Daily Archives: February 4, 2011

Hearst (National Magazines in the UK) pays €651m for Lagardère (Hachette Filipacchi in the UK) magazine business

UK National Magazines

After months of speculation Lagardère, the French conglomerate behind Hachette Filipacchi, best known for Elle magazine, has made a formal announcement that a firm cash offer of €651m (£559m) has been made from Hearst Corporation for Lagardère’s international magazine business.

The offer includes the sale of 102 titles, including UK known brands Red, Inside Soap, and Psychologies.

The deal also includes a Master License Agreement (MLA), which will enable Hearst to use the Elle trademark in these 15 countries.

The outcome in the UK sees Elle and Red housed alongside  Harper’s Bazaar and Cosmopolitan in the same publishing house and offers National Magazines a broader spectrum of women’s and fashion titles and pitched against Conde Nast’s premium fashion brand Vogue.

FOUR opinions…

From a media buyers point of view the takeover once again reduces the sales points and therefore has the potential to reduce competition – which is never good. Cross selling will be inevitable – given the circulation figures attributed to Harper’s Bazaar (118,535) versus the younger, but equally aspirational Elle (195,625).

But we also agree with Nicolas Colleridge that Vogue remains the number one brand in the top end market and any combination of other titles is still secondary but this won’t stop buyers trying to use the merger as leverage against the Conde Nast rate structure . In reality Conde Nast has ‘seen off’ would be ‘competitors’ in a very combatative market and we do not expect anything to change. However, the delicately manicured nails will be out in the next few months…

Perhaps the most important aspect of this activity is an acknowledgement of how tough it is out there for Publishing Houses of the ‘printed’ matter and further amalgamations cannot be ruled out as they seek cost-efficiencies in order to maintain their editorial ‘excellence’

What do you think about this take over? Please click here to share your thoughts.

Latest Google Insights – that concentrate the mind!

Global Trends

  • Worldwide internet traffic grew 62% in 2010. The regions experiencing the fastest year on year growth were Eastern Europe and India/South Asia.We at Four can’t help but observe how as this traffic grows it will continue to influence social/political change – witness the recent Yemen & Egypt unrest covered and perhaps exacerbated by internet connectivity

Internet Connected Devices

  • Worldwide ‘tablet’ sales are predicted to grow by more than 400% in the next 2 years; reaching 81.3 million units in 2012
  • Research shows that nearly 1 in 5 UK ‘tablet’ users (19%) has made an online purchases using the device
  • 350 million internet-enabled television sets are expected to be sold worldwide by 2015 – this perhaps, such a natural progression, will have massive implications for client’s marketing and advertising plans.


  • Apparently, more children globally can use a smartphone (19%) than can tie their own shoelaces (9%) – Four would love to see the research data for this amazing statistic!
  • It is estimated that the number of mobile broadband subscribers will hit 1 billion globally by the end of 2011 (up from 500 million in 2010) – the world is shrinking even further

Five things to keep you awake in 2011The Times

  1. What do I need to do about the iPad?
  2. What’s next for social media?
  3. How important is privacy?
  4. Will social media and TV become one?
  5. Are paywalls working?

And if you need some help getting off to sleep, click here to read the full article

HAVE YOUR SAY: Has i-pad hysteria hit your clients? Let us know here

Five things to keep you awake in 2011


Source: MediaWeek

1) What do I need to do about the iPad?

Despite the short time that the i-pad has been on the market, advertisers have rushed to take a piece of the action. However, working out how to exploit the new technology will be a key challenge for 2011.

Michael West of FOUR’s opinion

Personally, I am absolutely amazed regarding the consumer and media owner reaction to the iPad. Here is a concept which wasn’t “new” (several manufacturers had tried tablets but failed previously) and, when announced, it was initially met with some scepticism. Is it necessary? Too expensive? Who will use it? Why will they use it? Etc, But because it’s Apple and, as with anything Apple, they take an existing idea, design it better and make it cool (remember, Apple has never really invented anything, they just perfect).

When it launched, by golly did it take the market by storm (in Q4 alone, over 7 million were sold). Consequently, most major media owners have launched an iPad app (amazing really considering the time frame we are talking about). By autumn, big powerhouses like the FT and The Economist were even holding breakfast seminars discussing the effect of the iPad and how the media landscape will change as a result. Pretty impressive reception if you ask me.

The media landscape has been subject to some major changes due to technology previously- think radio, TV, internet and smart-phones. But I don’t think media owners have ever reacted quite this quickly to the introduction of a new technological addition. And it’s no wonder advertisers are trying milk the cow. Accurate measurement of usage is now the next challenge.

2) What’s next for social media?

Social media, principally Facebook, is a growing force to be reckoned with for advertisers. It has been suggested that people check Facebook as regularly as they check their emails.

There is money in Facebook (and Twitter and YouTube etc) but for the brands that are dedicating spend to social media strategies. The sites themselves might not see much of this money yet but sponsored conversations where “friends” and “followers” are passing on a branding message or blog links/videos is now worth $57 million globally. The figures aren’t frightening on a global scale but there aren’t many advertising segments set to grow by 26% in the coming year.  It’s a time for innovation and the likes of P&G have already run successful campaigns on Twitter with product promotion tweeted by a top celebrity (Kim Kardashian)

3) How important is privacy?

Targeted advertising is increasingly sophisticated and can help consumers find what they want, but it can make for the creation of an online ‘big brother’ experience, when your tastes are being second-guessed by the advertiser’s hidden hand. The question is will it curb peoples online habits? If you know that if you visit a lingerie site on your work computer and within minutes you are served lingerie ads on work or non related sites – will the potential embarrassment limit your surfing?

4) Will social media and TV become one?

It is continually commented on how TV and social media go hand in hand; people updating status’ and engaging in online conversation whilst a TV show is running. The question will be when and how the two will merge into one viewing platform, perhaps through the introduction of internet enabled televisions (expected sales of 350 million worldwide by 2015). Four think in 2020 we will laugh at this question being asked as internet TV’s become the norm.

The introduction of Google TV in the first half of this year will make this a more recognised platform than it is currently. The software also allows for non-Internet TV’s to access the web through a set-top-box, making this option even easier for users to access. It has already opened new opportunities for advertisers within downloadable TV applications much like on smartphones and tablets. However, this could have an effect on TV advertising, as it only adds another distraction for users who might be inclined to turn away whilst viewing an ad break. Four believe ads on online are likely to become synchronised with TV activity – a real challenge for media owners and buyers!

5) Are paywalls working?

It’s still too early to say if online charging will work for mainstream publications such as The Times, given how much free competition is out there. Forecasters are predicting that “Low nutrition content will continue to explode across the web but quality journalism, business insight, financial advice and niche publications will be gradually disappear behind walled corners of the web”. But publishers need patience and deep pockets for this to become the norm

Want to have your say? Email us your thoughts!