Opinion | Features
- In this cross-posting from The Conversation Nicolas Suzor legal lead of Creative Commons Australia and Alex Button-Sloan from the Queensland University of Technology look at why the leaked plans to change copyright laws could lead to a lot of unintended problems for consumers. The Australian Government has proposed Internet Service Providers (ISPs) monitor and punish Australians who download and infringe copyright. In a discussion paper circulated by Attorney-General George Brandis, and leaked by Crikey last Friday, the government proposes a sweeping change to Australian copyright law. If implemented, it would force ISPs to take steps to prevent Australians from infringing copyright. What these steps might be is very vague. They could include blocking peer-to-peer traffic, slowing down internet connections, passing on warnings from industry groups, and handing over subscriber details to copyright owners. The move comes in response to claims that Australians are among the biggest downloaders of films and television series. Under intense pressure from Hollywood and Foxtel, the government wants to do something to combat copyright infringement. Unlikely to help pricing and availability [caption id="attachment_241239" align="alignright" width="234"] Button-Sloan[/caption] The problem is that this move is not likely to make things better. Similar schemes have been tried around the world, but there is little evidence they actually work to reduce copyright infringement. This draft proposal does nothing to address the basic issue that Australians are not being fairly treated by the copyright industries. Compared to consumers in the United States, Australians pay more for digital downloads, have less choice in how they can access film and television, face large delays before content is released, and much foreign content is still not available at all in Australia. Recent research suggests that Australian consumers feel ripped off by distributors, and this is a key reason why they choose to download films and television instead. If foreign film and television networks want to reduce illicit downloading, many think that their first step should be to provide better, cheaper, and more convenient legal ways for consumers to pay for access. Unintended consequences Meanwhile, the draft proposal is likely to have serious unintended consequences. It is likely to raise the price of internet access in Australia, as ISPs will pass on the increased costs of monitoring and enforcing copyright. The proposals will also cause major uncertainty in copyright law. The government plans to overturn the recent iiNet case, where the High Court ruled that ISPs are not responsible when people use BitTorrent to download films. The Court sent a strong message that iiNet could not be liable because it did not control BitTorrent protocols and did nothing to encourage their use. The iiNet case confirmed a basic principle of copyright law: service providers are only responsible for the conduct of third parties when they have some control over their acts. The leaked proposal will remove this limit and, with it, the ability of the law to clearly distinguish between real wrongdoers and companies who merely provide general purpose services to consumers. This will massively increase the potential risks for companies that provide legitimate services. As well as ISPs, these include hardware manufacturers, cloud service providers, libraries, schools and universities, and many others. Requiring service providers to act as copyright police is also dangerous. It removes the safeguards that our courts provide in ensuring the law is applied fairly. Copyright law is incredibly complicated, and allegations of infringement made by copyright owners against consumers have historically been notoriously inaccurate. ISPs are not well placed to investigate these claims, and there is a serious risk that consumers might be unfairly punished under these proposals. Consumers left out of the debate The proposals create a strong incentive for ISPs to agree to rightsholder demands to protect their interests. They do not, however, provide much protection for consumers, who will have no seat at the negotiating table. The proposals are also ominously vague. They include the threat that more regulations will be introduced if ISPs do not go far enough to protect copyright. Eventually, this could also turn into a so-called “three-strikes” regime, where entire households are disconnected from the internet after several allegations of infringement. Despite having been in the works for at least six months, this leak is the first time the public has been able to see any details. Meanwhile, the Attorney-General has been meeting with copyright lobbyists, but apparently not yet with either consumer groups or with telecommunications companies. It seems the Attorney-General’s Department didn’t even listen to Malcolm Turnbull’s Communications Department, which has stressed the importance of ensuring that Australians have increased access to legitimate sources of content at a fair price. Once the leaked proposals are officially released, Australians will have less than a month to comment. Since this is likely to impact on everyone, we suggest that you add your voice to the debate - but you’ll have to be quick. Nicolas Suzor is the legal lead of Creative Commons Australia, a non-profit organisation that provides free licences and tools that copyright owners can use to allow others to share, reuse and remix their material, legally. Alex Button-Sloan is a fellow of Queensland University of Technology's IP & innovation law research program. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
- Last week Nine Entertainment Co made a $1m investment to buy eight per cent of streaming company Quickflix, whilst preparing to launch its own operation StreamCo. Here Nic Christensen looks at the underlying reasons for Nine buying into a rival. In the world of video streaming last week's investment by Nine into rival Quickflix did not go unnoticed, but as always with these deals the devil is in the detail. In this case, a series of warrants and covenants that came with this batch of shares. Predictably, in the wake of the announcement, speculation quickly followed that US streaming giant Netflix would also seek to invest in the long troubled Australian video service Quickflix. However that theory was quickly scotched. And with good reason. The history here is important. The 83 million preference shares in question were previously owned by content partner HBO who amid a cashflow crisis in 2012 chose to step in to save Quickflix. When Nine picked up the shares two weeks ago for humble investment of just $1m it also took over a redemption right put in by HBO which ensure they are protected in the case of a "liquidation event" (page 43 of the annual report). More importantly the shares include a warrant which sees the owner entitled to a $10.5m payment in the event of "a disposal of substantially all of the Company’s assets, a merger or takeover, a person other than the shareholder acquiring a voting power of more than 51% in the Company, or any change in the majority of the members of the Board of Directors unless the replacement Directors were nominated by the majority of the Company’s Board." In a nutshell, if Netflix did come in and try to buy a controlling share in Quickflix it would have to pay Nine $10.5m on top of the price of its shares. For the long troubled Quickflix which has struggled to sustain a reliable cashflow, let alone profit, in the last few years and has watched its share price steadily decline as it attempted to evolve its business from a DVD rental business to a streaming business the risk of liquidation or takeover has always loomed large. However, Nine's investment now makes the latter far less likely. Were Netflix or some other player (say Telstra or Seven West Media) wanting to make an easy leap into the Australian market the price tag and opportunity cost of acquiring Quickflix, which has a market capitalisation of some $17.8m, just went up dramatically. Would a player like Netflix be willing to spend $30m to enter the market? Perhaps, but it is going to be much more reluctant to spend $11m plus if it knows that money is going to the war chest of a major rival. Equally were Quickflix to suddenly experience a similar crisis to the one it faced two years ago Nine is now in prime position to take advantage of the opportunity to pick up any rights it might want, as well as a crack at the all-important subscriber data. Nine's shareholding arguably serves as an uneasy alliance with Quickflix founder and CEO Stephen Langsford who himself owns around 2 per cent of the company. This may also explain his reluctance to discuss the investment with Mumbrella in an interview last week. While Langsford may be pleased that Nine's investment helps avoid another board coup similar to the one he faced a month ago he must also recognise that Nine, which is spending millions of dollars investing in technology, content deals and preparing to build a subscription base, would also be eyeing his assets and it is here that the liquidation first rights must be attractive. What the future holds for Quickflix, which continues to struggle to gain traction in the market, remains unclear. But what is certain is that at a minimum Nine has made sure anyone eyeing Quickflix as an easy entry point to the Australian streaming marketing will think twice before jumping in. Nic Christensen is deputy editor of Mumbrella
- Following recent controversy surrounding entries to the Cannes Lions awards Eaon Pritchard argues until we have a better way to evaluate the merits of agencies than awards all agencies will be highly incentivised to do whatever it takes to win . Advertising's outcomes are notoriously hard to measure. Which is why in advertising agencies, we love to measure outputs instead. Agency outputs (ie creativity, ingenuity, technical wizardry and planning cleverness) are far easier to evaluate than the contributions that the work agencies do has to actual business outcomes. Despite this clients will often clamour for performance based remuneration deals from their agencies. Some agencies even claim to offer this. How they can do this is unclear. I'm oft to remark that if t'were possible then Y&R London should still be receiving a performance based royalty from Heinz Beans for the work of their then deputy creative director, a young Maurice Drake who penned the famous tagline 'Beanz Meanz Heinz' over a couple of pints of a lunchtime back in 1967. Maybe they are, who knows. The fact is that the effects of great advertising often take a long time to unfold. And many other factors other than the advertising will affect brand performance. (The effects of shit advertising tend to reveal themselves much sooner, of course). So when, among its peers/competitors, agencies performance can, for the most part, only be evaluated in terms of the creative output, then the agencies themselves are highly incentivised to squeeze the juice out of those outputs regardless of whether those outputs can be said to have contributed to business outcomes. Even the planners’ effectiveness awards, known as Effies, are no more precise and for the most part only describe shorter-term effectiveness, and often forced to rely on qual/quant research of highly dubious methodology (such is the ineptitude of our market research cousins, but that's another topic for another time). If you have made it this far you will know that I am leading up to some commentary on the great ad scam kerfuffle of recent weeks. For those who have been in hibernation, it has come to light that a few Australian press ads entered in the Lions at Cannes this year had a somewhat 'limited' distribution. While the ads met with the criteria for entry, it has been argued that running one time in a suburban newspaper of little consequence is not fair play. There's plenty of opinion around this. Several articles have been written, each receiving large numbers of comments. I'm not going to add further opinion, but perhaps offer some thoughts towards the beginnings of an explanation. From personal experience I've played in two broad camps, both highly incentivised to pursue award-winning activities. In big network agencies, consistently receiving global and local awards was an