Monthly Archives: January 2013

Local World To Herald the Comeback of Local Print Media?

Local World is a new company striving to rejuvenate the regional media industry.  The company is headed by former chief executive of the Mirror Group and former editor of the News of the World, David Montgomery and brings together the regional media offerings of a number of the key regional players in the UK market.

Regional Media Regulatory Threat

Source: meaningful-brands.co.uk

Northcliffe Media (the regional publishing arm of the Daily Mail and General Trust) and Iliffe News & Media (part of Yattendon) are two of the major shareholders in the organisation, with a range of venture capitalists also investing significantly in the body.  The media entities bring with them their vast regional media portfolios, totalling 107 print titles, such as the Hull Daily Mail, Cambridge News and Leicester Mercury with a combined weekly readership of 6 million and a number of online portals.

The company’s main aim is to start the ‘fightback’ of the regional newspaper industry, whose average readership has tended to be on the slightly older and slightly less affluent side, over 50s and C-E social grading (TGI, Q1 2013).  Their intention is to reinvigorate this audience and attract new readers and users.  To do so they will develop the multi media offering of these local titles, expand in digital and mobile, while making moves in to areas such as local directories, an aspect of the market that they believe there is no reason for companies such as Google to be dominating.

The battle plan is to recapture the attention of national media planners whose interests have moved to national and televised media with falling cost per thousands in these areas.  Local World maintain that local media still offers a great amount and by centralising the media process, maintaining localised editorial coverage and offering expanded digital platforms, they believe planners will be drawn back to the idea of the local.

The Daily Mail attempted to off-load their regional media in 2005 for £1.5 billion, so confident were they that they could achieve this they turned down bids exceeding £1 billion but not meeting their valuation.  However it is a sign of the times and the fall from grace that regional media has endured that when Local World had Northcliffe’s media valued in preparation for their bid for the titles, it was just £150 mil.

However, the fresh approach and new energy behind Local World is good news for the regional media industry and the centralising of the media processes will ensure that planning with these titles will be greatly simplified and offer a more attractive option.

The fact also remains that no matter how global the world becomes, people still spend significant amounts of their money and time in the areas close to where they live and maintain an interest in the goings-on in these areas.  Regional media, as such, can always be relevant and this is why there is concern within the industry about the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) decision to posthumously investigate Local World’s creation.

The OFT are looking into competition concerns with Local World’s creation and could keep the company in court hearings until 2014 if they decide to undergo a full investigation along with the Competition Commission.

The issue though comes down to a relatively simple question; do we wish to have a commercially viable regional press in the UK or do we want a self-defeating regulatory policy on competition,  leading to the closure of titles.  Diversity is important, but more important still is the survival of the regional media industry.

New Digital Showcase at Bluewater

An impressive digital showcase has recently launched at Bluewater shopping centre, bringing a new generation of digital advertising to the forefront of media.

Digital Advertising Bluewater

Source: thedrum.com

This new digital out of home platform features a 165 inch digital screen, capable of producing cinema quality ultra HD images. Further to this high tech screen, the new digital site offers a full screen surround wrap and the latest sound technology, in a bid to capture shoppers attention in every way.

Matt Gordon, the co-founder of Limited Space, who have signed a five year contract with Bluewater says that “the Bluewater Showcase screen is an innovative and cutting edge example of digital working alongside retail product allowing brands to further their communication with customers.”

If the sheer size of the screen was not enough, the new showcase site takes customer engagement to a new level as the site is fully interactive, offering customers the opportunity to use their smartphones to interact and respond to the creative. Luxury watch brand Citizen is the first to take advantage of Bluewater Showcase. Mark Robinson of Citizen comments “This unique new display and advertising platform provides Citizen with a true showcase to engage Bluewater shoppers… We were especially struck by the cinema screen quality and scale of the display Limited Space has created and its multipurpose nature. It’s the perfect window to display the Citizen brand in a top location for shopper footfall.”

This new showcase costs £10,500 (rate card) for two weeks, including production.

The Year Ahead

The New Year brought further predictions of gloom rather than boom, with most recent economic data telling a story of continued slow growth in 2013. The Financial Times recently reported that there are two main trends that have emerged in the shopping habits of the nation; the search for value, and the way that we shop, which is migrating to online. These trends are not dissimilar to forecasts for the media landscape in 2013, which it is predicted will also be technology driven and value seeking.

Digital Spending

Source: Four Media

There is no denying that digital has become an intrinsic part of our daily lives in the UK, influencing our routines, shopping habits and ever more prolifically, our media consumption. It is predicted that the number of UK households that own a tablet is likely to double to 10 million in the coming year, and with the advent of 4G mobile broadband, and the increasing integration of Internet-enabled TV, the pace at which our digital media consumption is evolving is impressive.

So what for media in 2013? Current advertising revenue forecasts range between 2.8% and 3.4% growth, and there is universal agreement that 2013 will see two major trends – digital media revenues will continue to outpace other channels (digital is the only media predicted to grow by double figures in 2013), and audiences will migrate to online platforms with the continued integration of mobile and internet.

This increasing transition to digital has seen a shift in how companies do business from a ‘this is how we do it’ mentality to ‘this is what we need to do’, with an emphasis on making things happen in the now. The transition from ‘what’ to ‘how’ can also be seen in the media landscape, with the benefits of a test-and-learn approach being seen across the board, with an increasing focus on digital in the media mix combined with careful understanding and management of risks. It is predicted that this year will be about starting small and learning quickly in order to capitalise on new opportunities in a rapidly evolving media environment.

Further, the point of transaction and engagement are becoming ever closer, with the year ahead forecast to be as much about data capture as engagement. The prevalence of measurable factual information will further aid in the development of targeting opportunities, meaning that communications can become more personalised than ever before.

The focus on measurability and accountability means that having the right capability in terms of analytics and insight will be essential for media agencies to give clients confidence that they will see returns on their media investment from the beginning.

Media agencies that combine a ‘be brave and learn quickly’ mentality with a thorough approach to measurement and analysis will have the opportunity to produce some impressive results in challenging times through innovative campaigns across a wide range of touch points.