Opinion | Features
- With 2015 set to be a year of blockbuster movies trailers are amassing millions of views. In this guest post Tyler Greer argues Hollywood is missing a trick by not attaching pre-roll ads to this premium shareable content. Star Wars and Mad Max. Unless you had something more important to do, and it’s difficult to think of what that might have been, you’ll have joined the collective inhale of breath as the trailers for these two 2015 film releases went live recently. The bad news is that both movies are still months away. The good news is that Jar Jar Binks doesn’t seem to be present in either. The two trailers are two of the hottest pieces of content on the planet – at last view having amassed more than 54 million views (YouTube only) between them with tens of millions of us taking part in a global phenomenon – watching, sharing and discussing. Despite this – and somewhat surprisingly - film studios are yet to have their own ‘awakening’ about the revenue generating potential of movie trailers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erLk59H86ww Currently seen solely as vehicles for driving box office sales down the track, along with other merchandise and licensing opportunities to follow, their wider and lucrative potential is being ignored. Digital platforms mean that movie trailers are now self-contained impactful, entertaining and highly sharable complete entertainment packages. With engagement being the new currency for marketers, what could be a more compelling, particularly in the case of the Star Wars and Mad Max trailers, which come with immense cultural baggage and represent genuine global moments? Studios therefore have the ability to leverage to their financial advantage; with two key things to think about here: Firstly, the decentralised ecosystem of video and content distribution means that Hollywood no longer needs the traditional channels it once did to promote its channels. What greater reach do we think that TV need now provide for the Star Wars release? This proposition brings with it the chance to save staggering sums otherwise devoted to marketing budgets. Yes, Star Wars is a franchise and they rarely require the sorts of money hurled at them that unknown titles do, but the savings on these established pieces are vast. The second aspect of this is that trailers now represent a genuine revenue stream for studios, one that is being ignored. Digital technology has in many ways been the nemesis of film studios, with illegal downloads robbing them (and I use that term deliberately) of income but digital technology also means that they are sitting on highly valuable content that is not being monetised. At least not yet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWNWi-ZWL3c What price would a major brand pay to be hard-coded onto the start of the Star Wars trailer with a 15 second pre-roll? So that no matter where it is viewed or how it is shared, there is that brand preceding it. Hard to estimate, but I think we can agree on “stacks”. This is the studio’s property, yet it is being used to drive views and collect ad dollars for video platforms, with no immediate return to those who produced it. Hollywood has the opportunity to redress this. Affixing brand ads to trailers gives a win to all parties. For brands it allows for the leveraging of the content-led zeitgeist that brings with it millions of eyeballs, the endorsement of shared and viral views, and the discussion that comes with this. And it gives Hollywood studies the chance to re-position trailers as the high value content with they are, and claw back some of the revenue lost thanks to this very medium. In a week, where digital technology is proving a major head-ache for at least one major studio, this could be welcome news. Tyler Greer is head of strategy APAC for Exponential
- It's been a year since Ed Harrison quit his role heading Fairfax Media's sales team to be CEO of Yahoo!7. As Harrison marks nine months in the role, he sits down with Nic Christensen to talk about where he sees the digital joint venture going. The last couple of years have been challenging for Yahoo!7. That might be why nine months into his role Ed Harrison, the third CEO of the digital joint venture between Yahoo! and Seven West Media in three years, wants to make it clear his approach is markedly different to his predecessors. "What we have acknowledge is that the focus back on the core of the business," he says. "The business went through a period where it was very focused on mergers and acquisitions and that gave it a very different outlook. "We are now at a point where I am very focused on the assets of both my shareholders. I want to extract as much value we can from those assets." Once a star within the Seven stable, particularly under previous CEO Rohan Lund, the company hit rough waters under his successor CEO Stuart Sayers in 2013 after some of the investments made in previous years such as group buying site Spreets - which cost the company a reported $40m - had to be wound back. Last year also saw Yahoo!7 give up its search war with Google throwing its lot in with the online behemoth, and more recently it also confirmed it would "retire" its much hyped social TV app Fango, choosing instead to integrate the social function into its video app Plus7. These issues have been reflected in the most important area for any listed company, the profit front. In 2013 there was a $61.5m writedown in the value of the company, while the latest Seven West Media financial results in August revealed digital assets, which include Yahoo!7 and online classified service Quokka - which does not fall under Harrison's remit - saw their earnings before interest and tax fall 37.7 per cent to $9.8m. But when asked about the state of the business he inherited Harrison doesn't criticise his predecessors, instead declaring: "We have absolute clarity. We are playing to an absolute core strength of one or both of our shareholders - we are not talking about going off on a journey that’s any different to that." Harrison's move from Fairfax to Yahoo!7 in late 2013 caused a stir in market not just because the sales boss was defecting but also because his well regarded second in command Paul Sigaloff moved at the same time, although the pair insist that was coincidental. After finishing his gardening leave in April, Harrison also commenced a hiring spree building a senior team that took some of Australia's top digital talent from not only rival publishers but also agencyland. [caption id="attachment_232627" align="alignright" width="81"] Markey[/caption] [caption id="attachment_247564" align="alignright" width="100"] Baskaran[/caption] When asked about the hiring spree, which has seen the likes of News Corp's Anne Markey, the ABC's Arul Baskaran and Mindshare digital guru Ciaran Norris join the company, Harrison gives a wry smile and declares: "That has been part of the refresh and revitalisation of the business - a bit of new thinking and new ways of doing things. "I have in my management team a brilliant balance of the old and the new. A group of people who have been with the business for some time and then you have a new crowd and I think that will be a brilliant combination." When asked about the strategy that he and the team will execute Harrison is clear that its new push into native advertising, digital magazines and new products such as a new news digest, that will be rolled out next year, will be key areas of new revenue growth. However, Harrison is also aware that its video revenue through the Plus7 website, app and HbbTV service will also be key to its future and he is working on how to grow its video inventory amid the ongoing Australian market shortage. "Plus7 has been enormously successful. Across all our video we are doing nine million streams a month in total, which is very substantial," he said. "Five million of those are long form and it is clearly the more valuable part, but frankly we can’t get enough. "There is that shortage so we are working very hard to generate supply in this area." [caption id="attachment_234606" align="alignright" width="234"] Dickens[/caption] Key to the growth is also ensuring parent company Seven keeps growing its video content and Harrison argue the appointment of Clive Dickens as Seven's chief digital officer will be a help there. "We are making sure we are optimising all of the content flow out of Seven into Yahoo!7," says Harrison. "To have an individual like Clive will be great. Clearly Seven needs to be thinking digitally and operating digitally and we need people around the business to be operating in the digital space. "For us we need their talent blogging, their producers thinking about digital content when they create broadcasts, we need their sales guys working even more closely with us on combine cross platform solutions. "All of that is happening but we need to accelerate that and we can only do that if there is a deep understanding of digital in that organisation." While Harrison is open about his broader strategy and most of the areas where he sees growth opportunities, there is one topic - Yahoo!'s social platform Tumblr - where the digital CEO plays his cards closer to his chest. Tumblr claims around 3m users in Australia, a number that puts it slightly ahead of the estimated 2.8m on Twitter. Nielsen data notes that half of Tumblr's Australian audience are aged 18-34, a demographic which is also highly attractive to advertisers. "It's an interesting one because it already exists in market," concedes Harrison, "but explaining it (and its value to marketers/media buyers) is the piece that we need to figure out. "What we know is that we have this enormous footprint already, even by global comparisons, we have a large number of users here and it is a younger audience. "We are still forming plans around that, understanding how it has played out in the US and the UK. What we do know is a huge number of the world’s top brands are now using Tumblr - they have a Tumblr and they are now spending on Tumblr." Asked if there are plans to monetise the platform here in Australia, Harrison is more coy but notes: "What we do know is there is an enormous appetite from advertisers and agencies to know more about Tumblr and we will capitalise on that." On other questions Harrison is more firm. Asked about his views Yahoo!7's refusal to join the APEX mobile exchange, an initiative he helped drive while at Fairfax, the CEO says it was a question of economics. "Yahoo!7 is not staying out through any principled objection to it," he explains. "It is entirely because of the economics of the business here and the technologies that we run on mean we have got a better solution in our own right. That is why we have not participated." Similarly Harrison stands by previous comments that his digital joint venture is better off not following the lead of rival Mi9, which last year saw its TV shareholder Nine buy out tech shareholder Microsoft. "Yahoo! is a very different business to Microsoft to start off with. You can see with all the work we are doing you see where the benefit is and I get enormous support from both Seven and Yahoo!. "My remit is about how do we maximise their combined resources in this market. We are thinking a lot of about daily habits (of consumers). When you think about Yahoo!7 and what we offer it really does tap into those daily habits that exist across our portfolio. "Some of our brands are aligned closely with Seven and others with Yahoo!" Certainly the initial signs under Harrison are positive. In November's year on year Standard Media Index figures Yahoo!7 was the only major digital publisher, among Fairfax, News, Mi9 and MCN to post a growth in digital bookings, up 12.4 per cent to $66.6m. While the Harrison concedes there is still a long way to go his eyes are firmly on the goal posts. "Winning for me is having a group of people who are highly engaged in the work that they do. I want group of people who love the work that they do and want to be here for all the right reasons. "The other (sign) is about market share, we have set ourselves some very specific goals around audience and revenue share - nothing I’m prepared to share - but if you take our market share gains, we have made gain against our nearest competitors. That is a good starting point." Nic Christensen is deputy editor of Mumbrella.
