Monday, 26 July 2010

Back to basics

Things seem to be moving so fast now eChannel owners have finally realised that they need to understand the digital channel as the massive P&L it has become. This requires hardcore business discipline and things like web analytics needs to start to become a core part of everything that the eChannel owner does (you've got to know exactly what your largest channel is up to and what you can do to further improve it). The good news is that the digital channel can provide a lot of data and more opportunities to use it than with other channels, but with this increased opportunity comes the challenge of how to focus on what is really important and build your data / analytics capability.

Whilst there is a lot being written and said on this subject little of it is easily understood and is often written by the experts for the experts. Time has come now for this space to demystify what it does and start to focus on the question: how are we going to identify meaningful data and turn this into insight / make decisions from it? A bit like the shift in focus towards web analytics prompted by channel scale this question is going to be more easily answered by those with the hardcore analytics and insight expertise and few companies can provide both.

Good news - I will have some more on this subject in the not too distant future so watch this space / expect an update from me shortly.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Paid or free?

I've been picking up on lots of debate about whether or not e-newspaper content should be paid for or free. It seems to me that the answer is probably 'either'.

Newspapers have to make money as they are (trying to be) profit making organisations. One way or another their online business model has to try to achieve this goal. Taking a little look back on how we got here might help. Initially the internet brought loads of information and news to billions for free, even a lot of newspapers simply jumped online and put their content out there (some notable early movers went into the subscription model). Obviously people grew to expect news for free (or at a greatly reduced cost) and the newspapers moved to advertising focused models to try and make some money. To make even more money out of this ad model most put some form of subscription or data collection process in place partly to help get more targeted ad models up and running to try and get more of a premium. Some are now suggesting this is still something they want to do but on top of some kind of paid content model as well. And here we are today with the next big debate on which model works best.

Now I am not a media expert, by any means, but it seems to me that what would help is some good old fashioned business modelling and research with a dose of honest answers to that old question, what are our core competencies and strategic assets (what are we good at / could we use to be good at)? Essentially the newspapers wanting to charge for their content are actually only really trying to apply their offline newspaper model online i.e. you pay for a newspaper and companies pay to advertise in it.

There is also a value : volume model to debate here. If you make the content free but get really good and clever about how you advertise can you command even higher premiums yet get to higher volumes of content consumption as well? The answer is undoubtedly yes but how to operate this sophisticated ad / content model is the difficult question.

Ultimately this debate isn't really needed as the newspapers are taking different approaches to this challenge and we will see if there is a right or wrong answer. I still think the likely answer is that either model works - it will just depend on how effectively they implement them. Partly this will come down to their global or domestic focus, but they need to be clear on what they want to achieve and their e-strategy will also need to be very clear as well.

Good luck media friends - I hope you make some money out of which ever path you choose and keep providing us with great content.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Thought for the week

In this fast paced ever changing world it is important to remember that...

"The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time." American President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

It is also important to remember that our part in that future is in our control. If we think clearly and give ourselves the time we need we are likely to make the best for ourselves and enjoying tomorrow even more when it comes.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Thought for the week

Cheese'tastic thought this week but it's highly appropriate to a number of things I am doing at the moment. In digital we are used to pushing boundaries and not being afraid of giving ourselves and others challenging goals, that's after all what people where doing when they sent the first email in 1971 or when the first banner was served in 1994. This digital thing is getting on a bit now but many more boundaries still need to be broken before it can even reach adolescence so let's keeping setting goals.

"There is no guarantee of reaching a goal at a certain time, but there is a guarantee of never attaining goals that are never set." Even Eagles Need A Push" by David McNally (1991)

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Thought for the week

Having earnt such titles as 'The constructive disrupter' (from) and other people who work with me providing recommendations that include 'In the one year I've worked with Rory, I've probably had more arguments, bun-fights and near-death experiences than in the previous five!' (take a look) I have to agree with this weeks thought.

"When everyone agrees, someone is not thinking." Second World War U.S. General George S. Patton (1885-1945)