absolute imperative. At [agency X], for example, every Monday morning we would roll in to work and be curious to find out which awards the agency had won over the weekend. And every significant piece of work seemed to have its creative award entry case study video constructed almost in parallel to development of the campaign itself. To my knowledge there was never anything cooked up specifically to try and manipulate creative awards, however every piece of work was evaluated internally for its creative award potential, and certain pro-bono work was often considered for the same reasons. There's nothing hokey about this approach. It's correct. However, if a major award show came and went where the agency performed poorly in terms of metal then one could feel the pressure to return to winning ways a soon as possible. In this environment, where success is routine, then winning becomes table stakes. In smaller agencies or even decent sized indies there is a different sort of pressure. To level the playing field then in these agencies have to look that little bit harder to find the opportunities to generate outputs that can stand up against the outputs of agencies with more resources and better clients. One could describe the situation as a kind of agency double jeopardy. Smaller agencies get hit twice. They have fewer, less sophisticated and resource rich clients, who also tend to be less loyal. This provides the smaller agency with plenty incentive to 'maximise' to then possibly manipulate outputs in order to portray their creative abilities in the best way. Because no agency is going to attract new sophisticated clients with a portfolio of mediocre work. By hook or by crook you need to get the goods. Now, we are aware that the agencies which have come under scrutiny in the Aussie case are DDB, Saatchi's and to a slightly lesser degree JWT. All are outposts of big global networks, not small by any stretch. However, the Aussie market is somewhat peculiar inasmuch as just about every global network has an office in at least two (often 3 or more) of the major cities.Everyone is scrapping with everyone else. In the absence of any way to meaningfully measure clients' business outcomes, the way the industry evaluates itself in the only way it can. Though outputs - in the form of award shows. The volume and quality of new business an agency attracts is explicitly connected to the volume and quality of the awards they accrue. The more you get, the more you get. Without making any judgement call on what-is-or-is-not-scam perhaps some clarity comes from knowing this about our own foibles as an industry. And perhaps it might not be a bad thing to put this year’s what-is-or-is-not-scam debate to bed and get on with next years award winners. As an industry perhaps we suffer from a collective actor-observer bias. When we judge our own agency's behaviour, we are the actors, and perhaps we are more likely to attribute our actions as a response to peculiarities of the situational factors of the industry; than to any general sense of our integrity or lack of. However, when explaining the behaviour of others (our competitor agencies), we are far more inclined to attribute their scam ads to their overall cheating-bastard disposition rather than to any of the situational factors that influenced us. Eaon Pritchard is strategic planning director at Red Jelly Australia
- With the media industry churn and talent drain a constant issue Lucy Formosa Morgan asks why more companies aren't open to job sharing. There’s rarely a shortage of applicants for coordinator positions however when it comes to recruiting experienced middle / senior level people, the talent bank seems to dry up. Agencies can struggle to fill vacancies for months or end up having to recruit from overseas. So if we have plenty of juniors that we’re devoting time and money to training up, where are they going? Why is there such a shortage of good talent out there? Well, given 56 per cent of agency staff are female (source: MFA Dec 13), a large proportion will naturally go off and have families. Some come back for sure, be it in a full-time or part-time capacity but there are a number that don’t. Large workloads and high stress levels are endemic to this industry, so it’s not surprising that some feel this isn’t a part-time or mum-friendly industry. In 2013, 10 per cent of agency employees left the industry permanently (source: MFA), granted for a variety of reasons but still, if we could attract some of those people back, we’d be bolstering the talent and experience within the industry. With the majority of agency staff having less than 5 years’ experience, surely that’d be welcome. Having chatted to a number of friends and colleagues across the industry, this certainly isn’t limited to the agency side of the industry. Bel Cook and Fran Romano at Mamamia are case in point. They’ve in their own words ‘become one person’ – instead of splitting their patch of clients / agencies, they’re working across it together and are absolutely nailing. Part-time Generally Means Full-time It’s not uncommon that if you work 4 days a week, you end up working five, yet only getting paid for four. And with that comes the stress of a full time job. Too much stress for many, particularly when juggling all the extras that come with raising a family. If you thought you were efficient before kids, being a working mum takes efficiency to a whole new level in order to get through the workload and get home in time for the kids. As a working mum, it’s bloody hectic! With mums having the skillsets we’re looking for and being so efficient with their time, wouldn’t they be a great option to encourage back into the workforce? How Can We Get More Mums Back into Media? Why are we just accepting and letting good people go? Isn’t there something more that we can do? If companies are willing to accept the slight increase of paying two talented people working three days a week each across one role, we could bring back some of the talented people that we’ve collectively worked so hard to cultivate over the years, yet let walk away once they had kids. It gives women the opportunity to return to work without the fear that the workload or stress will break them. For those women struggling under the stress of full-time work or four days a week, maybe job sharing could be a better alternative for them too. Sure, not every media mum will nail job sharing but if you can find the right pairing, with the right skillsets, then you’re getting double the brains, experience and passion for that one role. Communication and being a team player are critical – as Bel Cook put it so succinctly: “You can’t have an ego or play the blame game if you want to job share successfully”. If the pair don’t communicate seamlessly, balls get dropped when the reins are handed over at the end of each three day block. However it can be done brilliantly, a la Bel and Fran. There’s definitely interest out there on both the sales and agency side but are businesses willing to bite the bullet and make it happen? Lucy Formosa Morgan is head of trading at media agency PHD
- With questions being raised over the integrity of some awards entries in recent weeks, former creative director Darren Woolley says scam can be as damaging for marketers as the agencies involved. Scam awards entries have come to industry attention again, following the most recent Cannes Lions Awards. In the process, several high profile advertisers have been associated with their agencies’ entries. But what are the implications for the advertiser? It is a standard response that advertisers are not really interested in creative awards. But the fact is that marketers are human and those that have healthy and close working relationships with their agencies actually enjoy seeing them being recognised, especially for work they may have created together. But when it comes to controversy such as scam ads, it is natural that marketers would prefer not to comment on these situations. The advice from their corporate affairs people would be to ignore it and hope it will go away. But the creative advertising awards business is a multimillion-dollar industry and one that can make or break an agency or creative person’s reputation with one award-winning campaign, as we all witnessed last year with Dumb Ways to Die, which won its awards entirely fairly. Award shows have tried to capitalise on building advertiser interest in creative awards by recognising advertisers themselves for the outstanding work produced by their agencies. This year at the Cannes Lions, McDonald's was awarded Creative Marketer of the Year. The more marketers they encourage to want to win creative awards, the more entries they will get, creating a virtuous circle for award organisers like Cannes Lions. [caption id="attachment_239931" align="aligncenter" width="468"] McDonald's chief brand officer Steve Easterbrook accepts the Cannes Lions award last month; Pic: Getty Images[/caption] While I'm not referring to any of the recently published examples where questions have been raised, let's be honest here; scam advertising for the purpose of winning awards is potentially fraudulent. An agency participating in this behaviour could be seen as defrauding other entrants by deliberately misrepresenting the intention or purpose of the advertising. And the marketers that stand silently by and allow their agencies to do so are guilty by association. Scam advertising is not an isolated problem. It exists in almost every market including the more mature markets like the US and the UK. It only seems particularly prevalent in Australia because of a self-critical industry culture, supported by the anonymity provided by the local trade media. So as a marketer, what should you do if your agency is suggested to have been involved in scam? Well that depends on how complicit you are. If your agency enters an ad into an award show that you the marketer has not approved then you should check the facts to make sure there was no approval before issuing a statement that condemns the behavior. The reason being is that the agency has taken advantage of your brand and brand reputation for the purposes of self-advancement. If not, you could be seen as condoning this by one of your suppliers, with the implication being that you are perhaps complicit. If you approved the ad and paid for the media for it to run then you should immediately support your agency in proving the validity of the entry. By saying nothing, it suggests that this is not the case and that in fact a fraud has been performed, with your approval. And what if an agency that is not contracted by you enters an ad that has your brand on it without your permission? Then in this case they have breached your intellectual property rights and you have recourse to prosecute them to the full extent of the law for that breach, with damages to your brand reputation possibly leading to significant compensation. Of course there are implications for the agencies and the agency personnel who participate in this type of fraud, but the risk is worth the potential rewards of winning a creative award and the associated reputation and career benefits that comes with it. But what about the advertiser? What is in it for them? I am sure there will be those in the industry, especially some advertisers, who cannot understand why a few ads are creating such a fuss, especially as creative awards are seen as having so little relevance or importance to business. But having the brand or business dragged into this is a risk no advertiser can afford to take. Sure, you can dismiss this by believing it is only minor and not important. Or even justify it on the basis that everyone does it. But who has the most to lose? In actual fact it is the marketers who do nothing that put the most at risk for themselves and their brand integrity. Darren Woolley is the principal of strategic marketing management consultants Trinity P3. He is a former creative director of JWT and was president of the Melbourne Art Directors Club
In a Q&A conducted by email, Terry Savage, chairman of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, defends the integrity of the competition and answers questions around scam ads following an investigation by Mumbrella into a series of ads from Australia entered into the Press category which ran just once in regional media.