- Programmatic. There are few buzzwords that have been thrown around with as much enthusiasm over the past few years. And there's a good reason - programmatic advertising has arguably changed the face of digital media buying more than any other technology. But how exactly does programmatic work, what impact is it really having, and is a programmatic robot going to steal your job? Nic Hodges explains.
A new layer between supply and demand
Programmatic media buying has created a whole new layer of technology in-between media buyers and publishers. In the olden days (sometime around 2011), a publisher would deal directly with a media buyer in order sell a specific number of ad impressions on behalf of a specific advertiser.
Programmatic platforms dis-intermediate this relationship, allowing the supply of inventory from publishers and the buying of impressions by agencies to be separated.
In the programmatic world, a publisher sees a new user arriving on their site, and sends a request for an ad (along with any data they may have on that user) to one or more programmatic platforms. The programmatic platform then sends back an ad based a set of rules including price and audience suitability. The most common type of programmatic - Real Time Bidding (RTB) - includes an auction for the space amongst multiple potential advertisers. Along the way, more detailed data provided by the advertiser, agency, or a third-party data broker may be used to improve targeting and effectiveness.
Between a user landing on a web page and an ad being displayed, around half a dozen separate technology and data providers are used to decide which ad to use, a process which takes less than 200 milliseconds.
Is programmatic just about decreasing costs?
Compared to media channels such as TV, radio and OOH, traditional digital display advertising is resource-intensive for publishers to sell, and for agencies to plan and buy. Reducing this inefficiency is one of the reasons programmatic was created.
Programmatic promises advertisers more efficient planning and buying of digital media - executed in the blink of an eye, rather than with a boozy lunch and a faxed insertion order. Programmatic arrived on the scene with the promise of creating cost savings for advertisers, and better margins for publishers, all by allowing algorithms to make the decisions instead of humans.
As programmatic trading has become more advanced and better understood, the benefits have moved beyond simply creating more efficient media planning and buying. The targeting capabilities of programmatic have become just one of the drawcards for advertisers - a recent eMarketer survey found advertisers are using programmatic to improve targeting, react in real time, to personalise ads, get to market faster, and to more effectively track the success of campaigns.
How big is programmatic going to be?
All of these benefits have resulted in programmatic experiencing unprecedented growth in the advertising world. The US has been at the forefront of this growth, allocating an estimated $10bn of digital spend this year to programmatic alone. That figure is predicted to double to $20bn by 2016.
Locally, Magna Global estimates that Australia will see 52 per cent of all display advertising being traded programmatically by 2017, while Mi9 reports up to 20 per cent of its inventory is now programmatic. Not a bad effort given Google's Doubleclick AdExchange - the first major programmatic display platform - only launched in 2010.
Whenever such growth occurs, there's almost always a loser, and in this case it's paid search. IAB data suggest that much of the incremental investment in programmatic display comes at the cost of traditional paid search advertising.
What's the downside?
Epic growth aside, programmatic is not without its challenges. The promised cost savings haven't necessarily appeared for advertisers, causing many to question the lack of transparency from the major agency groups - who all run their own programmatic DSP solutions for clients.
Quality of inventory is also a key challenge for advertisers who can no longer be assured that their ads will only be seen on the large publisher sites they traditionally bought. Combined with the growing issue of viewability and ad fraud, large brands are justifiably cautious of going all-in on programmatic.
The final challenge is actually managing and understanding the complexity and data involved in running effective programmatic campaigns. Recognising both the importance and complexity of programmatic has led many large advertisers such as American Express and P&G to look at shifting programmatic duties away from agencies, instead creating in-house teams to ensure learnings are kept within the business.
Are robots about to steal my job?
While programmatic does have its challenges, it's certainly not going away any time soon. While the growth in digital display will no doubt continue, the most exciting developments over the next year will be in programmatic platforms being applied to new channels such as radio, OOH, and TV.
Digital video is likely to be the next big growth area; predictions suggest around 40 per cent of digital video will be traded programmatically within two years. As is the general trend of the digital landscape today, much of that growth will be focused on mobile.
The good news is that robots aren't about to take all the jobs. Agencies are already beginning to shift from 'dumb programmatic' (simple set-and-forget, rule-based campaigns) and are looking at more intelligent and human-led ways to use programmatic, learning from results and optimising on the fly with new strategies and techniques.
These new strategies, additional channels such as OOH and TV, and the potential for programmatic to be applied to creative as well as media, all present big opportunities.
Beyond advertisers, programmatic is wide open for agencies and individuals who can learn and embrace what will undoubtedly be a term we'll continue to hear more and more over the next few years.
Nic Hodges is the founder of creative technology consultancy Blonde3
- Se also: Mumbo jumbo: Wearable tech
- Overall, Australia's media outlets did themselves proud in one of their most challenging days, argues Mumbrella's Tim Burrowes
In its 58 years, there will have been few days as tough for the Seven Network as yesterday.
Thrown into live programming moments after the Sydney siege began opposite its Martin Place studios, the network's team barely put a foot wrong in the rolling coverage which as I write has now been going for 24 hours. Even after having to evacuate its newsroom, Seven kept it together.
The first test came just 60 seconds into that broadcast.
Morning Show hosts Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies were on the air as armed police began to gather in the background of their shot.
It became clear they were dealing with a hostage situation of some sort right over the road from their studio.
My best guess is that somebody spoke into Emdur's ear and told him they could see a flag with Arabic writing on it. To say so on air would have immediately sent out a dog whistle that this was some kind of terrorist incident - and spread panic.
Emdur seemed to take the first of many responsible decisions by Australia's media that day.
"We're hearing that it appears to be..." And then he stopped himself. "We'll just wait for confirmation of what we're seeing there."
The pair then continued to report what they were seeing - and resisted the temptation to speculate. (Emdur has written a good piece about the moment here). They stuck with the word "gunman", not terrorist.
It was one of many judgement calls made by all of Australia's media outlets throughout the day, as the hostage taker attempted to use the media to get his demands to the public. Even after hostage videos appeared on social media after midnight they held off.
Like most viewers, I channel surfed, so everyone will have different perspectives on how the media did depending on what they watched and listened to.
From my perspective as a TV viewer, Seven and Nine both deserve great credit.
Former Sunday Telegraph editor Neil Breen added an experienced news voice to Nine's early coverage, while they also delivered solid national coverage throughout the evening. But I spent more time with Seven so am not as well placed to comment on Nine's achievements.
Because of their location, Seven faced all of the big tests. Despite having to evacuate the newsroom and switch control of the broadcast to Melbourne, the network continued to convey the facts and capture the horror and the drama even as they raced to set up an emergency newsroom in its nearby Jones Bay corporate headquarters.
By the time evening came, Mel Doyle was the trusted face anchoring Seven's coverage. She was calm and authoritative. Chris Reason, meanwhile was back in the eerily abandoned Seven newsroom with just a cameraman and - it later transpired - police sniper for company. It was compelling.
