Extract from New Entrepreneurs
If you can’t beat ’em . . .
News media organizations, already weakened by the loss of audience and revenues, recognized that a growing percentage of their traffic was coming from digital platforms like Facebook, Google, Snapchat, Instagram, Apple News, and other intermediaries. Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times described the situation well with his “The Frightful Five will dominate digital life for the forseeable future“, as did Adam Fraser of Echo Junction with his “The future looks like Facebook and Google“.
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By Adam Fraser
The pace of change is so rapid, the fragmentation so systematic, it is getting hard to follow who specialises in what and who competes with who in the media landscape.
Traditional broadcast TV investing in streaming video on demand, offering catch up viewing on any device.
Streaming video on demand specialists such as Netflix offering ad free, subscription based offerings of premium content.
YouTube – the leading online video sharing social network – moving into the premium TV, paid market.
Facebook and Twitter moving heavily into live streaming; Twitter acquiring rights to premium live sports content such as the NFL; Optus (a telco) acquiring rights to the English Premier League.
Now in the local market, the original Pay TV disruptor Foxtel – itself subsequently disrupted by everything from Apple TV to Netflix – has made a major strategic shift. In a major announcement, Foxtel is overhauling the pricing strategy for its streaming video on demand player, Foxtel Play, with new offerings ranging between the $9 to $15 range. Bang in the territory of Netflix, Stan and Presto. Significantly cheaper than its set top box facilitated, traditional broadcast packages.
This is a major change; for the first time customers can bring their own device and access Foxtel via a connected TV, tablet or mobile device. No longer any need to install a set-top box or pay upfront and no minimum term fees.
As well as accessing a new more price conscious segment of the market, there is no doubt Foxtel will also self disrupt and cannibalise its own customers. Brave but necessary.
Underpinning all of this fragmentation is the core disruptive nature of the internet, and the separation it facilitates between content and its historical distribution “partner”. What we used to call “TV” can now be defined as video content accessible on multiple devices at a time of the user’s choosing. Video is no longer trapped inside a physical “television” appliance. In the same way “radio” can now be seen as audio content (podcasting) accessible on multiple devices not just a radio appliance and “newspapers” are written content previously only accessible via a printing press, now accessible anywhere.
Foxtel’s announcement is in itself only one small chess move in a decade long game theory playing out in the media sector. The magnitude of the change is another illustration of the fundamental and rapid shifting of the sands in the media landscape.
By Adam Fraser
The world’s largest dedicated video viewing site (and second largest search engine) is evolving.
Facing competition at all angles as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Musical.ly increasingly focus on its core video offering, it continues to develop.
Addressing the threat from streaming video on demand specialists like Netflix and Hulu it launched a paid premium service YouTube Red (seemingly not going as well as hoped).
Addressing the threat from Periscope and Facebook live it recently announced the launch of YouTube live.
Now leaked stories show it is planning a launch later this year of Backstage – a way for video channel owners to facility further community like discussion. Publishers will be able to share polls, text posts, videos, images and links with followers, who will be able to share, reply and follow a stream.
Sounds suspiciously like a social network.
Despite being lumped in with the social networks, YouTube has never actually been that social to date. The comments sections were often spam infused and there was rarely a true sense of community.
With this somewhat belated move, YouTube moves towards the strategic direction of a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
The idea seems sensible and on the right track but as the whole Google Plus story shows, execution is always key and Google’s track record in this area is not encouraging.
With Instagram recently shamelessly copying Snapchat in its launch of stories, Facebook’s move into live, Twitters adoption of so many features seen elsewhere and now YouTube’s announcement the sense grows of all social networks converging.
Launching a major new social platform to compete with the major players would now seem very very difficult (think Ello’); niche offerings like Musical.ly seem to have the best chance of breaking through before the big boys copy the same functionality.
YouTube’s plans are a step in the right direction. Time will tell whether this is a move too late.
If you are like me you get overpowered by the amount of sales and marketing technology and tools available – and more being released every day.
So I asked our resident expert on marketing and social media technology, Adam Fraser, how to go about choosing the right marketing and sales tools for our business
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By Adam Fraser
The cat and mouse games between publishers and ad blockers continues.
As I have previously written, ad blockers have represented a growing threat to the business models for online publishers, as consumers increasingly turn their backs on intrusive and unhelpful digital advertising. Recent studies showed 26% of desktop users and 15% of mobile users are using ad blockers.
Now the 800lb gorilla has entered the room. Facebook has announced it will make it harder for ad blockers to determine what is sponsored and what is not sponsored on Facebook. “It will be really hard for ad-blockers to distinguish what is an ad and what is not an ad,” said Andrew Bosworth, VP-ads and business platform, Facebook.
With advertising revenue driving over 95% of Facebook’s income it clearly has a significant incentive to ensure paying advertisers can hit their intended audience on the Facebook platform. Facebook also claims blocking ads impacts the user experience as users want to see relevant ads they are interested in (I find this argument a bit of a stretch).
A form of nuclear arms race continues with the ad blocking sector now expected to respond, having dubbed the changes anti user. “Cat and mouse games are a waste of time,” said Till Faida, CEO of Eyeo, the software-maker behind Adblock plus . “At the end of the day user choice will prevail on the web.”
In a nice PR sleight of hand, Facebook balanced its announcement about blocking the ad blockers by also announcing a range of measures to give users more control around the ads it sees.