What is your definition of scam?
"We require the work to have been approved by the client and to have used paid Media in the execution, if there is a query we get validation via the agency the client and the Media schedule that the work has run and complied within our entry rules. In the case of self promotion and NGO that is not the case."
How many campaigns were disqualified this year? If none, when was something last disqualified?
"We run a number of awards and Festivals around the world – we have withdrawn Grand Prix , Agency of the Year and individual awards Awards on a number of occasions if we find the work was not legitimate. Clearly we have a process to ascertain if the work met our rules and if a complaint is raised we investigate to ascertain confirmation from the client and request a Media schedule - We do not share that information with the Press because it is not our role to do so – we simply issue a statement that it complied or did not comply with the rules ."
[The Grand Prix which was withdrawn is understood to have been from the Dubai Lynx competition when FP7 Doha was stripped of its title.]
What do you see as the purpose of Cannes Lions?
"Cannes Lions like all of our Festivals is to promote, inspiration, learning and provide networking opportunities to our delegates attending – it also runs awards that recognise the excellence in Creativity that sets the benchmarks and shows the trends from across the planet – The fact is that they happen to be the most important and prestigious in the world be it our Global events or our regional events. Cannes being global and, Spikes, Lynx and Eurobest being regional."
What do you make of the number of 'one-off' executions which have been entered into the Press category of the Lions?
"It is not our role to make anything of them – we have a set of rules and as long as the rules are complied with then we have to rely on the good faith of the industry that what they are doing is legitimate. With this current set of issues raised by Mumbrella we have spoken to agencies and marketers and have been satisfied that the intent of the work was legitimate . The world is not black and white and strategies that are adopted to test and break new boundaries should be accepted if all parties concur that they were genuine and legitimate. Super Bowl ads run once."
Whilst the executions Mumbrella has featured in recent days have been within the rules, are they within the spirit of the competition?
"I have no need to comment on specific work that I have found to be within the rules."
Does it devalue the competition to have campaigns that are wide running to go up against one-off executions which look like they were geared towards winning an award rather than solving a client's business problem?
"The issue here is the use of the words “look like" – again it is not black and white – whatever it is rather sad that there is a focus on this issue not a focus on what this event is really about, great work, inspirational executions, brilliant insights – now that is really sensational especially when they have client approval. Even sadder perhaps is that if as much was written about the two Grand Prix winners that Australia secured at Cannes this year also approved by marketers then we would really be focusing on inspiration and great achievement."
[See more on the two GP winners here: The ANZ GAYTM campaign by Whybin\TBWA Melbourne picked up the Grand Prix in the Outdoor category of Cannes and McCann Melbourne took home a Grand Prix in the Creative Effectiveness category for its Guilt Trips campaign for v/Line]
Are the Cannes Lions rules robust enough to prevent scam?
"Are the Olympic rules strong enough to prevent drug cheats, our rules are robust, our rules are reviewed on a constant basis. In a complex marketing environment, where marketers are recognising the power of creativity and are willing to experiment with test concepts we believe the rules are adequate. As I have said however we constantly review all aspects of the business including rules."
Should there be more emphasis placed on demonstrating effectiveness, or at least answering a client brief?
"If you read the entry criteria it will show you that in several categories results are an element of the judging criteria – these are categories where this area is relevant."
How vigorously are entries scrutinised before being accepted?
"We believe we have a process that is sufficient for the job in hand."
Are any entries or winners being investigated at the moment?
"Clearly the issues raised by Mumbrella in Australia and now Mumbrella in Asia [over a winning Guinness ad] are being investigated – if queries are raised by the juries they are looked at in Cannes and the juries advised of the outcome. Frankly most of the queries raised come to nothing due to them being legitimate entries and due to mistakes being made by the complainant. We have recently received a complaint for example about an ad that was alleged not to have run – when in fact the ad in question which was sent to us, was the wrong ad."
If an agency is found to have perpetrated scam would the Lions take action? If so, what punishments would be handed out?
"As I mentioned earlier we have removed a Grand Prix for an execution that was clearly not meeting our entry criteria, we will take action if a clear case is established, what that action is will be determined at the time ."
Are you looking at reviewing or changing the rules?
"Other than our normal reviews as outlined above no."
Is the Cannes Lions festival an advertising festival or a creative festival?
"It is the Cannes International Festival of Creativity as clearly headlined in the name of the event."
Some people say the Lions turn a blind eye to scam, especially from major networks, because of the money they spend on awards. What is your response to that?
"The issue of scam has been around for a long time, in fact well before Mumbrella was around – our view is that it is less of an issue now than it has been in the past . The world we live in is an increasingly complex one, and one that is increasingly recognising the benefit of creativity – marketers have an interest in pushing the boundaries. It is not in our interests to turn a blind eye to scam – when we are asked to investigate work we check 3 key issues, the agency, the marketer and the Media. If they are aligned irrespective of what others think, it is a reasonable position for us to take the view that the work complies with our rules and is genuine ."
Given that Lions is a commercial organization how does it manage the inherent conflict between wanting as many awards entries as possible and maintaining standards?
"We have no issue at all – Mumbrella runs an editorial position, awards and events so also has to manage conflicts at a commercial level – because they do all three does not mean they place commercial over integrity albeit if you were a cynic which I am not you could draw that assumption ."
Do you have a message for people who are entering scam into awards?
"Don’t – it is not worth it – Cannes has 3000 marketers attending this year - - it is not in the interest of the agency- albeit on this occasion even though the marketers concerned have validated the work it seems no one is listening other than us."
- Terry Savage and McDonald's CMO Mark Lollback will be giving a presentation at next week's Creative Fuel event in Sydney on the topic of "what it takes to win a Lion".