It was a big test of the networks' commitment and ability to cover news. Seven, Nine, Sky News and the ABC stayed with it. Ten had dropped its rolling coverage by late evening. It stayed off the air when the siege ended in the early hours of this morning.
It was painfully obvious that the deep cuts to Ten's news division this year had stretched it beyond breaking point. Its journalists and presenters did their best. And Ten improvised by bringing Studio 10 on air several hours earlier than scheduled this morning so they could at least have something on at breakfast time. Studio 10 got the tone right, from what I saw. I'm afraid I didn't watch enough of Sky News or ABC News 24 to give a fair assessment.
But it was a big lesson that the reason you invest in news is that you have enough resources to lean on in tough times.
Lisa Wilkinson proved a calm voice on Today this morning - although co-host Karl Stefanovic's non ratings period holiday absence felt obvious.
Over on Seven's Sunrise came a human moment this morning when presenter Natalie Barr - in the co-host chair because Samantha Armytage is also away - broke down when she learned that the identity of a victim was a friend of the network.
In Sydney, the only radio station to listen to yesterday was 2GB, as Ray Hadley put in a marathon 9am to 6pm shift. I was in a taxi on the fringes of the Sydney CBD as news broke. I asked the taxi driver to put on a talk station. He first went to 2UE. They were talking to callers about something else entirely. Like many others I suspect, my taxi driver switched to 2GB and Hadley, and didn't go back.
Hadley did a compelling job. He did make missteps including reporting arrests in Lakemba. And he made responsible decisions not to put hostages on the air when they called in. Indeed, his was the radio broadcast that the entire city listened to.
Just a couple of days ago, I was thinking to myself I would never again see the day where a newspaper felt compelled to publish a special daytime edition. Despite there being no business case for it (you wouldn't sell enough copies to cover the costs) - Sydney's Daily Telegraph went for it because it's what the readers expect. (Update: the editorial direction of the cover itself has been highly controversial in the 24 hours since)
And across the country this morning, News Corp's papers have done a string of extra editions to capture the end of the siege - a 3am edition of the Courier Mail in Brisbane; a 5am edition of the Daily Telegraph; and a 7am edition of the Herald Sun in Melbourne. The Adelaide Advertiser will publish an 11am edition.
Perhaps as a signal that Fairfax's priorities have swung from print to digital, there was no late edition of the Sydney Morning Herald. But readers certainly turned to smh.com.au. At one point yesterday afternoon, I noticed that 35,000 people were reading its live blog. (You can see more on web traffic to the major news sites via this link.)
Of course, in all the hours of broadcast time and columns of print, I'm sure things went wrong. But I saw on awful lot more that went right.
Yesterday showed most of Australia's media at its best.
- Tim Burrowes is content director of Mumbrella (declaration of interest: Seven, Nine and Ten all advertise with Mumbrella)
- Australian media academic Julie Posetti watched the coverage of the tragic Sydney siege break on Twitter late at night from Paris, where she is on secondment from the University of Wollongong as a Research Fellow with the World Association of News Publishers and the World Editors Forum. Here she discusses the way the drama was reported in a cross-posting from The Conversation. 1. How did you follow the drama as it developed? As the situation evolved, I engaged in discussion on Twitter with journalists reporting the hostage crisis. I also discussed events with other observers. Of course, these events no longer unfold in a local silo and neither does communication of those events rely exclusively on mainstream media reporters bound by traditional publication deadlines. This means that it’s possible to remotely observe local coverage in real-time. And it’s also possible to curate a rich news feed in the context of a developing crisis - one where media reports from individual journalists and their news brands intermingle with the observations of witnesses and official sources, such as police and emergency services. This shift also means that local coverage now unfolds instantly in an international context. This is a complex story – and one full of ethical risks and verification pitfalls. It also has the potential to do significant harm to Muslim Australians if it is mishandled, through the magnification of inaccurate information, prejudicial tropes and myths. While some journalists wrongly declared on Twitter – and later in print – that the flag being held up to the cafe window by a hostage was an Islamic State flag, others stated that they were holding back from revealing any details about the police operation and the hostage-taker’s demands, to avoid interfering with the police efforts. Sydney TV station Channel 7 was – with its offices situated opposite the scene and its cameras trained on the drama almost instantly it erupted – in a prime position to report on the siege before staff members were evacuated. And, despite elements of sensationalism and risky initial reportage of police manoeuvres, the comments I heard on an ABC radio stream from one of their reporters demonstrated proper professional caution. I was broadly impressed by the tone and content of Guardian Australia’s live blog and their fact-checking stories, along with those published by the Sydney Morning Herald and the ABC. Significantly, while other Australian newspaper websites appeared to be dormant as police stormed the scene of the siege overnight, the Guardian’s liveblog continued. But, Murdoch’s Daily Telegraph, which ran a wraparound prematurely identifying the hostage-taker as “IS” and containing other false information, represented a low point. [caption id="attachment_267919" align="aligncenter" width="468"] Sydney's Daily Telegraph published a special 2pm edition with a cover wrap[/caption] International news organisations reported that the hostage-taker was a known to police as a man who claims to be an Iranian cleric, reportedly currently on bail for being an accessory to the murder of his former wife and facing sexual assault charges. There is still no evidence he is a member of IS, nor that he is part of an organised plot. The fact that he is displaying an Islamic flag is certainly relevant, but it does not justify the Telegraph’s unverified and highly inflammatory headlines: “IS takes 13 hostages in city cafe siege: DEATH CULT CBD ATTACK”. 2. How important is it to avoid stereotypes in a story like this? It is vitally important to avoid stereotyping Muslims and focusing blame on diverse Muslim communities. Previous research I have undertaken on the impacts of media stereotyping of Muslim women in post-September 11 Australia, for example, revealed that such coverage increases the fear experienced by Muslim women, especially those who are identifiably Muslim because of their religious dress. This can cause them to withdraw – both physically and as participants in public debate. There is also evidence that inflammatory media coverage of Muslims gives “licence” to acts of violence and abuse directed at innocent members of the Muslim community, such as the message that circulated on social media from Take Back Australia urging people to head en masse to Lakemba (in Sydney’s south) which has one of Australia’s biggest mosques. 3. How has social media affected coverage of this story? One positive to emerge from this hostage crisis, and the problematic reporting of it, is the #illridewithyou hashtag. It’s currently the number one global trending topic on Twitter and it began with a user called @sirtessa offering to travel on public transport with identifiable Muslims who were too afraid to head home alone in the context of the siege. The initial offer of help was retweeted several hundred times and the hashtag became a forum for those expressing support and empathy for Muslims who were feeling targeted. According to Twitter Australia, 12 hours after the siege began, there were 90,000 tweets (or 260 per minute) referencing #illridewithyou. And the media is now reporting on this development in online solidarity as demonstrated during the 2011 London riots, social media platforms can be conduits for organising positive community responses - as well as having the potential to rapidly spread information and misinformation, and disrupt police actions. Social media both speeds up the coverage of a story such as this and risks magnifying inaccuracies. It allows journalists to interact directly with witnesses and official sources in real time, but it poses a significant problem for law enforcement as citizen reporters and witnesses gathering near the scene join mainstream media in sharing pictures, video and details of police manoeuvres in the midst of a delicate hostage crisis. Professional journalists and news crews may comply with police requests to avoid sharing such images and details, but it’s impossible to harness the crowd. The disruptive effect of social media has an impact on law enforcement – as well as media coverage of crisis situations. This story highlights the critical importance of verification and should also serve as a reminder of the need to pause to carefully consider ethics and social responsibilities even in the midst of a potent breaking story. Similarly, I would withhold the identities of hostages until police formally release the names. This is a breaking story, but a journalist’s right – and duty – to report it should be a matter of carefully weighed public interest, in which the right to know should be balanced by the need to avoid placing the hostages at increased risk, and causing unnecessary pain and suffering to their families. But, as I tweeted when the story broke and police began attempting to curtail media coverage, balancing the right to report in a democracy against state requests for co-operation in investigations and hostage rescue efforts is a conundrum for journalists and media organisations. The threat of censorship is real – and so is the need to avoid being a vessel for dangerous propaganda. But the ability to weigh ethical issues is a fundamental requirement for the practice of professional journalism. Julie Posetti is journalism lecturer at University of Wollongong. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. UPDATE: A paragraph in this story has been removed since publication to correct an inaccuracy. The paragraph originally said 2GB presenter Ray Hadley had spoken to the hostage taker. A statement from 2GB clarified that Hadley had conducted an off-air interview with a hostage.
