmentation of the online recruitment listings marketplace, Indeed is well-placed to dominate this space due to its increased scale and aggressive investment strategy. Both Google and Facebook have announced their intention to move into the recruitment listings sphere, which may have consequences not only for classified expenditure but further up the value chain with the agency model. However, both giants have attempted to move into online classifieds before, with little demonstrable success.
  • December 21, 2017

    Vertical marketplaces overview and property classified outlook: E [...]

    The slowing UK economy since Q3 2016 has had a knock-on effect on the property and autos marketplaces underlying UK classified advertising revenues, with house prices slowing, transactions stabilising (instead of rising), and new car registrations down sharply in 2017 to date. Recruitment activity by agencies and employers has instead been dynamic as the UK nears full employment. Advertisers in these verticals continue to switch expenditure from print classifieds to internet portals and search, which offer superior lead generation, analytics, and user experience. Only in property do local newspapers still fulfill an important estate agency branding function for the local area, although declining readership is blunting this value to advertisers. Portal dominance comes at a price to advertisers in property, where Rightmove has resisted agent efforts to lessen dependence by listing on other brands, as well as in used autos, where Auto Trader has long reigned supreme. Recruitment is a more contested market for portals, reflecting the diverse and fragmented nature of the jobs market, but Indeed has a strong grip on the low-end, while LinkedIn remains unchallenged in social recruitment advertising
  • December 18, 2017

    UK online ad forecast 2017-2019: A grey digital market

    We estimate that UK online ad spend grew by 12.3% this year, with growth concentrated almost exclusively in mobile search and social in-feed advertising (particularly video), and mostly incremental to overall ad spend. Even after payments to publishers and distributors, Google and Facebook captured 80% of all net new spend in the market, and 96% of it flowed through their platforms. Despite improving standardisation and disclosure, the outstanding issues around measurement, the ad-tech supply chain, and particularly the obscure and growing Google/Facebook/Amazon segment, lead us to identify a large portion of digital advertising as a “grey market”: difficult to get a handle on, with uncertain beneficiaries and slippery definitions
  • October 26, 2017

    Supply of news in the UK

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    Since Communications Act 2003, the number of national news outlets supplied on broadcast and in print has been stable. Adoption of multi-channel TV, supported by Freeview, has augmented the number of homes accessing on a free-to-air basis five "all news" channels (BBC News, BBC Parliament, Sky News, CNN, Russia Today), with many more all news channels served on pay-TV platforms. Original news production has been transformed by digital tools and Twitter occupies the centre of the journalism ecosystem. Jobs devoted to news production are in recovery, although mask a decline in newspapers to the benefit of online mainly. Expansion of fixed-line broadband and, more recently, consumer adoption of mobile broadband and connected devices, have made the internet a platform for the supply of and consumption of all news services. Broadcasters serve eponymous text-based websites, all newspapers serve websites, and native news outlets have entered the market due to low barriers to entry. Prominent native brands in the political genre include Buzzfeed, HuffPost and Politico
  • Mounting risks to marketing effectiveness
    Mounting risks to marketing effectiveness
    October 20, 2017

    US ISPs hail the end of online privacy rules

    The Federal Communications Commission’s Privacy Order (FCC) was overturned by the Senate, clearing the way for ISPs to ramp up consumer data-driven advertising revenue. While Google and Facebook dominate digital advertising in the US as in other markets, the US is alone in removing regulatory barriers to ISPs taking a piece of the pie. US ISPs now have a self-regulatory regime for consumer rights on transparency, security and data breaches; but in the UK and EU, privacy advocates prefer enforceable rights
  • October 16, 2017

    Consumer Magazine Publishing Part Two: The Power of Brands and In [...]

    In a challenging digital marketplace, publishers face a crisis of purpose. To navigate the turbulent seas, publishers must invest more in their brands and the industry as a whole must innovate. Consumer engagement, previously held by magazines, has sailed to social media where young influencers across Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat challenge established norms of content discovery and curation. Magazines are more heterogeneous than is commonly assumed, and strength lies in a distinctive brand. To right the course, we recommend the industry carry out bespoke reviews that outline brand-specific audiences, use-cases and revenue solutions, and exploit systematic audience data to optimise all brand manifestations - with enhanced marketing income a secondary benefit.