- The cover of the July edition of the Australian Women's Weekly features the image of ultra-marathon bushfire survivor Turia Pitt, a move which surprised many in an industry driven by image. Editor-in-chief Helen McCabe spoke to Miranda Ward about how the cover came about, and its effect not only on the public, but also the beauty and fashion industries as we. The July cover of the Australian's Women's Weekly has done more to market "what the heart and soul of the magazine is" than anything else the magazine's editor-in-chief Helen McCabe has done in her five years at the helm. Speaking to Mumbrella about the July edition which featured Turia Pitt, a survivor of the bushfire that swept through an ultra-marathon in Western Australia's Kimberly region in September 2011, McCabe said the cover is "a really strong signal to market that this magazine is committed to Australian women, quality stories, independent journalism, long-form story telling and quality writing. "The magazine was tested by a lot of readers who not had picked it up before, it probably did more to market the magazine and what the heart and soul of the magazine is than anything else I've done in the last five years. It sent a strong message to the community about who we are and what we're doing here," said McCabe. While McCabe was unable to share sales details for the issue, citing industry policy around not releasing figures month-on-month, she did say the reach of the cover on Facebook was 2.6m. She added: "If you put the Facebook reach at that, our readership is 2.2m roughly every month, I imagine this will be substantially above that. Then you add our online site which is about 1m, and there's only 10 per cent cross over between what goes in the magazine and what's online, then your reach on this title is phenomenal and that's where the future lies. [caption id="attachment_179286" align="alignright" width="153"] McCabe[/caption] "Magazine circulation is decreasing, but the challenge for me is to make my title decline less than other titles. I have been ambitious about turning that around but in truth, I think flat is the new up, as we laugh here. If you get flat circulation it's as good as being up. Our circulation is pretty good. But like every print product we are incredibly heartened by what's going on online and in the digital format." "Knowing what I know about the sale figures, would I do it again? Yes," she added. The Bauer Media title's circulation currently sits at 451,235 according to the most recent Audit Bureau of Circulation figures for the non-weekly titles. Originally the cover wasn't planned to feature Pitt solo, McCabe explained, but rather a collection of judges for the Women's Weekly Women of the Future Scholarship competition which include Pitt, Penny Wong, Jennifer Hawkins, Lisa Wilkinson, Ann Sherry, Rachel Griffiths and Jana Wendt. McCabe explained: "We shot a cover with four of the women in it and that was really designed on who was available on the day.We had a heap of judges coming in and out and it was who could all be there at that particular time. The four of them were Penny Wong, Lisa Wilkinson, Jennifer Hawkins and Turia Pitt. "That was planned as a cover try, a long shot cover. I wasn't expecting to do it but if it worked. I was really excited on the day, I thought that could really make a great cover. But by the time I got around to doing it, Turia was in the press. She'd done a 60 Minutes interview and she was awarded compensation from the race organisers which was reportedly $10 million, but from what I understand that's a fairly substantial overstatement, it wasn't anywhere near that figure. So she became newsworthy." Images of the four judges ran on page seven of the magazine alongside McCabe's editorial and on the contents page of the magazine. "When I looked at the images again I just thought why not do her on her own because her story is so incredible and her profile is high enough, everyone knows who she is, everyone admires her. That's how it came to be," she said. "Once we saw it we all felt quite emotional about it and believed it was the right thing to do. It then required a couple of conversations with my publisher who is (Bauer Media CEO) Matt Stanton. When I talked him through it he said 'well I better come and have a look at it' and when he did come and look at it he was speechless and went 'yeah, ok lets do it'. So I didn't get any significant resistance anywhere. "There was only the one shot. We didn't shoot it for a cover, so there wasn't any choice, it was that picture or nothing. And if you look at the magazine and go inside, we've repeated the image because we didn't have a secondary image and that's how far the idea was from my mind at that stage." McCabe stressed the choice to put Pitt on the cover was about her story and relevance in the news currently. "Someone sent me a message telling me I challenge you to run a disabled person on the cover, and I thought I'm running her [Pitt] because of her story and she's relevant," she said. "She actually ticks every box of the sorts of women I put on the cover every month: she's high profile, she's fascinating, she's of substance, she's Australian, she's overcome some sort of adversity, she has a compelling story to tell and it's new, there's developments in her story and her life all the time and you're interested in what's going on. So in terms of trying to find that perfect cover person she ticks probably all of the boxes and most women on the cover every month don't. "She ticked every box, it wasn't so much about her image as a superficial consideration, it was about who she is and what she stands for. "These women don't come along very often and I'm always on the lookout for a new and interesting woman and story which will appeal to a huge story so it wasn't that tricky in many ways. She's the best story in the country right now and that's the start and stop of the decision making. "It was one of those things that you couldn't not do," McCabe added. The cover sparked responses from around Australia across social media with many women applauding the move, while international press including The Huffington Post and The Independent also covered it. "The market wants to be surprised and does want me to do different things and to test the boundaries of what makes up the suite of women in this country who are always on the covers so any opportunity I get to do something a little bit different I will grab it with both hands. But that opportunity doesn't come very often. It wasn't that difficult, it was a no-brainer." McCabe said whilst there has been a lot of positive reaction from the public, there has also been a lot of positivity from the beauty and fashion industries. "People in the beauty and fashion industry and the cosmetic industry, lots of that world has contacted me directly and indirectly and everyone is very touched by what she says about beauty because there's no doubt that she is beautiful," said McCabe. "That expression you get from her eyes, the way she holds herself, she's tall and she's thin and the way she wears clothes and the way she walks into a room - she has this presence and this aura about her that is way beyond her skin. It really does challenge you in that regard. She has something going for her that's very powerful and central to the core of her being and nothing to do with the superficiality and I think it's a strong message for women of all ages." McCabe said she "tortured" herself more over a cover featuring a photo of baby Prince George from his christening. "I did a sort of 1980s retro cover with the christening photo of baby George in an oval shape image with bunting across the top of them. I thought is everyone going to get the joke here?" she explained. "This is supposed to be fun and a throwback to a past era and I hope it doesn't fall flat. I was really worried about that, that was the craziest thing I've done and you've got to remember I've put a naked 50 year old Deborah Hutton on the cover a few years ago, so I've done some pretty interesting and risky covers already. This one in the end didn't feel that risky." McCabe is hopeful the cover will not only challenge society's view on what beauty is but also encourage other magazines to think about what stories make good covers. "I sit in enough meetings where the beauty industry says beauty is skin deep and those kinds of superficial lines are used around incredibly beautiful women and they make pronouncements of what is beauty and beauty is inner confidence and inner glow and all that kind of stuff and that's always hard to buy for average women who aren't born with high cheek bones and exotic looks," she said. "But Turia tells you that's not the case. It's not about the facade, it's about what comes from within and she glows with it. I do think she's going to have an interesting affect on this country, she's 26 and she's going to be in the public life for a long time and she's going to talk about this stuff a lot and she's going to challenge our thinking. "I do hope it does encourage other magazines to think differently about the sorts of stories that make covers." Miranda Ward
- In this guest post, awards jury veteran Matt Batten, a former ECD of Wunderman Australia, argues that the practice of scam advertising - raised by Mumbrella in recent days - hurts the whole industry. Reading from 10,553 miles away – that's 16,983km in the metric – I'd like to commend you on your dogged determination to find answers to the burning questions surrounding some of Australia's most intriguing Cannes Lions winners this year. Some say that this is the way of the world (at least our small part in it) and that creativity should be let free upon the award shows regardless of whether or not it was a legitimate response to a brief or a proactive project to help solve a genuine business problem for a real client – or a made-up ad for a brand that had no idea of its existence. Firstly, let's all acknowledge that as creative people in creative agencies in a creative industry, we want awards. More so, we need awards. On one of my soapboxes – and I have a few – I have oft conveyed my belief that awards are not the shiny pieces of alloy which with we adorn our reception desks, but that they are recognition. Recognition of a job well done plying our trade. Recognition from our colleagues, our peers, our clients, our competitors and our competitor's clients. They are somewhat essential to our business. And certainly essential to our personal progression. Every creative (and sometimes account handlers, planners and producers too) are judged by the merit of their previous work, which is shown by more than a portfolio. It is shown by a list of accolades bestowed upon us by our betters on international stages. And while we occasionally hear complaints that agencies (or more pointedly, creatives) are too fixated on awards, let us not forget that our clients also put great stock in accolades – 'Best New Product in the Convenience Food Category' or 'Voted No.1 Call Centre at the Service Industry Awards' – often displaying their shiny badges or titles in TV ads, on their websites, on packaging and in their on-hold recordings. Awards are important to everyone. They show that the bearer is exceptional at what they do. Is it any wonder that we'll go to any lengths to win them? And all of us have. We've all had those golden ideas that we know are right for the brand, those corkers that the world absolutely must