The un-negotiated contract: Why the fight for access to data and information has never mattered moreThe media model has been rewritten in the past decade, but Chris Stephenson asks should the industry do more to make sure the consumer is on board with it. At some point in the last decade a long-established contract between people, media and brands fundamentally changed. What is gradually and incrementally replacing it is an un-negotiated contract – in which information is the new currency, insights and utility are the new value, and the fight for the control of data -whether you realise it or not – is one in which you are already engaged. The nature of the contract we’re currently negotiating will have huge implications for consumers, brands, media businesses and governments. Whether its the strategies employed by brands, the deals made in market, or the data that’s shared with our governments – how this emerging contract nets out will affect us all, and is already shaping the industry around us. The broadcast interruption model that emerged in the 1950s was a ruthlessly effective and potent means of value exchange. Everyone involved (which was everyone) won. It was ruthlessly simple – brands gave broadcast media dollars which paid for content that people viewed, and which brands interrupted to get people’s attention. The model was so awesome that it even accommodated channel-neutrality – it worked as well for print and radio as it did for TV, but at some point in the last decade this ruthlessly simple and effective model started to break down. Fragmentation of channels led to fragmented viewing and audiences – necessitating more investment by brands to reach the same number of people. Set-top and on-demand technologies allowed viewers to skip brand messages (although the evidence is that this was largely off-set by higher viewing in PVR households), the internet changed, well, everything … and a new generation of media businesses and brands emerged that weren’t dependent on the broadcast interruption model – or more specifically the currency that drove it. Because what sat at the heart of that model and the old established contract – its currency – was the ad. Adverts were what media organisations sold, what brands placed and what viewers watched. They were the centre of the contract’s gravity – so much so that the very concept of advertising became synonymous and interchangeable with its most predominant vehicle … the advert. What has tacitly emerged over the last decade has been a fundamental reworking of the relationships between the various participants in the deal – to the extent that I now think we’re working with something that looks more like this: The emergence of new media businesses built on data – rather than broadcast ad interruption – is one of the key drivers of this new as yet un-negotiated contract. Google, Facebook, Twitter are of course the obvious examples but so too are companies like Amazon and Ebay – they revenue-generate based on the data they accumulate, and the insight this subsequently generates for advertisers. Ads are still of course part of the equation but they are no longer the point of the model … rather information is. Better information allows and enables brands to have better contacts and connections with people … something Will Collin discussed on Mumbrella back in October in a brilliant piece that made the case for a focus on reciprocity in how brands engage people – I’ve called it utility above but the point is the same. It’s about how data and information fuel better brand ideas – ideas that are not only increasingly necessary in our fragmented cluttered world, but which are also proven to generate disproportionate ROI versus optimisation of the channel plan. So far so nice theory, but so what? Well, what this affords us is a framework to understand the various terms of engagement being played on in what will probably be come to be understood as the data wars. Early skirmishes and alliances in an emerging contract based not on ads, but on information. New models are emerging between brands, media owners and agencies based on information and data rather than just ads media spend. For example this case of how Twitter data is delivering new targeting capabilities. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8KJWoNk_Rg Ads are, of course, still in play but data and information is what the new contract is predicated upon. Expand ‘media’ in the above model to include (media) agencies and you understand why the positionings around Audience Management Platforms and audience data are so vital to those involved – its about who controls the insight (and therefore the revenues). It’s also why brands are (1) increasingly asking why they shouldn’t retain full control and analysis of their own data and (2) why some brands are looking to cut media out all together and go direct to customers (existing or potential) based on the data and information they own. Nike have used this strategy with Fuel, whilst brands like Burberry use a hugely disproportionate amount of their own media to reach people direct. Its also why media businesses now ruthlessly collect and protect first party data, and why the sharing of that data with frememies to match the demand-scale generated by agency groups makes media owners so nervous. But its between people and the media where the contract is perhaps most vociferously being negotiated. Between Google and the European Courts with legislation that allows people to force Google to delete their data (or at least the links to their information); Facebook’s privacy settings tidy-up was part of this negotiation, as is any site’s publication of it’s cookie and targeting policy. The other huge players in this part of the negotiation are the telcos (and I include Apple in this bracket) – whose efforts to win the Triple Play wars were awesomely captured by Nic Christensen here last month. This is important for two reasons … first, the Telcos are emerging as some of the biggest accumulators of data – that makes them significant players in the emerging contract and secondly, like the big Bay Area media companies, the data they accumulate can be appropriated by government agencies without our explicit consent. The fact is that it has been the emergence of this new model, and the concentration of such vast quantities of people’s data into new media businesses and telecoms companies, that has fueled US, UK and other government agencies desire and demandto acquire that data as part of their ambition to ‘master the internet’. And yet despite all of this the contract remains un-negotiated. The conversations and debates required to do so are fragmented and diverse, but there are huge implications for brands, agencies and media businesses depending on just how that negotiation pans-out. Who own’s people’s data? Who gets to sell or target and re-target based on that data? How aggressively should and could brands pursue collection of their own customer data? Should it be made more explicit that someone’s data is being captured for advertising or targeting purposes? To be absolutely clear, it is my opinion that this new contract is an eminently good thing. It is the emergent data and information-based value model that has given all of us access to search, social media, online marketplaces, and a world of information, education and entertainment. What the contract promises is awesome – but to deliver, it must first be negotiated. Chris Stephenson is strategy director of PHD
- In this guest post Eaon Pritchard examines the phenomenon of incompetent people not realising how bad at something they are, and applies it to advertising. You may be familiar with the case of one McArthur Wheeler. Wheeler was a man who, in 1995, proceeded to rob two banks in Pittsburg, in broad daylight, using no other method to avoid detection other than covering his face with lemon juice. As lemon juice is usable as invisible ink, Wheeler was certain that it would render his own face invisible, and therefore prevent his face from being recorded by the surveillance cameras. Wheeler was supremely confident as he had tested his hypothesis by taking a proto-selfie with a polaroid camera and the result had give him an image of only wall, with no face apparent. Unfortunately he had simply aimed his shot badly. The story inspired a series of experiments by David Dunning and Justin Kruger of the Department of Psychology, Cornell University. The results were published in 1999 and henceforth the phenomenon - If you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent because the skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you lack in order to know what a right answer is - became known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect. In the early days of its existence the Dunning-Kruger Effect was also sometimes described as the American Idol Effect. This was because the hapless yet strangely confident performances in TV talent show auditions were an extremely salient example of the phenomenon - a cognitive bias wherein incompetent individuals mistakenly rate their own competence much higher than is accurate. This bias is attributed to a meta-cognitive inability of the unskilled to recognise their ineptitude. Conversely, many people who actually are skilled or talented tend to underestimate their own talent, and wrongly assume that things that are easy for them to do are also easy for others. As Dunning and Kruger famously note, "the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others" For the talent show hopefuls the sweet Mariah Carey tones in their own head bears no resemblance to the hideous cacophony coming out of their mouth. Part of the problem is the fact that none of the people around our untalented protagonists - family, friends, colleagues – are prepared to tell