Thursday, 28 October 2010

In Praise of the Times Paywall...

So a heading i was not expecting to write but i saw an interesting tweet from a very clever media observer analyst who i used to work (Peter Kirwan)with Latest Nielsen stats of the decline in the Times readership since paywall went up. Now a few caveats before i give some praise - the stats are not very robust, essentially estimates in many cases, we have no idea how many free trials, promotional access etc are included in numbers and have no real comprehension of revenue therefore derived. And critically as a significant recruitment advertiser on times/sundaytimes online - we have seen response absolutely hammered and have therefore moved spend towards competitors. The recruitment part of this was not so much mismanaged as not even taken into consideration and NI probably are still not that bothered by this.

Anyway....this was supposed to be blog to praise, so here goes

1. I thought the figs would be much much worse. only 43% decline to front page views, total of 362,000 uniques per month. My gut  detailed analysis told me that nobody would register, let alone pay for content that was pretty much freely available elsewhere (BBC, Guardian, Telegraph).
2. If a decent proportion of this number were paying even £1 or £2 a week - it makes it revenue positive i would think compared to ad revenue - CPM rates are showing no sign of inflation at present and CTRs remain low.
3. I firmly believe that  users cannot expect this stuff for free in future - i love free content, and consume it and never pay for anything but the business model of providing a high quality product, investing heavily and giving it away free, relying on ad revenue does not have any commercial future. So lets applaud attempt at a different business model rather than slam it for impertinence.
4. Anecdotally - i now buy the print Times semi regularly (2-3 times a week) as i cannot access the content elsewhere. I am now an officially ex Guardian/Telegraph reader, as i can view their content via Ipad, laptop, desktop which is me pretty much covered.

So in summary - it will be fascinating to see more robust stats and to see what will happen and what competitors will also do but i can assure you that if they do make a success of it - everyone will be very quickly changing their tune and you will see paywalls flying up everywhere (should insert pun on wall building here but cant bring myself to crow bar it in!)

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

A Lesson in Parking Your Prejudices

I should be blogging about fish4 take over by Trinity but i can't think of anything much interesting to say. I truly hope that they manage to resurrect a painfully neglected brand but think that it will be a very tough job.

Instead - i wanted to highlight something else - as a SME business owner - i have come to accept almost as truth that the public sector is unmotivated, inefficient, lazy and much too big. I know that's not really the case but with the cuts coming - it has become almost a mantra that jobs, services, departments need to be closed for the greater good and it will be strong medicine but etc etc...
So private sector good - public sector bad - all day every day at moment.
And then you have personal experience which turns the abstract into the concrete.
My mother is quite old and not very well at all and she has been going from hospital to home and back again for last few years - my brother and I (Top Tip - if you want to be well looked after in your old age - have daughters not useless sons) reached a point when we had to make a decision about what to do on permanent basis yesterday.
The meet up was organised by Kelly Hierons who is an SDS for Essex CC(essentially looking after the social care element) and attended by Melissa who was looking after the health element of the equation for the Health Authority, the two of us, my mum and her best friend. All i can say is - Melissa and Kelly were brilliant - they were so focused on getting things right for my mother and were endlessly patient, caring, helpful and efficient. They were clearly hugely motivated by the desire to help people in very distressing circumstances in what must be a hugely difficult job. Needless to say - i felt i would have lasted about 2 days trying to do a job like that.

Anyway - the welfare state, NHS, Education system are such easy things to criticise them until you really need them when suddenly you become extremely grateful this apparatus exists - and i will try to remember that in the future when moaning about taxes, council tax etc.

Monday, 4 October 2010

And now for some good news - OME Sep 2010

Sep 2010 was OME's best ever month in terms of billings (we are up about 45% year on year so far in 2010) - not sure if this is of much interest or relevance to anyone else - but its my blog so if you cant be a bit full of yourself on your own blog then when can you?
Interestingly - though social media and PPC show greatest growth (mainly fee led) - our spend on jobboards is showing a large increase.
This is why we have to remember in this industry (digital recruitment) not to get too ahead of the curve - the value is in many cases - doing the established, trusted digital executions well - while low cost piloting the more cool interesting things. Take your clients with you - show them what digital can do for them - and don't burn a lot of their money on stuff where you will be learning as much as them.
I probably say that too many times and i am beginning to bore even myself.