  • August 28, 2017

    Voicing concerns: virtual assistants and the media

    Voice, and the smart virtual assistants that power voice interfaces, will be a key transformative force over the next five years. Any business providing content or services via digital means is potentially affected, as these virtual assistants promise a single front end for all digital services, representing an extraordinary concentration of control over discovery, delivery and data. Media businesses will clearly be affected. But there is an opportunity for them right now to influence the assistant providers to their advantage, a window that will not stay open forever
  • August 25, 2017

    The 5G Evolution, Part 2 – Standards, Deployment and Challenges

    The 5G era will soon be upon us, with key stakeholders in developed countries progressing well towards commercial deployment in the early 2020s. Key challenges such as spectrum management and privacy and security will need to be addressed to ensure 5G successful implementation.
  • August 23, 2017

    ACMA review of the NBN and RSPs – it takes three to tango!

    As the number of consumers migrating to the NBN has increased, there has been a significant increase in consumer complaints. The Government has ordered the Australian Communications and Media Authority to investigate the issues and how those issues can be avoided or resolved.
  • August 4, 2017

    Facebook video: escaping the News Feed

    Facebook video consumption - and video ad revenue - is still concentrated on the mobile News Feed, limiting engagement growth and appeal to brand advertisers in the interim period before VR and AR go mainstream. Features like a dedicated video hub and ad breaks have seen limited deployment, likely as a result of lukewarm user reception, but Instagram Stories holds promise. To attract long-form viewing Facebook is cautiously investing in original TV content and sports rights, but is late to the game over audiences on connected TVs
  • July 24, 2017

    SME marketing: a local and global battleground

    Accelerating print advertising declines in 2016 are placing pressure on local newspaper publishers to deliver faster online growth. However, digital growth is being supported yet compressed by Google and Facebook; we estimate SME expenditure on Google is roughly 2x the local press, and we expect SME spend with Facebook to match local newspaper advertising revenues in two to three years. Publishers need to grow consumer registrations and subscriptions, digital display and also digital marketing services, in partnerships with the tech giants – but first they have to convince consumers they have relevant use-cases that global platforms cannot replicate
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  • July 20, 2017

    Facebook’s charm offensive is over – at least as we k [...]

    The big blue giant is losing its allure with Australians, media companies and news publishers alike. What scenarios will we see play out as Facebook seeks to draw users back in to secure its advertising revenue?. The fight over content rights: are we beginning to see news agencies take the power back?

  • July 12, 2017

    Cometh the hour for the commercial PSBs

    The first half of 2017 has seen the announced departure of three CEOs from the commercial PSBs within the space of less than two months: David Abraham of Channel 4 (14th March), Rob Woodward of STV (25th April) and lastly Adam Crozier of ITV (3rd May). Responding to the challenges of digital switchover and the advertising recession of 2008/09, as well as their own specific company issues, one of the first tasks for all three CEOs has been to raise staff morale. The last seven to ten years may have been taxing at times. The next seven to ten promise to be no easier, and may yet be harder, as the successor CEOs chart their way through the continuing transformation of the UK digital landscape

  • 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

  • June 29, 2017

    The map is now the territory

    We are in the midst of a rapid change in how maps are made and used, from a world of cartographers making records of physical features to sell to consumers and businesses, to one where information about the world is automatically tracked and measured, and built into every service we use. A whole host of industries traditionally unconcerned with geography are being and will be transformed by maps and location, from retail and advertising to finance and insurance. Every business needs to know what maps can offer them. A variety of maps suppliers are jostling for position in serving this growing need: local or international, free or commercial, seeing mapping as a core or side-business. Different suppliers suit different requirements.

  • June 27, 2017

    UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends Q1 2017: Profit warning [...]