see. The ones that could put us, our agency and our client in the limelight. So we try to sell it in. We try to convince the client. We even offer our services for free. There is nothing wrong with that. Every profession has the right to provide their services without charge when they see an opportunity for value of another kind. If this was taboo then the public services and charities of the world would be left destitute of marketing. Geoffrey Edelsten would never get married. We sometimes present a great idea with the sell "we've split the data so you can send this cheap pack to your lower-value segment and this high-value (and potentially award worthy) pack to your most valued 5% of customers" or even the ask "run your preferred concept across your media schedule, but can you also run this (much better) one in a few tactical impressions and we'll see how they respond?" We wheedle and strike deals in the hope of proving our ad was right. But scam – genuine scam – is not an ad. It is a practice, an act: scamming. Trying to pretend a piece of work, whether paid for or given free, is something other than it really was. Claiming a campaign was solving a genuine client problem when the client didn't even know about it. Entering a poster in outdoor media categories when it was actually a couple of A1 sheets tacked to the office wall. Producing a case study video that goes beyond polishing the story and actually embellishes to the point of fiction. Or running a half-page ad in the Rouse Hill Times on the last day before entries closed and then passing it off as a double page spread as part of a national campaign. It's fraud. A swindle. We've all heard the standard arguments against the practice: that it's unfair to compare these ideas against those that were produced in response to a real brief with real obstacles and real objectives and real client involvement; that the playing field isn't level; it diminishes the value of the awards; it makes a mockery of our profession; that it's blatant lying. All valid points. But even more valid: what if we did let scam run free? What if we said "fuck it, if we're going to celebrate creativity, then let the floodgates open"? Maybe not in the first year, but very quickly thereafter we'd see the tide of trophies shift toward the scam entries – although they would no longer be called scam because the rules now permitted them. And soon, the genuine work that helped oil the machines of client economies would recede from the stage, the blogs and the annuals. We'd all be winning awards for pet projects. Hobbies. Flights of fancy. And everybody could play. Not just people in our profession, but anyone in the world who has an idea. Plumbers, bankers, bus drivers. And yes, even clients. They could show us that they're as good at making up shit as we are. But that's fair. It's an open economy all devised to celebrate creativity, right? We'd be artists. Making whatever the fuck we wanted and getting awarded for doing so. Sound good? Then fuck off and be an artist. We're professionals who get paid by companies to solve business problems for other companies, big and small, using the tools of our trade – one of which is creativity, proven to be effective in building awareness, driving sales, and encouraging loyalty – in order for those companies to thrive, grow, increase in value, employ people, maintain economies and sometimes, hopefully, make the world a better or more interesting place with good products and services. It's bad enough that we now educate our kids with a policy of 100% positive-reinforcement. That Johnny can say 2 + 2 = 19 and be told "That's a very good answer, but let me show you a slightly different way". We already reward the next generation for 'trying' or 'not sucking as much as last time'. Do we really want to build our industry on a similar foundation of prizing those who couldn't do it for real so they made it up? The most galling part is that these alleged scams involve great ads. They could have been real. It might be hard to get the client to buy them, but that's our job. Especially if, in all our professional experience and wisdom, we know the ad is great. If you have a shit relationship with your client and they just won't run your best stuff, build a goddam relationship. Or take the idea elsewhere. There's always a way to turn your gem of an idea into a legitimate diamond. Work with your clients. Put in the hard yards. Tackle every obstacle. Not enough budget? Slice it up a different way or do a smaller run. No budget? Reduce your fee. No media spend? Find an alternative channel. Not 'on-brand'? Find a different brand. If the idea is THAT good, it'll find a home. If not now, then one day. If it's the only idea you've got, then you have bigger problems than a scam ad will solve. And worse still, as if it wasn't bad enough to scam yourself some trophies, you continue your lies and half-truths in an attempt to scam everyone else with half-baked statements – or complete silence. Don't forget you're talking to a bunch of people who do the same job as you. We know how the system works. We know how briefs, budgets, brands, media, and schedules fucking work. And awards. Stop trying to con the conmen. So Mumbrella, be the dog-with-a-bone you are. Even if you don't get to the bottom of it, it makes for very interesting subject matter for conversations with clients about our competitors. After all, if an agency is willing to defraud an industry for a bit of shiny alloy, why not an account for a large sum of cash? Matt Batten is Chief Creative Officer, UK and Regional Creative Lead, EMEA of Wunderman. He has judged awards including Cannes Direct Lions, Creative Circle, NY Caples, D&AD, B&T Awards, ADNews Awards, AWARD Awards and the ADMA Awards. He has won nine Cannes Lions including an Effectiveness Lion, a Gold, a Silver and six Bronzes. For the record, he has never submitted scam work.
- Good startups often point to their culture as a driver of their success, but Eaon Pritchard asks whether that culture can be derived without a clear strategy? Culture, in an organisational sense, is usually interpreted as the collective behaviours, attitudes and beliefs that — when mixed together — create a particular set of norms within said organisation. Obviously there can be ‘good’ culture and ‘bad’ culture. And those companies where culture eats strategy for breakfast, it is reported that this clear set of shared values and norms actually shapes the way a company operates and is a fundamental driver of the financial success of the business. A picture of this kind of strong culture features of passionate, empowered employees, deeply engaged. These are high performing teams, trusting each other, communicating authentically and powering the business towards financial growth and reaching new heights of innovation. And it all sounds plausible, especially when the usual suspects are presented as case in point. Zappos, Google, Ben & Jerry’s, Starbucks are among the most frequently mentioned. With the likes of new kids AirBnB and Uber now joining the ranks. They have dynamic, engaged leaders, organic and vibrant self directed employees, empowered to take risks and fail-fast while truly caring about making a difference in the world. Etc etc. It certainly seems plausible that culture does, indeed, eat strategy for breakfast. [The quote itself is attributed to Peter Drucker, though there’s no evidence he ever said it — other than the anecdotals of Mark Fields from Ford Motor Company, who attributed it to Drucker in a 2006 speech. Peter Drucker is on record, however, noting that culture is hard to change, therefore it’s sensible to try and work with whatever you’ve got]. So the fashionable idea is that within these kind of environments the sheer force of strong culture wills the organisation to success. Poor old strategy is relegated to a mere administrative function. My fear is that the ‘breakfast’ quote has been skunk-ified and it’s proponents are somewhat culpable of mistaking story-telling for fact. This interpretation of ‘breakfast’ is a halo effect. A halo effect being the cognitive bias in which a perception of one quality is contaminated by a more readily available quality. For example; because Kanye West is a successful pop-rapper he must therefore know something about the advertising business and should be allowed to lecture us from Cannes. In his book The Halo Effect Phil Rosenzweig describes (among nine distinct business delusions) the delusion of the wrong end of the stick. The wrong end of the stick being a halo effect that tricks us into getting causes the wrong way round. Is it that companies with a strong culture perform better? Or is it companies with clear goals and strategies to achieve those goals are the high performing or growing companies that tend to get a better culture? To paraphrase Rumelt; companies that are doing the work to uncover the critical factors in a situation and designing a way of coordinating and focusing actions to deal with those factors. Yes, culture can eat strategy for breakfast but if there’s no strategy on the breakfast table then culture will soon get pretty hungry. Does this sound conservative to you? Well, the ‘breakfast’ lobby does appear to be the voice of the new digital business. Purpose before profit right? After all, we are now part of the sharing economy, one that ‘could just save the least advantaged from ravages of capitalism’ according to poster child and ‘culture driven’ TPG private equity funded Airbnb. Where presumably culture is eating strategy for breakfast. I side with Rushkoff on this one. ‘[Silicon Valley start-ups] claiming to be saving the world, when they’re really just the latest generation of desperate yuppies chasing capital and,in turn, reinforcing Wall Street’s monopoly over our society. Digital business is revolutionary only in the way it camouflages business as usual.’ I’ll leave the last word to Daniel Patrick Moynihan, sociologist and former Democratic Senator for New York. “The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.” If business is really going to contribute to a better world then we’re best advised to focus on providing better strategy for culture to eat. Eaon Pritchard is strategic planning director for Red Jelly Australia