In a study commissioned by Facebook, the main reasons consumers use ad blockers are avoiding disruptive ads (69%), slowing down their browsing experience (58%) and security/Malaware (56%). Whilst the underlying consumer demand exists to block ads, the tech arms race will continue; an important battle even for a media company of the strength of Facebook and not one to be under-estimated.
In previous discussions Adam Fraser has provided excellent insight into how salespeople can leverage social media to improve their sales effectiveness. Since Adam is an expert on podcasting I asked him if he through podcasting was a tool from which salespeople could leverage value.
Podcasting was not a tool that I had used much so his answer was very enlightening to me.
Bottom line he convinced me that salespeople would benefit greatly by using podcasting in two ways; firstly as a consumer to learn during time they are commuting, exercising or walking the dog. Secondly, he suggested that salespeople could benefit greatly by producing their own podcasts for consumption by their target customers. I think you might his thoughts of value.
I encourage you to read or view the interview below to learn more. It’s contains some interesting thinking for sales leaders, management and salespeople.
For full story click here.
It has emerged that Facebook is writing some significant cheques to content creators. No not for advertising royalty share – for content creation.
Yes that Facebook. The one with 1.65bn monthly users. The one with all the distribution power. Paying for people to produce content. Fair? Yes. Surprising? Yes again.
The leaked information provided to the Wall Street Journal shows Facebook is paying US$50m to 140 media companies and celebrities to produce exclusive video content for its Facebook Live platform.
17 of the contracts are worth more thn $US1m with the top payers being Buzzfeed (US$3.1m), New York Times (US$3.0m), CNN (US$2.5m) and Huffington Post (US1.6m). Mark Zuckerberg has talked often about Facebook’s shift to video content – at a Town Hall Q&A in late 2014 he said:
“Five years ago most of Facebook was text, and if you fast-forward five years, probably most of it is going to be video, just because it’s getting easier to capture video and the moments of your life and share it”.
Clearly the company believes Live is a key element in this; Facebook’s own research shows that, on average, users spend 3 times as long watching live videos as other forms of video.
Facebook’s algorithm is always a clue as to the type of content the company wants users to focus on; currently when users currently go Live a notification is being sent to their Facebook fans and live video is given preferential ranking in the news feed. I would imagine the content producers being paid as part of this deal will be given preferential treatment in terms of distribution.
Facebook has long had an eye on the video advertising market historically dominated by YouTube (in late 2015 it announced it had more than 8 billion video views per day). This deal is the clearest sign yet about how serious it is about building a footprint in live streaming. After years of (at best) sharing advertising revenue with partners, a direct content production payment is an interesting precedent to set. Facebook may yet change the rules – it often does – so there is no certainly such payments will continue once it establishes an advertising model for Facebook Live. But the fact the even the 800lb gorilla of social media is paying for content shows the ongoing tension between audience amalgamation/distribution and content creation quality.
Facebook got to where it is today on the back of our content. It has never paid before to any serious extent (unless my cheque from Mark Z got lost in the post). A very interesting move. And not one which Periscope or YouTube wanted to see.
‘My Feed’ is ABC RN’s weekly look at the curious and juicy things happening online and on 1st July Patricia Karvelas spoke to Adam Fraser.
Adam spoke to RN Drive about Facebook reportedly finally paying (some) people to post content, the top 100 brands and the mushrooming world of ‘martech’.
By Adam Fraser
A big week for transactions in the MarTech world with SalesForce acquiring Demandware for US$2.8bn, Twitter investing in audio streaming service SoundCloud for US$70m and the big one – Microsoft swooping in on LinkedIn in a deal worth a cool US$26bn, a $US9bn premium on the value based on the stock price prior to the announcement.
LinkedIn has been under pressure from the stock market since its disappointing Q4 2015 results when its share price declined an incredible 44% in a single day. The deal came somewhat out of the blue and has puzzled a number of analysts.
At a price of 7.2 times revenue it is not cheap on any measure. LinkedIn remained loss making notwithstanding its preferred measure of profitability being to add back stock based employee compensation (at which point it became profitable).
Clearly therefore this deal is all about strategic synergy. As well as hoping LinkedIn (with its 400m plus members and exceptionally strong position in B2B) will mature into a profitable stand alone business, the key factor is the way it can help the remainder of the Microsoft product stable.
The most obvious product would seem to be Microsoft’s CRM product (Dynamics). A massive challenge for any CRM system is maintaining accurate contact information – most professionals keep LinkedIn up to date, so by integrating CRM with LinkedIn this becomes an important differentiator against CRM competitors (primarily Salesforce and SAP). Deep and accurate data on this scale is valuable. Other workflow related synergies should also emerge in managing appointments and sales opportunity status – with integration to Microsoft Office also in play here.
There are many other potential synergies, including LinkedIn’s online training business (it recently acquired Lynda.com) integrating with a number of Microsoft’s productivity apps. Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn CEO outlined many ways the companies could work together in his letter to all LinkedIn staff. In particular he noted:
“Think about things like LinkedIn’s graph interwoven throughout Outlook, Calendar, Active Directory, Office, Windows, Skype, Dynamics, Cortana, Bing and more”
For now LinkedIn remains a stand alone service, so don’t expect to see too many changes to user experience in the short term.
In the medium and longer term the potential synergies are certainly there; but the price tag is not cheap and as Microsoft discovered when it bought Nokia – $7.2bn price followed by a massive write down within 18 months – potential synergies don’t always come to financial fruition.
Based on this transaction I would expect to see increased takeover talk around Twitter and Pinterest from here. Interesting and dynamic times as always in the martech world.