them the truth. Therefore the delusion becomes even more entrenched. (These people, while well intentioned, can be reasonably described as mediocrity enablers. That's for another post.) For more on this have a listen to Dr David Dunning himself telling the story of McArthur Wheeler and the development of his theory in this episode of the You Are Not So smart podcast which will download via this link. Anyway, you now you will start to see how this is leading us into the world of advertising. There is a point, often labeled ‘Dunning-Kruger peak’ that represents the particular surge of self-confidence one gets upon acquiring some small amount of skill in a field. It represents the huge leap from novice to semi-skilled amateur. However the deluded amateur, at this stage both encouraged their new found knowledge yet unable to know the vastness of what they have yet to learn in order to be an expert, begin to imagine themselves to actually be expert. This period of delusion is common in people who are just starting out in advertising, though by no means exclusive to the young. Based on scant evidence they suddenly believe they are much more knowledgeable about advertising than they actually are. Moreover, this delusion seems to also happen at a group level, and envelopes people with enough experience to know better, which is why I suggest that a large part of our industry appears to have hit some sort of Dunning-Kruger peak. The commonly held ideas of those operating in Dunning-Kruger peak mode are some sort of party-mix that contains ‘advertising is dead, everything is now about content, participation and conversation’, ‘creative departments are no longer required as ideas come from anywhere’ and ‘anyone with a smartphone can be an ad agency’ amongst many others. Dunning and Kruger discovered that people who are unskilled at something — in this case advertising — are often unable to see how bad they are. Incompetent people will: 1. Fail to recognise that they are incompetent, 2. Fail to recognise how good competent people actually are. 3. Fail to see the scale of their incompetence. To an extent this story is my own story. Armed with Twitter and grab bag of Seth Godin one-liners I spent a number of years parroting much of the same ‘advertising is dead’ drivel. Until eventually reaching that moment of true insight when I realised exactly how incompetent I actually was. This is where one falls from the Dunning-Kruger Peak into a trough* of enlightened ignorance where you begin to realise that the things you don’t know massively outnumber the things you’ve learned. (* In photographers' lingo this is called the Jon Snow trough, after a character in Game of Thrones apparently). [caption id="attachment_267323" align="aligncenter" width="468"] Eaon's Dunning Kruger peak[/caption] On the upside, despite being in the trough, one is now actually skilled to some degree though conversely now saddled with the tendency to underestimate one’s own skill when compared to the over confident noises made by the mass of incompetents. For the adperson to hasten his or her descent from the peak, one important insight that is best absorbed sooner rather than later comes from realising that the consumers we have to communicate with spend precious little time thinking about brands, do next to no evaluation around most purchase decisions, and even brands that they use and like are trivial in comparison to the rest of their daily lives. Rather than engagement, conversations or participation people’s actual buying behaviour is about reducing complexity, reducing choice and making easier, good-enough decisions. Our job is simply about getting brands noticed, remembered at the appropriate time and then bought. Just getting that teeny tiny bit of attention needed is hard enough, never mind all the other bollocks. Like the fella once said, ‘Never make predictions, particularly about the future’. Perhaps a wish, then. A wish that 2015 is the year when all of us in the business of marketing communications – of all flavours – fall from our Dunning-Kruger peak, and recognise that while we have some skills and influence, what we don’t know about human behaviour is so much more than what we do know, and no amount of lemon juice flavour kool-aid can hide this. Eaon Pritchard is strategic planning director at Red Jelly
- After the Australian Tax Office yesterday announced it was investigating several multinationals for tax minimisation Antony Ting examines what a 'Google tax' would mean for Australia in this cross-posting from The Conversation. Joe Hockey has hinted he may introduce a “Google tax” as a new weapon to tackle profit shifting by multinational enterprises. The Treasurer’s suggestion is not only political as a counter to aggressive tax avoidance by multinationals, but also suggests the government may not have full confidence in a successful outcome of the G20/OECD work on base erosion profit shifting (BEPS). The suggestion of a “Google tax” in Australia appears to be a coordinated action with the UK. Last week, the UK Treasury announced the introduction of a “Diverted Profits Tax” (commonly dubbed the Google tax). The tax will be imposed on profits artificially shifted from the UK at a rate of 25% from 1 April 2015. The tax is expected to generate more than £1 billion over the next five years. Details of the Australian tax are yet to be delivered, but it’s likely to work as follows, using Apple’s tax structure as an example. Apple has successfully sheltered US$44 billion in Ireland for four years, and that amount has never been taxed anywhere in the world. The US$44 billion represents the profits shifted from Apple’s sales in many countries, including Australia. If Australia had a Google tax, the ATO would impose 30% tax on a portion of the US$44 billion that represented the profits derived from sales in Australia. Will it work? [caption id="attachment_250723" align="alignright" width="234"] Google is understood to be one of the corporations being investigated by the ATO[/caption] The proposal, if properly designed, should be a powerful weapon for two reasons. First, it provides the much-needed legal basis for the ATO to impose tax on profits shifted from Australia to “taxpayer-friendly” countries such as Ireland. At present, even though the ATO is aware of the US$44 billion sitting in Ireland, the existing international tax regime does not empower the ATO to lay its hands on the profits. Second, a Google tax would be a unilateral action. Its introduction does not require international consensus and Australia does not have to wait for that to happen before taking action on profit shifting by multinationals. The G20 and OECD have been working very hard in an attempt to achieve consensus on measures to address the issues of BEPS. However, one major player may not support the project wholeheartedly. The US has been knowingly facilitating avoidance by its multinationals of foreign income taxes through its own tax system. To make matters worse, its participation in the G20/OECD BEPS Project has been described by a prominent US tax commentator as “a polite pretence of participation with quiet undermining”. International consensus is the ideal course of action to comprehensively resolve the issues of BEPS. However, without full support from the US, it is doubtful the project will be able to achieve meaningful measures to curb tax avoidance by multinationals. Therefore, unilateral actions may be the pragmatic response of other countries like Australia to protect their tax bases. Not so fast… The proposal will face a number of challenges. First, the tax would apply only if a multinational has shifted profits from Australia under a tax avoidance structure. This raises the question: what is a tax avoidance structure? Apple’s example is clear-cut. As the US$44 billion has never been taxed anywhere in the world, it will be difficult for Apple to argue it is not engaged in a tax avoidance structure. However, what about profits shifted to a country where the tax rate is 10%? This is one of the technical issues policymakers will have to address. Second, the ATO will have to find a way to determine the amount of profit shifted from Australia. Going back to the Apple example, how should the ATO estimate how much profit out of the US$44 billion booked in Ireland should be subject to the Google tax? This issue may be difficult and controversial, but should be manageable. The third and possibly most formidable obstacle to the introduction of a Google tax is that multinationals are likely to offer significant resistance to its introduction. They can be expected to apply intense political pressure, lobbying against this proposal. A common argument by multinationals is that unilateral action by a country will scare businesses away. This may or may not be a concern, depending on the types of businesses of multinationals. One important factor that policymakers should remember is that the location of customers is not mobile. Apple can generate A$600 sales income only if it sells an iPad to a customer in Australia. It is highly unlikely, and does not make any commercial sense, that Apple would give up the Australian market because it does not want to pay 30% tax on sales profits. Anthony Ting is senior lecturer of taxation law at University of Sydney This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
- Today marks Mumbrella's sixth birthday. Tim Burrowes has a progress update.
A couple of months back, I realised the way I look at my time with Mumbrella is changing.
Until recently, Mumbrella existed for me in only one tense - something I do. Nowadays, it's also something I did.
At six years, we've now been doing Mumbrella for long enough that we've got a history. And part of that is that once a year, I offer you, our reader, some kind of a birthday update.