    UK residential communications market revenue growth dipped modestly to 2.7% in Q1, from 3.3% in the previous quarter. This was mainly driven by ARPU weakness arising due to the timings of Sky and Virgin Media’s price rises, but weakness also stemmed from the sustained decline in broadband volume growth and continued new customer price competition.Looking forward, the implementation of an overlapping price increase from BT, as well as Sky’s price increases coming into full effect, should boost market revenues by around 1ppt in Q2 2017, but this will drop away again by Q3. The churn fallout from the communication of these price increases should also dissipate in Q2, benefiting BT and Sky competitively, and making it challenging for TalkTalk to repeat the feat of recovering to positive retail broadband net adds

  • June 23, 2017

    How to sell games: borrowing ideas from Netflix and Apple

    A Netflix-like subscription model for console based video gaming is a big step closer with Microsoft launching a clear and easy Xbox subscription game solution, and it may even work. Sony’s strategy for premium online services across all its businesses remains muddled and complicated, but could be fixed quickly: dropping game streaming is the first step, providing a lower cost subscription service is the second. Google’s admission that more curation in its games app store will be needed finally indicates a better understanding of the games industry, in parallel with the company’s efforts to win over other creative industries

  • June 10, 2017

    BT Q4 2016/17 results: Mobile strength, pressure elsewhere

    BT had a reasonable quarter in its consumer broadband business given market pressures, and a very strong one at EE with continued growth acceleration. It had a good quarter for fibre adoption as well, helping its wholesale divisions stabilise their revenue, but business/IT was weak as expected.Regulatory pressure remains intense despite the (welcome) Openreach agreement, with price cap regulation proposed or due on a range of products, and a regulatory approach which is far from investment-orientated. Pressures in the business/IT market are likely to continue, and pressures in the consumer broadband market are likely to intensify, justifying BT’s current cautious approach to guidance and dividends.

  • June 9, 2017

    UK General Election online: news and advertising

    In contrast to print coverage, most shared news and opinion content on social media was decidedly pro-Labour this election season, with fake news relatively non-existent compared to the US election in November. Facebook’s role in news distribution has steadily grown and now rivals Google’s, but only a half of the UK’s electorate are active users – for the platform to become decisive in political news would require much stronger turnout among young voters. Facebook was the chief digital ad platform for both main parties, with Conservatives targeting Labour seats, Labour defending them and both adopting a negative tone.

  • June 8, 2017

    Nintendo Switching to a new console era

    The successful launch of the Nintendo Switch creates a new console model, and demonstrates the staying power and long term value of great franchises. Microsoft reveals the specification for Scorpio, but it won’t be enough to catch up to Sony. New franchises, and probably new leadership, will be the key to stopping Xbox sliding into irrelevance outside North America. Sony’s PlayStation 4 now exceeds 60m units worldwide, allowing Sony more freedom to publish a wide range of challenging creative console games, while VR games continue to gain momentum.

  • Mounting risks to marketing effectiveness
    Mounting risks to marketing effectiveness
    May 19, 2017

    Mounting risks to marketing effectiveness

    A partial — if seductively persuasive and impressive — data framework for online advertising combined with short-term incentives have encouraged a dramatic shift in the ratio of brand to activation advertising from 60:40 to 50:50, depressing the pricing of display media. Mounting evidence suggests a focus on quick returns and cheap media at all costs is hurting marketing effectiveness, measured in long-term Return-on-Investment, brand equity and consumer satisfaction. Guarding against this risk requires brand-focused advertisers to create more space for long-term judgement for CMOs, and to refocus agency remuneration towards planning and creative work.

  • March 29, 2017

    SXSW Conference: Deep Machine Learning takes centre stage

    Deep Machine Learning was awarded the Breakout Trend at the 2017 SXSW Conference. We take a deeper look into what this could mean for the future of digital, whilst exploring the other technology on offer at the event.
  • March 24, 2017

    The Future of Wi-Fi – Applications and Revenue Opportunities

    Two decades after its introduction, Wi-Fi continues to improve and innovate the way we wirelessly connect devices and access the Internet. These improvements will lead to new and emerging markets and applications for Wi-Fi, which in turn will provide new revenue opportunities for carriers and operators.