- Wicked Campers has been in the midst of a media controversy over the last few days. Sebastian Vasta takes a look at how the brand could better manage the online and media crisis. The latest cry to end Wicked Campers’ misogynist toilet humour is certainly not the first time the budget backpacker van company has been in trouble. But it’s certainly the loudest the online outrage has ever been. The vitriol has gone viral, and been picked up by mainstream media around Australia – and internationally, with media monitoring service iSentia recording a total of 133 syndicated stories or pieces since Sunday across 61 different news outlets. This time, it would seem that the brand won’t be able to shrug off its breaches of advertising standards, the Code of Ethics, and common decency. That’s been the pattern to date: Provoking and then shrugging off. That’s what a pubescent, bogan, troublemaking yob would do... and that’s exactly how this brand wants its target audience to see it. Because mocking women, homosexuals, or other races is fun, isn’t it? This brand needs to change. They say the first step to solving a problem is to admit you have a problem. But that’s just it. The Wicked Campers brand persona is the unapologetic yob. They love the furor. It’s on brand. It’s on message. It’s what they think they need to do to sell horribly sunburnt backpackers some wheels for the summer. But now the Wicked yob’s time is finally up. So what happens next? The company’s response that we’ve seen so far has been to take their Facebook page offline for a while, then bring it back without the ability to post on the Timeline, and having censored the rest of the comments. Neither Facebook nor Twitter has a post within the last week. That’s not a response. Wicked Campers, you need to be taking swift action to save yourself. That means meeting the online storm head on with a positive message. And sure guys, you can still target “the youth” if you want. But you’d better find a new way to flog your “tourist time bombs” to them. Here are five things Wicked Campers needs to do right now - like, yesterday - to salvage their business online: 1. Stop being silent online. Sure they've given some media interviews, but you’re selling to Millennials who live online. You’ve enraged plenty of the ‘older’ crowd on social media too. Shutting down your Facebook page is the online equivalent of screaming with your hands over your ears. And that’s too immature - even for a teenage brand. Instead, publicly apologise for your continued insensitivity. Say it in the style of your vans, if you want. Spray-paint “We ****ed Up” all over the internet. 2. Commit to re-spraying every single camper immediately. You need to back up your apology with an action that shows you mean it. Make a statement online, now, about starting again with the paintjobs, and keep social media updated on your progress. Big job, sure. But it's what people want – and the rebranding is also necessary. Even the kids who were idiotic enough to think the ‘slut’ van was a laugh will think it’s uncool now. Your fleet of mobile billboards just became constant reminders of bad news. 3. Invite the online audience to suggest better slogans. Look, we get it, the slogans worked for you. They gave the brand its personality. And some of them were actually funny and not offensive. We also get the market you’re selling to and what can happen on road-trips around Australia. We’re not that old. But there’s a way to tap into the party vibe of an endless summer in our stunning country without racism and boob jokes. You can use slogans to give your new brand its personality too. And you can find them from within your audience. It’s not a tacky competition, there’sno free hire to win (it’s cheap enough already). It’s a chance to make those mobile billboards actually stand for something positive. 4. Bear the brunt of the backlash. You might be saying we’re crazy to suggest a social media campaign. Won’t that just invite all the people you’ve pissed off to tweet a bitchy suggestion? Yep. That’s exactly what’s going to happen. You need to prepare for that and meet it head on with positive messaging that shows you’re not walking away from what you’ve done, and moreover you’re serious about making amends. You can’t ignore what’s being said about you. You’ve always tried to be atypical and show you understand a young audience. Now’s your chance to be an atypical brand and actually be open to criticism. Not all of the suggestions will be appropriate, but with the right responses you’ll go some ways to turning anger into a more positive outcome, even advocacy. 5. Make friends, not enemies, with support groups. These “right responses” should link to appropriate information, resources that combat domestic violence, misogyny, discrimination. You’ve earned scorn from many corners. But to really show you’ve changed, you need to partner with some of the organisations you’ve offended. Yes, there will be a few awkward phone calls. Call it your penance, and suck it up. You’re an international company that has a direct line to an impressionable but hard-to-reach generation. And you’ve been using that power to spread what message? Instead, you could be doing real good among your target market by connecting them with positive education, even help. Instead of encouraging unacceptable behaviour, why not get involved in catching it and stamping it out? You get messages and photos all the time showing what fun people are having in your vans. Find a way to reward and celebrate positive content, while still being true to your audience. You’re facilitating their experience of a lifetime. You can help them learn from it, too. It can be done. A serious message doesn’t make your brand uncool. Movember (and its sponsors) started introducing younger age groups to both moustaches and the topic of depression over a decade ago, and I’m pretty sure that’s even before the current crop of hipsters started growing facial hair. You can – no, you need to help advance the perception of the many people you’ve wronged. You know, most people on the planet. Back up these positive messages by donating a percentage of each rental to a charity of the hirer’s choice. Donate to these organisations with (roadworthy) vans, the interiors of which you’ve customised for their work. Do whatever you can to build up these relationships. Start making this happen now, and don’t put a time limit on when you’ll stop. Sebastian Vasta is a social strategist for online community and social media management agency Quiip
After the ABC unveiled its first round of cuts after having its funding cut in the last budget Ben Goldsmith of the Queensland University of Technology looks at how it might look in the future, in this cross-posting from The Conversation.
Monday’s announcement that the ABC will make 80 positions redundant is just the latest move in an enforced process of change to the public service broadcaster. It has a long way yet to run.
The announcement finally put the lie to Tony Abbott’s election eve pledge, live on national television, that there would be “no cuts to the ABC or SBS”. In concert with other recent announcements, it seems clear that public broadcasting – and in particular the ABC – is squarely in the government’s sights.
The cuts are hardly surprising, except perhaps in their severity. They have been on the cards since January, when Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull appointed former Seven Network executive Peter Lewis to conduct an efficiency study of the ABC and SBS.
Turnbull said then that the aim of the review was to find “back office savings”.
Leaks from the report, handed to the Minister in June, suggest that Lewis recommended dramatic changes including selling off the ABC’s production studios, shutting down digital radio channels, charging for some iView content and co-housing the two public service broadcasters.
It is difficult to see how these changes, if adopted, will not affect the broadcasters’ public-facing aspects, including programming and diversity of services.
The prospect of major changes to the ABC and SBS were clearly flagged in May.
The first indication came with the public release of the National Commission of Audit’s report, which recommended that the public service broadcasters:
be independently benchmarked, both against each other and the commercial broadcasters, to determine whether it would be possible to achieve efficiencies and savings without compromising their capacity to deliver services including to remote and rural Australia.The Commission acknowledged the funding pressures facing the public broadcasters. But drawing on data from the 2013-14 Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, the Commission also graphed the “strong growth” in the ABC’s base funding, from around A$750 million in 2007-08 to around A$880 million in 2013-14. The message to Treasury was clear: “cut here”. Less than a fortnight later, the Treasurer announced the ABC and SBS’s base funding would be reduced by A$43.5 million over four years. This was not the half of it; the Budget Papers ominously prefaced the detail of the “efficiency savings” with the note that this was merely a “down payment” on the Lewis Efficiency Study. In early June, in the same week he launched a Parliamentary Friends of the ABC group, the Communications Minister suggested the broadcasters had got off lightly. This was but a small crumb of comfort. Turnbull indicated that deeper cuts were on the horizon, declaring that “the age of entitlement” for public service broadcasters was over. The ABC was also stripped of the Australia Network international television service contract in the Budget. As I wrote at the time, this will save the government A$196.8 million over the next nine years – but the real cost of the decision will be far higher. Australia Network broadcasts will cease by September, although it is understood broadcasts will continue to the Pacific for six hours a day. The substance of the changes In his response to the Budget, ABC Managing Director Mark Scott said the funding cuts would “regrettably and inevitably result in redundancies and a reduction in services”. Monday’s announcement gave shape to that prognosis. The budget for ABC International, the department of the ABC that oversees the Australia Network, will be cut from A$35 million to A$15 million. Up to 80 staff in Radio Australia, the Australia Network and the Asia Pacific News Centre – most of whom are based in Melbourne – will lose their jobs. The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance is pressing the ABC not to concentrate the redundancies in ABC International, and to pursue voluntary redundancies where possible. All of the redundancies announced yesterday are understood to be non-voluntary. What’s next? Scott is also preparing to unveil a broader internal restructure of the ABC, known as Project 21, in response to the cuts to base funding. Changes also loom at the level of the ABC board. One position is currently vacant, and two further appointments will be made next year. Given the paramount role that the Board plays in allocating resources and formalising the ABC’s Charter responsibilities, these appointees will determine how the cuts and efficiencies will change the ABC in the longer term. Earlier this month, arch conservative commentator Janet Albrechtsen and former deputy Liberal leader Neil Brown were appointed to the four-person panel that will oversee the selection of new Board members. The panel was established under the first Rudd government with the intention of depoliticising appointments following the Howard government’s attempts to stack the ABC board with conservative ideologues including Albrechtsen herself, Keith Windschuttle and Michael Kroger. When Albrechtsen and Brown were announced as members of the nomination panel, Malcolm Turnbull quickly distanced himself from the decision. The Communications Minister is acutely aware of the signals that the announcement sends about political influence over the Board appointments. But he is also supportive of the appointment of Board members who have commercial rather than broadcasting experience. And despite his confident declarations to the contrary, cuts to programming and services appear inevitable. It remains unclear how the ABC will meet its Charter obligations in international broadcasting, and in the provision of digital media services in particular. The funding cuts and the new appointments will undoubtedly change the culture and practice of the ABC over time. This week’s jobs announcement gives some indication of how those changes will play out – but we are yet to see how far they will go.