- Our first post: Welcome to Mumbrella
- Year two: Mumbrella is two
- Year three: Mumbrella is three - thanks for supporting us
- Year four: Mumbrella is four (and a bit)
- Year five: Why I'm stepping down as Mumbrella editor to help grow the business
- While marketers are increasingly looking for social media ready ideas, simply adding a hashtag to your campaign is not the answer argues Luke Ryan. Ever wondered why no one is using your well-crafted hashtag for your new campaign? This might help. Nearly every marketing campaign that goes out the door these days contains a hashtag, but hardly any of them have real purpose. It's almost like marketers are being pressured into making their traditional marketing campaigns “more social”. But let's be real, this is not getting the job done. What I allude to will now be named #campaignhashtags, a word or phrase that belongs not necessarily to the brand, the product or to a larger organic conversation, but to the campaign itself. They usually garner very little social interaction, have no long term brand benefit and in some cases are not used in a way you desired them to be. #campaignhashtags fail because they are completely forgetting where social begins – with the audience. Attempting to start a social conversation with a hashtag that is not linked to a larger social behaviour already taking place is like heading to the casino, putting all your chips on one number at the roulette table and expecting to win. It is up to brands to understand the conversations already occurring and be relevant in this pre-existing context. The whole notion of social media marketing is there is already a conversation taking place, not to force one. So where to start: Listen to how your consumer communicates and interacts in social, what makes up their popular culture? Listen to what they are already saying about you and your competitors in social to give you an idea of what brand themes might resonate. The goal here is to understand how to integrate your brand with the pre-existing popular culture of your audience. Instead of coming up with a big broadcast idea and then trying to socialise it (i.e creating a TVC then bolting on a hashtag), why not come up with a big social idea first and then broadcast it? By social idea I do not mean Facebook and Twitter, I mean an idea based on the understanding of social behaviour. Big ideas that people want to share, talk about, get involved in and belong to. A reason for the customer to communicate will naturally fit this strategy and your hashtag has real purpose Define your purpose in social. #campaignhashtags come from brand-only thinking. Don’t just think about what the brand wants to talk about, focus also on what the audience wants to talk about. It is the middle ground between these two factors where you will find your value proposition for social. This will help provide your brand purpose in social, help guide you on delivering your ambition and defines the value you bring to the audience. If you can’t define what value your social presence delivers to your consumer, you have no place hanging around. Finally, keep it simple. For some reason we have an aversion to simple ideas. There is an underlying belief that simple means I haven’t worked on this hard enough, but in social, anything that is not simple more often than not falls short. So now if you revisit your latest #campaignhashtag what does it communicate? Does it tap into an existing social behaviour already occurring within your audience? Does it provide any value at all? If the answer is no, it is not social. Luke Ryan is a strategist at We Are Social
- In this cross-posting fromThe Conversation Deb Verhoeven of Deakin University argues rumours of the death of Australian cinema based on box office are premature, and we should be using another method to measure success. By all reports the Australian cinema is dead. Left for dust by the noisy distractions of big budget movie franchises and the smaller diversions of teeny shiny devices. All you can see in any direction are carefully written epitaphs. The Sydney Morning Herald wants to know why we won’t watch Australian films. Over at News.com.au, they’re worrying that local audiences are snubbing local films. Pedestrian is asking whether there’s any hope at all. And then there’s a doco just released online devoted entirely and without irony to the topic of what’s wrong with Australian films. And these are just the commentaries that have been published in the past couple of months or so. At the heart of all of these proclamations of the Australian cinema’s untimely demise is a single common cause of death: the Australian cinema has simply withered away because nobody took an interest. In particular nobody in Australia. We know the local cinema is dead because the domestic box office numbers tell us so. Sure, films may keep being produced but they are just the walking dead. Stumbling dead really. Capable of floundering about in the harsh light of their opening weekend before falling over so quietly that not a soul notices. This is the story of contemporary Australian cinema told as a zombie narrative. But there are other ways to tell the story. Take for example the widely touted “failure” of Josh Lawson’s fatefully titled movie The Little Death. Media articles declaring it a box office fiasco were published before the curtain had barely closed on its opening weekend. The din of the resulting wake drowned out Lawson’s lonely protest, in which he ruefully noted that the opening weekend figures were not, on a per screen average, nearly as unusual as the press would have us believe. The Little Death opened on 34 screens for an average take of A$2285 per screen. If we compare this to a film of a similar genre, comparable budget size and that hit the screens at much the same time, such as Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here (33 screens for A$2849 on average), it stands up quite well. Or there is the case of Predestination (49 screens at A$4,133 on its opening weekend) which is held up as a paragon of failed ambition – yet had already secured a series of strong international sales before it even opened in Australia. But don’t let these mere details ruin a good story. Or to put it another way, maybe there is a better story somewhere in the details. Using local box office alone to determine the success or failure of Australian films is an unhelpful exercise. Typically films are held to box office standards that make a poor basis for comparison. And even as a raw metric for financial success, domestic box office is wanting. Cinema always has been, and is increasingly a global industry. Domestic takings have been of diminishing importance for major movie production centres for some time now. And finally, theatrical box office alone is of dwindling utility as a proxy for audience interest as more and more alternative viewing options become available (although robust data for these alternatives are not yet readily obtainable). A group of researchers based at Deakin University have been working on a project that recasts the way we currently measure success and failure in the film industry. The project centres on a massive dataset of global film screenings, some 200 million records all up. Using this data, and other types of reported evidence, we are proposing a revised set of measurements for tracking performance in the film industry called the Film Impact Rating (FIR). We hope to expand the existing one-dimensional view of “success” to a multi-dimensional perspective that incorporates what we refer to as the three C’s of film impact (coverage, commentary and commercial performance). “Coverage” includes data concerning the location, volume, and saturation of film screenings; “commentary” covers critic and user ratings as well as award nominations and wins; and “commerical” data incorporates the traditional box office return measure (domestic and international) and box office relative to production budget size. A description of all these variables along with the specific weightings we applied to construct a Film Impact Rating (FIR) are available at the project website. You can see in the results table above that the picture of a film’s impact is much more nuanced using this tool than just using domestic box-office to determine success or failure. For example, had we simply relied on box office as a measure for impact, then The Great Gatsby would far outstrip the other films under study. But if we only use average critics ratings, In Bob We Trust would top the list. As demonstrated by FIR, it is the combination of these variables that provides the most meaningful measure and highlights the complex nature of the impact of films. The FIR tool is available for anyone to use at the project website. Users are encouraged to manipulate interactive sliders to adjust the weighting of the different criteria according to their own sense of what constitutes success or impact and these preferences will be collected to help us understand how the public measures the performance of Australian films. The Australian cinema certainly isn’t dead, nor is it even “undead”, but we do need better diagnostic tools to read its vital signs; all of them. Deb Verhoeven is professor and chair of media and communication at Deakin University This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
- David Pann is the general manager of Microsoft’s global search business, the Yahoo Bing Network. In this interview with Mumbrella Asia editor Robin Hicks Pann talks about why Bing is a better deal than Google for advertisers, how to win customers in a market dominated by one player, and how the future of search will be won. You’ve been on global ‘listen and learn tour’ of 35 countries to meet with customers. What are the pain points your customers have with Bing? We’ve been doing this for several years and we’ve been in a continuous development cycle. We’re launching a new product on a weekly basis somewhere across the world. Over the last 12 months, we have invested in simplifying our offering. Online advertising is getting more complex. Agencies and advertisers have been asking us to make Bing easier to use, more intuitive, faster, and to make everything scalable. We’ve invested heavily in the user interface and the overall performance of the platform. We’ve also improved how customers can use data in a way that is actionable. We want brands to know what’s impacting their advertising positively and negatively, and to be able to make adjustments quickly. We want advertisers to get great ROI, and we think the ROI that Bing delivers is outperforming the competition. So what’s the secret to winning over advertisers and users for Bing? We have an audience that is not available on Google, who spend more time online, according to third party studies. In terms of cost per acquisition, average transaction size and return on dollar spent, we’re ahead of our competitors, which is why we’re seeing advertisers move more dollars to our marketplace. What has also helped us to grow is eliminating the friction for advertisers to run the ads they put on Google ads on Bing. And we’re working on making campaign reporting similar to Google’s, so it’s easier for advertisers to migrate across. So you’re working on how to be different to Google, but also how not to be too dissimilar? It’s the innovators dilemma. Advertisers say that