Thursday, 5 March 2009

ITV selling off Friendsreunited

Just adding some rather random thoughts to this story (ITV pay £150-175m for something that is now worth £2.50)
  • It is so rare to find an acquisition that goes right isn't it? (a round of applause for DMGT's purchase of Jobsite though!). The typical story tends to be large corporate has strategy vacuum but feels the need to do something. Consultants are employed and feel the need to recommend something. Both of these end up with "lets go out and acquire something"
  • Now just possibly this acquisition's main purpose is for the page 1-3 story in FT of the announcement that indicates that company is getting all web - e-commerce - international - moving up supply chain (delete as appropriate)
  • After Day 1 - the company then have to think "what the hell are we going to do with this"
  • In FriendsReunited - it was lets stick a job board on it - and dating - and classifieds. That must have taken about 5 mins to come up with!
  • Execution in all areas - pretty appalling - and short term view taken so parts are closed down
  • Almost from Day 1 - the site is completely engulfed by better technology - proper Web 2.0 and presumably a complete lack of inspiration to pick up the challenge from ITV
  • In all likelihood - all the board who bought it (and consultants who advised buying it) have moved on and it can be safely binned
  • They have announced that would be prepared to sell it for £50m - any takers? - no - didn't think so - it would be like buying 34 year old crocked footballer who was once a star player - so ITV better hope Newcastle or West Ham are in the market. I cant imagine what the true value would be - but not a great deal for a product in terminal decline that does not have an established revenue stream.
  • I saw this quote in one of the pieces "Last year ITV claimed Friends Reunited had doubled its monthly unique users to 5.5m after switching from subscriptions to an ad-funded model" - 5.5m monthly uniques - really?? - it may be true but does anyone know anyone who has been on this site for the last 3 years?


jamie leonard said...

I love this post. Genuin, insightful, passionate. And you've managed to insult ITV, FR, The FT, consultants in general,westham and Newcastle all in one post. You remind me of a young Jamie Leonard. Great post mate.

domsumners said...

yes - but it is all so predictable isnt it - dont you remember when they bought it thinking - thats a bit of an odd one - it was all about the localisation/personalisation of content - it must have looked marvelous on a flip chart at McKinseys

richard said...

I think the fact that it charged people to register was responsible for it ultimately losing almost 50%of it's users to other sites. It also looked cheap, had terrible functionality, and was largely used by people to look up old squeezes to either

a)try to have sex with them again or

b)stalk and/or kill them

This, combined with the surge of free social networking sites (myspace/bebo/facebook and of course twitter) hasn't really helped their cause.

Jamie said...

It's a dog with flee's and wont make dollar 1 again (that will def come back to bite me at some point) but it's a shame as they had some pretty cool ways of understanding their user base, rather than just Derby, Engineering, A Level +.

It should be a lesson to the big media groups; be careful what you buy and when you do, do something with it.