Ben Goldsmith is Senior Research Fellow in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI) and is currently working on an Australian Research Council Linkage grant (Australian Screen Content in Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Education: Uses and Potential) in which the ABC is an industry partner. He does not work for the ABC.This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
Adland is an industry that likes to give back. Today, we're asking you to help us find this dog.
You can find out more about Windblown Dog's history below:
- Press Lions yield two Silvers and a Bronze for Australia
- Outdoor wins at Cannes Lions
- Agencies won't say where cannes Lions award-winning print ads ran
- Cannes Lions: Winning ads were legitimate but it's inappropriate to say where they ran
- Media agency did not book Panasonic's Cannes Lions winning ad campaign
- Second search for Cannes Lions winning Panasonic and McDonald's ad campaigns draws a blank
- Terry, Richard and Mark: Tell me, are these winning Australian ads actually scam?
- An open letter to the staff of Saatchi & Saatchi and DDB Sydney
- Award winning McDonald's campaign ran in Rouse Hill Times
- Marketers should stop using Facebook as a mass reach tool and start thinking about conversions not conversations argues Jack Smyth. Forget conversations – the future of Facebook is forensic By now you’re probably sick of the same articles recycling the same Facebook statistics. Over 12 million Australian users, spending on average 8.5 hours every week and so on. We all know Facebook offers massive reach. But judging by the poorly targeted ads I see in my feed few Australian brands have mastered the massive amounts of data Facebook generates every day. And when I say massive, I mean it. Take the New York Stock Exchange for example. It generates roughly one terabyte of structured trading data every day of trading. One terabyte is the equivalent of 10 billion emails. That’s a mind-numbing figure and you’d expect that from one of the world’s leading stock exchanges. But here’s where it gets interesting – Facebook generates at least 500 times that amount every day. That’s five trillion emails. In one day. An enormous treasure trove of data is being created right in front of our eyes and Facebook wants to make it easier for brands to share in the spoils. Their latest tool is Audience Insights and if you’re not using it you’re missing the true potential of Facebook. Audience insights The Audience Insights (AI) tool was announced in May. I already use it at least once a day to dig deeper into Facebook’s data stream. AI gives you a glimpse of the future of Facebook. It pulls together much of the information that was already available through existing tools like Ad Manager or Power Editor in one place. With added behavioural data though it allows you make your media more effective. AI allows you to break down your audience – whether it’s your fan base, custom audience or potential customers – and save out certain segments to target. I’ve found AI works best in tandem with Facebook’s other targeting tools, such as Custom Audience. We recently ran a coffee promotion that attracted close to 40,000 unique entries. We created a Custom Audience based on their coffee order so we could re-target them with more relevant offers. With AI I can see how frequently our flat white drinkers comment on posts, their interests, professions, device behaviour and more. All of this extra data helps develop more relevant ads. We don’t talk to coffee drinkers anymore – we talk to working mums in NSW who love lattes. If you’re still blasting your audience with basic targeting you’re missing the true potential of Facebook. And you better get up to speed quick – because you can be certain the best has yet to come. Forensic Facebook AI shows you the future of Facebook. In the US you can layer purchase behaviour and brand affinity from third party providers like Personicx on top of Facebook data. Richer data on household income, lifestyle and even political disposition is not yet available in Australia but points to a far more forensic approach to Facebook data. Pumping in age, location and a few interests won’t cut it anymore. Smarter brands are already coupling Facebook data with their own CRM and undercutting generic targeting. The implications on brands We’ve all read the articles about the ‘new’ pay to play model for Facebook. We’ve heard the outrage about organic reach. Let’s be clear - Facebook is a media channel. It gives you the data you need to place the most relevant ad in front of the most relevant consumer at the most relevant time. Stop thinking in terms of conversations – think conversions. Your data will give you an edge. Take the time to look at the assets you have on hand: database, sales history, web traffic and more. Now you need a strategy on how to combine them with Facebook’s tools for real results. As Facebook seeks to pull more money away from traditional channels these tools will only evolve and become more effective. Brands need to get to grip with them now and put their data to use, before a competitor scores a conversion first. Jack Smyth is social strategist at Slingshot.
- With US streaming site Netflix poised to enter the Australian market next year Andrianes Pinantoan from Pocketbook crunched some numbers to see try and ascertain what the local pay-TV market already looks like now.
Netflix is set to enter the Australian market, but that doesn’t stop a few enterprising Australians from accessing it now. Actually, it’s more than a few.
The article we linked to said up to 200,000 Australians signed up with the service. There are also many anecdotes about the popularity of Netflix in Australia in the forums and social media. So we decided to look deeper into the subject based on an anonymised study of 21,000 people who use Pocketbook to manage their finances.
Let’s start with the basics: stat 1 – market share.
Our study found Netflix to be the second most popular paid-content media company in Australia, despite the fact that they are not officially available here and that they are actively geo-blocking Australians. Here’s a breakdown of the market (click on the image to get a bigger picture):
That’s right. Netflix owns 27% of the Australians currently using media subscription or rental services. And as you can see, they’ve tripled in size from just 9.88% in January 2013.
But the growth didn’t come at the expense of the local dominant player: Foxtel. The growth came from the old-world end of the market: rentals and to a lesser extent, local clone – Quickflix.
I should note here that the graph is based on the number of users (popularity) as opposed to dollars spent (revenue). And that means it doesn’t take into account metrics such as:
- The number of transactions per customer. For example, if a person frequents Blockbuster twice a month for a year – we’ll count them only once.
- How long Netflix, Foxtel and Quickflix customers are subscribed for. See below for explanation.
- The fees they charge. Netflix might be growing in popularity in Australia but they charge around $10 a month. Foxtel, on the other hand, can charge more than $100.
How long did the subscribers stay?The next stat of importance is how long subscribers stay with a particular service? This is a good indicator of how satisfied they are with the particular service. But there’s a catch with calculating average subscription length. If Service ABC has been around for 10 years and Service XYZ has been around for one year. Let’s say users of ABC stayed for an average of half the time and users of XYZ stayed for the whole time. ABC in this case would still appear to be doing better than XYZ because ABC would have an average subscription length of five years. Where XYZ would only be one year. To do the right comparison, we need to do what is called a cohort analysis. That is, of users who start a service (sign up) in a particular month, how long did they stay for? In the example above, we would look at only people who subscribed to ABC and XYZ with the same time period – to compare the two “cohort”. So what we might see is that ABC only has an average subscription length of six months and XYZ, one year. So we did that analysis for Foxtel, Netflix and Quickflix. Here’s the data (our last date in the sample is 31 June 2014): As you can see, Netflix users stay around the longest and Quickflix the shortest. Australians who signed up to Netflix in January 2014 stayed, on average, for 110 days (roughly 3 months, 20 days). Those who signed up to Foxtel during the same period stayed for slightly less than 80 days (2 months 20 days). Another point is that given the effort it takes to set up Netflix in Australia, namely the research and setting up of a VPN service, there is more incentive to keep subscribing given the sunk cost. Quickflix appears way down the list as unlike Foxtel and Netflix, they also offer once-off purchases of premium programmes. And it appears a lot of people bought these once, and never went back.
Market Share vs GrowthThis is such an important note, I have to point it out to avoid any confusion. It is absolutely possible for a company to grow, yet have a shrinking market share. That happens when the overall market is growing. The company is enjoying that growth, but at a slower pace than its competitors. So the fact that you’re seeing Quickflix’s market share decrease in this dataset doesn’t mean the company is in trouble. In fact, it might be subscribing more users than ever. And the fact that Foxtel has a steady market share doesn’t mean they are not growing in profitability. In fact, what this graphs shows is that the company has consistently grabbed 50% of overall market. It just so happens that Netflix is getting more of the growing pie than they do, remarkably without any Australian marketing or formal Australian servicing channel. It will be interesting to see how this develops. Who do you think will come to dominate the industry? *This study didn’t include iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Pandora and Xbox purchases. Our sample size is 21,000+ Australians consumers only from the Pocketbook Consumer Spending Series Reports. Foxtel has a lot of business subscribers – company kitchens, meeting rooms and bars – they would be excluded from the sample. Andrianes Pinantoan is head of growth for Pocketbook. See the original article here.