you need to be similar, but also to innovate. If you were to launch a new laptop, you wouldn’t do so with anything other than a ‘qwerty’ keyboard. When you innovate on the user interface for a campaign management tool, you won’t necessarily win people over. You need to bring genuinely new and better capabilities to the marketplace. Like what, for instance? The One Microsoft strategy means that Bing is not just a nice to have, it’s a must have. When we introduced the new version of Windows this year, we integrated Bing into the search capability. Windows 8 will evolve into Windows 10, and Bing is an integral part of that. You want to develop a relevant experience, and that comes from a lot of experimentation in working out how to bring the two systems together. Another example is Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, on Windows phones. Cortana, which is built into the Windows phone operating system, is powered by Bing. Cortana knows a lot about users – what they’re doing, where they are and, increasingly, where they need to be. It can help people anticipate and avoid problems. Over time, there will be ways for marketers to get involved. But we’re not focused on that now. We want to get in front of users in new ways. Watch a Microsoft ad that pits Cortana against Apple’s Siri. What makes Bing better than Google? We ran tests of people using Bing side by side with users of Google, and most thought Bing was better. But we are up against the brand dominance of Google. It’s a phenomenal company, that is without question. But we have to focus on how we can be better, and one of those areas is our predictive capability. In the US, people are using our predictive engine to predict winners in sporting events. We did predictions of the mid-term elections with a high degree of success. We think that we can help people get more out of the internet. The thing none of us have enough of is time. We can help companies and consumers be more productive with the time they have. So, what’s next for Bing? We’re putting a lot of investment into the new ways people can interact with the engine. It’s not about just a search box, it’s now about voice too – which is where Skype comes in. How much easier would it be for the global community to work together if language wasn’t a barrier? We’re thinking about how to use the power of knowledge to help the world be more productive and make lives better. For example with Cortana, we want it to be available wherever you are, across all devices. What about new services for advertisers? Search is moving from keyword to audience. Advertisers want the ability to buy an audience, and they want this kind of audience across your user base and they want to be able to get messages to them in unique ways. Take online travel companies. They will tell you that when consumers book a vacation, it takes them 30-40 searches before they get what they want. At the point that they get where they want to be, is particularly valuable to a marketer. They want to be able to communicate with all those people who’ve decided to go on holiday to Hawaii, with a specialised offer. We’re already starting to see that the richness of the experience on the results page is changing. It’s now more commercially orientated, with more imagery and more video. Do you think advertisers and users want more a complicated landing page after a search? Search is a lean-forward experience where people don’t want the frills they get with an entertainment experience they get online. It’s all about context. Search is the most powerful intent mechanism on the internet, but the balance between richness and vanilla for users is very delicate. We think there is a great experience that can help you be more productive with a richer offering. If you understand the consumer intent and understand what audience marketers are looking for, you can build the right experience. So what’s the state of play in Asia, and what are your plans for the region? We’ve got between north of the high 20s to the mid 30s in market share in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and we’re looking to grow that. We want to generate good quality clicks for advertisers, and we have a development centre in Beijing that helps us push that ambition forward. The centre is focused on developing algorithms and special ad formats for Asian markets. Once you can show growth in click share, you can start to acquire more share of wallet. In Hong Kong and Taiwan, our share of wallet is much larger than our query share, which goes back to ROI and the sort of service that Yahoo and Microsoft provide. Service is a big differentiator in this space, particularly in Asia. How aggressive are your growth targets for Bing, and do you see yourself as a challenger brand? We have growth targets, on the consumer side and the publisher revenue side, but we don’t share them. We’re a challenger brand even in the desktop market. We’re the underdog, we’re not the dominant player. And we are operating like a challenger – nimble and fast. We’re going where the consumers are, which is why we’re bringing Microsoft Office to Android. Isn’t it tough to motivate teams, given the enormity of Google’s market lead? We don’t break out revenues for the business overall, but when the Bing business is mentioned in they quarterly earnings it matters. Even in markets where we have a small query share, the growth has been phenomenal. Advertisers are seeing its value. In Australia, for example, we didn’t know how strong Bing would prove to be when we launched in the summer of 2013. We can’t get caught up with the reality that we have three per cent query share in some markets – you get lost in the forest for the trees. We are providing advertisers with global reach. We see lot of advertisers in Asia Pacific looking for cross border opportunities. For example with Australia, there are a lot of advertisers in the UK that want to reach out to Australian audiences. Can a competitor like Google, with such overwhelming market dominance in some countries that naturally increases with the network effect, ever be caught? When we launched Bing more than five years ago, we had seven per cent query share in the US. Now, it’s north of 19 per cent. That progress came from somewhere. I don’t have a crystal ball, but Microsoft is committed to this business and it’s growing. We think we could catch up with Google eventually, but time will tell. You should always focus on competition, but only so much. Robin Hicks See the Mumbrella Asia website here.
- Mumbrella today launches its Kickstart 2015 Week. Tim Burrowes explains. Pinch punch, first of the month... So you may have seen the news story we've just posted about our 2015 Kickstart Week. Today we drop the paywall for The Source. Tomorrow, we launch Summer School. And on Wednesday, we do something special around next year's Mumbrella360. It's a bit like the world's most boring advent calendar, isn't it? But I'll let you into a secret. While our purpose is - as always - to help our audience in their working lives and careers - there's an ulterior motive. You see, we have a marketing problem. And then it occurred to me that we talk every day to the people best placed to help. So our initiative with The Source today is aimed at addressing that. Our problem is this: we think it's a really good product, but we don't think we've been that great at marketing it. We launched The Source 18 months ago. It came after we recognised a bit of an unmet need. We used to get a regular trickle of phone calls from people asking if we knew which agency worked with various brands. Often we were able to help, but we didn't always have their contact details to hand. And sometimes, we didn't know the answer. There was a product in the market already which touched on some of this info, but it was quite expensive. So about two years ago we began to research and build the product that became The Source. It's 18 months this week since it launched. We aimed to offer an affordable pricepoint (from $92 a month) and keep it up to date using a rotating team of five researchers. We've still got a framed piece of paper with some of the names creative agency The Works suggested to us. (In the end, the name The Source rose to the top in both focus groups we conducted and we went with that.) And The Source is already breaking even. But here's the problem - we don't think we've nailed the marketing strategy. It's a good product. When people try it, they tend to subscribe. And when they subscribe, they tend to resubscribe. But we still struggle to explain what the product does when we talk to people about it. I'm nearly 400 words into this piece, and I'm not sure I've quite done it yet, have I? One solution is to give people the chance to try it. So we do regularly offer a 30-day trial. Like many paywall plays, we take a credit card, and it becomes a subscription if the user doesn't cancel at the end of that. And like many paywall plays, handing over the credit card can be a bit of a turn off. Hence this week's initiative, of making it open for the next seven days only to anyone who simply supplies their email address. I'd love people to sample it, because I think many of them will subscribe at the end of the process. And of course we use all of the opportunities being a sister title to Mumbrella affords us - ads on the site and on our daily email, branding at our events. but I'm not sure that advertising necessarily tells The Source's story. So this week's Kickstart 2015 gives us a chance to not only do a little bit for our readers, but to tap into the wisdom of the crowd. With your indulgence, we've got an opportunity to crowd source two things: industry knowledge and marketing wisdom. First, industry knowledge. No database is ever complete. So I bet there are gaps - despite covering 1,180 brands, 415 advertisers and 324 agencies, I bet there are plenty we're not covering yet. And by opening up The Source, it gives everybody the opportunity to check we're covering their brand and agencies - and to let us know if not, so it can become a better product. The Source's publisher Camille Alarcon is standing by to make amendments as you share anything we're missing. She's on firstname.lastname@example.org. And the other, bigger, part is marketing wisdom. So here comes my request. Mumbrella is lucky enough to be read by some of the brightest marketing brains in the business. So we'd love a little help. If you were marketing The Source, what would you do? Please - be brutally honest in the comment thread below. Camille and I are all ears. Tim Burrowes is the content director of Mumbrella
