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Win, win, who will win? Pay or free to view? June 25, 2010

Posted by kewroad in 2010 predictions, Journalism, new media, Online Reputation, print media.
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The great paywall debate in the publishing industry continues to rage.  With the Sunday Times and The Times now taking out full page advertising to promote News International’s new pay wall scheme, the Daily Telegraph and others are also taking a stance.  According to Beehivecity, The Daily Telegraph is now running London Underground adverts along the lines of :

‘Award winning journalism, free at the dailytelegraph.co.uk.  Sometimes you get what you don’t pay for.’


‘Quality journalism should challenge your mind not your pocket.’

This is possibly the first time that the Daily Telegraph is taking a clear stance that it does not believe paywalls are the right way to go and that newspaper content should be free.

There are clearly two camps evolving.   The FT sits with The Times on the far side of the paywall debate, while both The Guardian and The Daily Mail are committed to it being free and easy for all.  And with all BBC content free – that’s quite a strong ‘free’ force.

News International is charging readers £2 a week to access The Times and The Sunday Times online, the price of one copy of the Sunday newspaper.  I’ve just subscribed to the limited free version and  there is loads of interesting content in there that I would probably be quite happy to pay for it especially if it’s the same price as one copy of the Sunday newspaper.

On the free-side argument, the Guardian generates £27m of online advertising revenue which rises to £38m with dating site. Total turnover last year for Guardian News Ltd was £253m. So the advertising revenue more than makes up for lost subscription revenue.

And with the Evening Standard’s free edition going profitable this month for the first time and solely relying on advertising revenues, is this possibly yet more proof that long-term people won’t pay?

While the publishing industry works all this out, people still need to get used to going online for their news and information – no doubt the iPad will help do that.

Ultimately, may be the industry will end up with a mix of both – sometimes consumers pay, sometimes they don’t.  Whatever happens between pay and free-to-view models, the future business model of a medium that is nearly 500 years old will change forever.


Death of the ad? June 14, 2010

Posted by kewroad in 2010 predictions, conversational PR, pr, print media.
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I was reading an interesting article over the weekend on Social Media Today that weighs up the importance of social media versus advertising and discusses whether advertising is a dying game.

Over the pond, The Institute for Advertising Ethics was set up last week and, with it, hope that advertising will be turned around to get consumers back on side. By that I mean no more meaningless adverts, empty promises, half-commitments – there’s still a real opportunity around the globe for marketers to start engaging with their audiences through meaningful adverts that are relevant, current and thought-provoking.

I agree with the article’s author, Jonathan Salem Baskin, in so far as adverts have begun to be regarded or labeled as ‘bad’. We see it as an opportunity for brands to broadcast their messages to anyone looking in that direction with no or little engagement – something that social media definitely has the upper hand on with its real-time ability to evoke a two way conversation on a subject.

But, having been an advertising professional myself for several years, I’m encouraged to hear that there is still hope for ads if the industry is willing to stay open minded and, ultimately, reform to meet the current market’s expectations of what a brand should be doing. I genuinely believe that traditional methods of above the line marketing including advertising can definitely complement below the line activities. After all, a well thought-out integrated through the line campaign surely has to have a stronger impact than just elements of social media outreach and some full page ads at the back of a magazine?

Time will only tell on this one. But I think we’d be making a mistake to dismiss traditional methods of marketing too quickly. Social media is indeed the way forward for most brands but, if we as PRO’s stay open minded enough, we should be working with marketers to ensure that the brand’s best interests are the priority. And that we really are engaging with consumers in the most appropriate way, not just the way the industry is moving at that point in time.

100 years of international women’s day March 12, 2010

Posted by kewroad in 2010 predictions, Uncategorized, women.
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I thought the Daily Mirror actually had one of the best features on 100 years of international women’s day – edited by Sarah Brown. It profiled some great women like Joan Bakewell as well as celebrating the lives of ordinary women and what they’ve achieved.

It was also interesting and made a refreshing change that Question Time featured an all female audience. Unfortunately, this type of all female activity is needed because women are still not equal. Pay is not equal across the board, very few women make the boardroom and in the House of Commons there are only 126 female MPs out of a total of 646.

Rainy Barcelona, but good spirits in MWC itself February 22, 2010

Posted by kewroad in 2010 predictions, blogs, Broadband, Google, information technology, internet, ISP, IT, Microsoft, mobile, pr, social networks, Uncategorized, Windows 7, YouTube.
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So I’ve survived my 7th Mobile World Congress (my first rainy one, oh where was the lovely Barcelona sunshine when I needed it?) and it’s great to hear from many of the exhibitors that they had a much better Congress than last year and many talked of an emergence from the recession.

However, whilst there is some nostalgia over the heady days of the late 80s early 90s when glitz, glamour and entertainment on big ships and yachts were the order of the day, it’s good to know that those days will never come back (And by the way, how refreshing to see only a few stands resorting to scantily clad young girls for overweight middle aged business men old enough to be their fathers to drool over!)  Poor girls.

What’s perhaps good about coming out of a boom and almost bust time is that everyone is humbler, less arrogant, more keen to be ‘open’ and work together than before.  Ultimately, this has to be good for the customer.  More than any other show perhaps, there were more partnerships announced, more talk of openness and the ability to work together.

Two of the biggest pieces of news were around Microsoft and Google.  Undoubtedly there was a lot of buzz around Steve Ballmer’s press conference on Windows 7 to be released in time for the Christmas period.  His appearance emphasises the importance in this market.  Google unveiling its new mantra ‘Mobile First’ also captured the imagination of The Daily who gave it front page news.  Companies such as Google are fundamentally changing the mobile business and the established operators and equipment vendors need to understand how to work and more importantly compete with these new players.

Many at the show talked about the fact that with the explosion of mobile broadband, cloud computing and smart-phones, the technology is now fast becoming a reality for consumers to engage with brands, multimedia, social networking sites and applications.  Users can now check Facebook, watch YouTube, surf the web, download slide presentations and apps wherever they are, just by pressing a couple of buttons on their handset key pad or touchscreen.  

It’s undoubtedly an exciting time in which we live and reminds me of the PC explosion of the early 80s and the internet boom of the early 90s.


Mobile internet likely to outstrip the desktop February 8, 2010

Posted by kewroad in 2010 predictions, conversational PR, information technology, internet, mobile, pr, Uncategorized.
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There is almost too much to blog about this week. Business Week  covered why are there not enough women at the top of IT companies, hmmm now let’s see – might it be because most need/want to juggle work and family and large IT brands just simply don’t have cultures that enable that to happen at board level?  Then, of course, there was  Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun’s resignation over Twitter. Given he was one of the first CEO’s to truly ‘get’ that blogging and other social media tools were a way of communicating directly with customers and sharing views about new products,  a resignation over Twitter seemed very appropriate.

However, perhaps what’s most exciting just simply because it’s about future trends is a Morgan Stanley report shared by Brian Solis which suggests that the mobile internet market will eclipse destop internet…sounds crazy but then it’s backed up by lots of strong statistics.  Apple provides marketeers with the ability to mine an entirely new channel to reach prospects and customers. Morgan Stanley also predicts that smartphones will out ship the global notebooks and netbook market as well as out shipping the global PC market.  Morgan Stanley sees three platforms demonstrating strong momentum – facebook, mobile and the web. It’ll be interesting to see what transpires over the coming years.