- In this cross-posting from The Conversation Matthew Wade argues the return of Family Feud shows Australia's TV networks are not interested in testing their audiences intellectually.
Family Feud returns to our television screens tonight as part of Ten’s desperate scramble to remain a viable entity, and is scheduled to compete with Seven and Nine’s main news bulletins at 6pm.
[caption id="attachment_238038" align="alignright" width="234"] Wade[/caption]
For those unfamiliar, Feud’s format is based upon identifying the most popular responses to survey questions, essentially rewarding “inside-the-box” thinking. Prizes accrue by “knowing” what everyone else knows. Forget general knowledge – just be general.
Does Feud’s reincarnation speak to a broader cultural malaise of celebrating mediocrity? Case in point from Ten’s contestant call for Feud:
Name something you pull up. If you said ‘pants’ you guessed the top answer! 58 out of 100 guessed ‘pants’ too!To be fair, there is humour to be found in this format, but one that is necessarily of the broadest kind. Consider that when Feud returns it will take back the mantle of Australia’s longest running primetime game show still on the air from Seven’s Deal or No Deal. Last year Deal sailed past a staggering 2,000 episodes, of which Andrew O’Keefe hosted every single damn one. I thought we had labour laws against such dehumanising monotony. Anyway, though Deal is now airing in repeats and no new episodes are currently being produced its curious longevity nevertheless paints a sorry picture of game shows in Australia. There is something painfully telling in recognising that a format based entirely on dumb luck, basic probability and gross avarice only began to show its age after 11 years. “Champions” on Deal are ultimately made through vice, for the format entails that the only way to win the grand A$200,000 prize requires a final gamble, risking in a single decision vast, potentially life-changing sums of money, say, around A$100,000 in one particular case: It is difficult to think of any other venue where an individual could behave as such and not be met with universal derision and scorn. It’s hard to argue with 2,000-plus episodes in the can though. Prior to its (re-)cancellation in 2012 The Price is Right held the honour of longest-running game show still airing. Indeed the format’s clever incorporation of brand names into quirky games succeeded for a long time, but now seems embarrassingly dated. Guessing, for instance, whether hair clips are more expensive than shaving cream suggests an idea conceived by Don Draper and targeted at Betty. Hair clips or shaving cream? Pick a gold briefcase and cross your fingers. Our survey said “pants”. These formats have dominated the Australian game show landscape for decades. Yes, I am being an insufferable grump. Andrew O’Keefe is certainly likeable, Family Feud does have the promise of laughs for all ages, and The Price is Right found a way to inject fun and suspense into our everyday consumption habits. Still, does there have to be such a discord between meaningful talent and reward? Can the right set-up measure some quality worth having, worth celebrating? Can we take comfort in knowing that a contestant’s victory is – at least in some limited way – earned by way of virtuous talent? Sure. Indeed the most intellectually challenging game shows often feel no compulsion to provide lavish prizes. Rather, the public confirmation of one’s capabilities is deemed to be sufficient compensation. Contestants on the grey-matter stimulating Letters and Numbers (sadly “rested” in 2012) received a Macquarie dictionary, a token gesture symbolic of their erudition. Would there be any value in similarly playing Price, Deal, or Feud solely for pride? The suggestion is absurd as these constructs do not provide anything meaningful upon which to hang a sense of achievement. A million monkeys with a million gold briefcases would amount to an awful lot of Deal champions, the most decidedly “average” punter you know would likely make for an ideal Feud contestant, and the skilled Price player probably reads too much junk mail. Yet as viewers we admire the successful contestants of knowledge-based game shows not because the trivia questions matter in and of themselves, but rather because the ability to consistently answer them suggests a concerted engagement with the world, an accessible display of rigour and discipline in search of wisdom. Winners of these testing contests do not chance upon victory, rather their success constitutes – albeit within a small prism – the work of a lifetime. Many of our popular game show formats past and present only slake the affective and emotional aspects of game show appeal, disguising the banality of their setups behind garish set designs, host shtick, and oversized cheques. Even Eddie McGuire’s Millionaire has only survived through a heavy injection of luck and musical chairs into its format. Million Dollar Minute is a rare exception to this trend of celebrating mediocrity and vice, here’s hoping Feud doesn’t cut into its audience share. This is a long shot, but if Ten insists on dredging up tired vessels then why not bring back University Challenge? Sadly, an Australian version ran for just a few years in the 80s on the ABC. Challenge’s return could be especially enlivening to our pop culture landscape given that the long-running British version is where so many future public intellectuals first appeared on our screens – Clive James, Stephen Fry, Christopher Hitchens, Sebastian Faulks, and The Wizard of New Zealand, to name a few – and recent champions are widely feted for their astounding capabilities. Pants chance of that happening though. Family Feud premieres at 6pm tonight on Channel 10. Matthew Wade is a PhD student in Sociology at the Australian National University. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
Phone: 02 9326 9122
Suite 902 / 2-14 Kings Cross Road
Potts Point, NSW, 2011 Australia
- The art of prediction
- Wanted: Four Melbourne media agencies MDs
- ‘Grant Denyer’ from Petersham comes clean about his TV ratings box
- George Clooney and NANA has a new phone number
- A mighty albatross perched majestically between my thighs
- Darius Boyd’s News Corp cake award
- On your high horse
- Walkleys and Kennedys go head to head
- Chris on ABC creates Promise Tracker unit to monitor Abbott government’s pledges
- Matthew Eeles on Paramount Pictures removes controversial Australian 9/11 Ninja Turtles poster from social media
- jimbo on McDonald’s CMO Lollback: Questioning our Press Lions win is tall poppy syndrome
- Kanye Wept on McDonald’s CMO Lollback: Questioning our Press Lions win is tall poppy syndrome
- Benross on Poster for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles September 11 film opening shows heroes plunging from New York skyscraper
- Janet Munday on MyPlates encourage women to ‘man proof’ their cars with ‘Le Chic’ range of plates
- fraser on Comprehensive review raises questions over nine of 20 Australian Press Lions entries
- Anonymous on MyPlates encourage women to ‘man proof’ their cars with ‘Le Chic’ range of plates
- UI/UX Designer, REF: 8450
- Design Director, REF: 8477
- Design Director, REF: 8481
- Creative Director, REF: 8484
- Partnerships Account Manager (Parental Leave Position)
- Senior UI Web Designer-Great Work/Life balance
- Senior Designer, REF: 8485
- Marketing & Communications Manager
- Design Director, REF: 8494
- Senior UI Web Designer -Digital Agency-Great Work/Life balance!
- Anytime Fitness and Odysseus Publishing launch content partnership
- Screen Queensland appoints new head of development and production as it farewells two executives
- News Corp Australia announces 2014 Spikes Asia Australian Jurors
- Queensland Rail donates external ad space to Guide Dogs Qld
- Creative director Oz Dean joins We Are Social
- M&C Saatchi appoints Emma-Kate Dobbin as social content director
- Kieren Cooney appointed to managing director of DDB Group Sydney
- Branding by Air partners with Exetel for Australia’s ‘largest ever aerial brand campaign’
- Terry, Richard and Mark: Tell me, are these winning Australian ads actually scam?
With 107 comments
- MyPlates encourage women to 'man proof' their cars with 'Le Chic' range of plates
With 103 comments
- Award winning McDonald's campaign ran in Rouse Hill Times
With 91 comments
- An open letter to the staff of DDB Sydney and Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney
With 83 comments
- Hundreds of competition entrants left angry after they were unable to buy a Jeep
With 65 comments
- 25 things that have changed about journalism during my quarter century as a hack
With 58 comments
- MyPlates 'upset' after ad watchdog receives more than 350 complaints against latest campaign
With 47 comments
- Terry Savage defends debated Cannes Lions entries saying 'Super Bowl ads run once'
With 46 comments
- Terry, Richard and Mark: Tell me, are these winning Australian ads actually scam?