- While many bemoan the lack of personalities in state and federal politics, Patrick O'Beirne asks whether it's the product of the 24-hour news cycle or the media habits of consumers. At a Melbourne Press Club function on the eve of the Victorian state election, The Australian’s local bureau chief Chip Le Grand asked Premier Denis Napthine where the charisma has gone in Victorian politics. The Premier, straying from his well-rehearsed script of policy commitments, shot back. Hard. “Where has the charisma gone?…I would ask you to look in the mirror. I think one of the reasons why there is perhaps a lack of charisma or lack of fun in politics is because of the coverage.” There’s not one single solution to the often underwhelming quality of political discourse in Australia. Is it the absence of true political leadership or even a sense of statesmanship from media representatives? Or the lack of a vision we can all embrace that fuels the public’s apathy towards our political representatives? Perhaps so. But there are other things we might consider when thinking about how our pollies and the media can raise the standard of political dialogue, underpinned by a stronger focus on policy rather than personality. The first consideration is structural. Like many large, long-term problems it’s only the major overhaul of entrenched systems that can enable meaningful change. Three layers of government in Australia means we make many political appointments from what is arguably a shallow talent pool. Could it be time to dust off the drafts for political reform and usher in a two-tier system of government, ensuring only the best and brightest earn the privilege of power? The second approach focuses on political communications and while it’s more tactical, it would certainly have immediate effect: don’t feed the beast. Political parties – sitting or otherwise – have an opportunity to drive the agenda by deciding how to run their media relations. The 24-hour news cycle, live news channels and social media have created a habit of putting someone up repeatedly each day, feeding more “he said-she said” coverage that lacks substance and analysis. The Federal Coalition Government tried this in its first year of term but seems to have fallen victim again to the insatiable thirst for the six-second sound bite. There’s also the option of bypassing the beast. Increasingly corporates and sporting bodies are turning to ‘owned’ channels to communicate to their audiences directly. If used in equal measure with good media and stakeholder engagement, the ‘corporate newsroom’ is an extremely effective way to get one’s story across by provoking ideas, driving debate and influencing outcomes. Just as critical is the need to get cut-through with your audience by applying more creative methods of engagement. There’s a range of ways to ensure the media reports important matters, even if they’re not considered newsworthy by current news values. Changing the messenger, creating a coalition of concerned allies, using research to add depth to an issue and giving a platform to the voting public to raise issues are just a few. Unlike Denis Napthine, I don’t point the finger entirely at the media for shallow reporting of key matters or for the lack of gravitas and vision among our political leaders. Indeed, there are plenty of commentators who do swim against the tide when it comes to promoting discussion on the issues that matter. Instead, perhaps it’s us – the general public – who should take more responsibility for what our media serves up. We buy and subscribe to the media that reports frivolously, and we put up with the dumbing down of issues of strategic importance to our nation. If the customer is always right, and if vanilla politics is the order of the day, maybe we should look in the mirror to see who’s ultimately responsible. Patrick O’Beirne is managing director of Haystac ANZ
- M&C Saatchi now has one of the biggest strategy departments in Australia as it moves to a more 'full service' approach for brands. Miranda Ward sat down with the agency's head of strategy Justin Graham to talk through the strategy behind it. M&C Saatchi has made no secret of the fact it has been beefing up its strategy and planning department over the last 12 months, however many in the industry were surprised to hear the agency's latest hire, Ross Berthinussen as group strategy director, had swelled the ranks of the team to 35. It's a move which has many wondering whether the agency is looking to put the genie back in the bottle and go 'full service'. "If clients are coming to us to solve business problems we want to be able to solve whatever problem that may be through the lens of creativity," said department head Justin Graham. "And it's not just advertising problems that get advertising solutions, that's where we have a point of differentiation in the market that we're all sitting here together in a central unit and we can deploy the resources as needed around those problems," Graham said when quizzed on if the beefed up strategy department signalled a change in the agency's positioning. "So yes, full service, working with our clients. Full service can mean anything these days, it might be new retail environments, it might be a social strategy or an implementation of that, it might be community management or brand design." The agency has not skimped on the talent it has gone after either, with Berthinussen coming from BBH London, hot on the heels of the agency picking up Kate Smithers in a similar role from Ogilvy & Mather in London. Led by Graham, who joined M&C from Droga5 at the end of last year, the strategy team now stands at 35, which includes 11 members of the innovation unit led by Ben Cooper. It emerged during the hotly contested Commonwealth Bank media pitch earlier this year that the strictly 'traditional' creative agency had ambitions in the media space, signalling its shifting positioning by throwing its hat into the ring as a contender. The move led to speculation that the agency was moving towards a full-service offering, with the beefed up the strategy department fuelling the rumours. But Graham remained coy when asked whether the agency is looking to hire media buyers. "I think we're all running towards what channel neutrality means for people," he said. "We need smart channel thinkers in here and we'll continue to think about what the means. Clients are leaning on us and asking for help and asking for us to lean in and work with the channel strategists that exist within media organisations because the lines are very much blurred. "The interesting thing is where we are now. It's not about media people coming into a creative agency or vice versa, it's actually about forming a new way of working," Graham continued. "For us, we have one very simple tool that we work with from a strategy point of view and that's getting down to a brutal, simplicity of truth. It's something that started right from Maurice (Saatchi, founder of M&C Saatchi) and the guys when they started the company and how that brutal simplicity of thought should be able to transcend a creative idea, a channel idea, whatever it might be. "The ideas we have in this business, the contagious ideas that we have been able to deliver, are as much about content as they are about context and we've the thinking to go and do that now. "We'll just continue to push where the opportunities are," Graham added. Coming into the agency in January, Graham spent time with CEO Jaimes Leggett and executive creative director Ben Welch in examining what the agency needed from its strategy department. "There's a lot of very strategic creative directors here and that's exciting to work with. But, what we didn't have was enough of the spark, enough of the rigour, enough of the forward thinking so we'd be steps ahead in terms of trends, business analysis, analysing data, whatever it might be to start in a better place and work with clients on more than just advertising problems," he said. "Coming to M&C Saatchi there was a big challenge, it was really recognised in this market as a really consistent operation. It's done some brilliant work over the years, it knows how to make some big brand platforms and protect those platforms. "Some great creative and account management but probably just not well known in the industry for its strategic offering, which is unusual because globally M&C Saatchi is known as being a great strategic agency," Graham said. He continued: "It was to say if clients are coming to us to solve business problems and those business problems are fairly meaty considering we work on some of the biggest brands in the country, certainly the most valuable brand in the country in Commbank, right down to some small brands that are looking for that leadership, then what would a talent pool look like that could work together on that." It was this that sparked the recent hiring spree to swell the strategic ranks. "It's been a real mix of bringing people together, and yes we have hired a number of strategists. I think we have picked up an unfair share of the best global talent, from a strategy perspective, coming in here," Graham said. "But that's purposeful as well because we have significant pieces of business that provide genuine challenges and I've been able to attract people who've been able to push what is a strategy offering in a big organisation these days." The massing of ranks has seen the formation of a central strategy unit within the M&C Saatchi group of agencies, able to work across the various agencies under the M&C Saatchi umbrella including Re, Sports and Entertainment, Lida and Mark. "M&C Saatchi has ten agencies sitting within these walls, with some core specialisations," Graham said. "What we've been able to do is say we've got a central strategy unit, a central creative unit and a central production unit. And the central strategy unit is where we house everyone who is thinking strategically around pieces of business whether they're brand planners or experience strategists or data strategists. "We have a strong customer engagement strategy offering which is coming through Lida, we have brand strategists in the purer sense, a number of people sitting within Re, our brand design agency. Then we have social strategists as well as social and content people," he summed up. Whilst the most recent additions to the strategy team have come from overseas - with Berthinussen being English and Smithers returning home after a long stint overseas - Graham is adamant it is not a sign of a lack of strategic talent locally. "I'm the vice chair of the APG (Account Planning Group) and I think there are some brilliant strategists here, some really pragmatic strategists," he said when asked on the issue. "There were a couple of needs we went after and it's always great when you have an Australian who wants to come home in the form of Kate Smither, or Sophie Ales and Ross Berthinussen is the BBH veteran and he's the one who wanted to come to Australia. "We've also hired a number of strategists from agencies here. Certainly, we've tipped more to the local market than globally. Part of this is we work with some big, iconic Australian brands," Graham said. Miranda Ward
Phone: 1300 366 156
East Sydney, NSW, 2010 Australia
Listing last updated December 3, 2012 | Type of business: Ad Validation and Delivery
Tags: adgate, adsend, advertising, Advertising Campaign, Adverts, asset management, broadcast, broadcast delivery, broadcast workflow, Campaign Delivery, Campaign Management, captionflow, Captioning, commercials, delivery, digital, Digital Asset Management, Distribution, dubs, dubsat, Duplication, Edit Suite, HD, hd delivery, Interactive Digital Ads, iq chaser, iqpro, Media Asset Management, media booking, media delivery, mediafront, mediapro, mediapro extreme, online, online delivery, online video, out of home, outdoor, post production, preflight, Print, Quality Assurance, quality check, Quality Control, radio, Reels, Send, Send Ads, Solutions, Streamlining, substation, television, Transcoding, TV, TVC, Validation, Versioning, Workflow, Workflow Management Systems
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