News Corp moves to ‘second phase’ in paid-for online content

September 29, 2009

News Corporation is reassured by research it has undertaken into the willingness of readers to pay for content online, and has moved to the ‘second phase’ of its switch away from free content.

Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald, which is owned by a News Corp rival, reports that a memo has gone out to staff at the News Digital Media division saying that in Sydney “we are about to move into the second phase of the project”. It was sent by Richard Freudenstein, who was chief operating officer at BSkyB in the UK until 2006 and now runs NDM.

It comes just days after research conducted by Harris Interactive for Paid Content UK found that three quarters of online news readers would switch to an alternative free source if their favourite news site began charging for access and that only 5% said they would pay to continue reading their preferred source.

In the memo, Freudenstein says that the company is reassured by its own research. It said: “News [Corp] has conducted some audience research here in Australia and in the UK and US, which gives us confidence that, if we get the product and delivery system right, people will happily pay for news content online, on their computer, mobile, e-reader or other device.”

News Corp chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch has been at the forefront of the charge to make delivering news online a profitable business, as advertising-led models fail to deliver enough revenue.

News Corp plans to introduce charges for its properties across the globe. It owns newspapers such as The Sun and the News of the World in the UK; the Wall Street Journal and New York Post in the US, and The Australian and the Courier Mail in Australia.

Dubai’s worst kept publishing secret finally confirmed

September 24, 2009

The UAE’s ITP Consumer Publishing and US-based Hearst Magazines International have finally confirmed that they are to launch a Middle East edition up market men’s mag Esquire.

esquireAs first reported in Campaign on 9 August, the magazine will be published monthly from November and will have a print run of 15,000. It will be published by ITP under license from Hearst and will be the 18th international version of the magazine.

Jeremy Lawrence, formerly editor of the Dubai edition of Time Out, has been appointed editor-in-chief of Esquire Middle East.

Duncan Edwards, president and CEO, Hearst Magazines International, said the title would be distributed in the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

“Esquire has long been known for its outstanding writing, photography and lifestyle content targeting young, affluent men,” said Edwards. “We have found that the magazine translates exceptionally well with men all over the world and we’re confident that Esquire will be successful in the Middle East market, as it has been with its other international editions.”

Twitter should charge for usage of service says investor

September 24, 2009

Twitter should charge for the use of its service via mobile phones if it is to convert its huge popularity into cash, one of its venture capital investors said to the UK’s Brand Republic today.

The suggestion comes as momentum builds behind Twitter’s plans to devise a business model that can generate money from its large number of users. Earlier this month, Twitter altered its terms and conditions to allow it to implement targeted advertising across the site.

Joi Ito, a Twitter investor who has previously invested in Flickr and, said: “When Twitter grows, SMS usage goes up. Sites are now able to promote across friends’ [Twitter] networks, traffic to certain kinds of sites increases. There’s a lot of things Twitter enables. And as a normal internet company would do, we’d look at who’s benefiting the most in this value chain, and where is there the least friction [for Twitter] to get paid.”

Ito said he was not speaking on Twitter’s behalf, but added that he believes “mobile will be an important part of the [Twitter] strategy.”

Separately, a new Twitter-based hotel booking engine has launched as brands attempt to figure out a way to capitalise on the Twitter phenomenon.

Inoqo claims to provide a solution for recession-hit hoteliers and travellers who need a hotel room at very short notice. The service opened to hotels this week in the USA, France, Portugal, England, Scotland, Ireland and South Africa.

Twitter users can book a room by following one of Inoqo’s “CityStream” Twitter feeds to watch the last-minute deals as they roll in. Once a user has identified a deal, they place an order via Inoqo’s own booking system. The company is privately funded, and has plans for an affiliate program that will allow bloggers and website owners to embed widgets on their sites.

Adwomen ME to hold ‘Behind the Brand’ conference

September 24, 2009

Adwomen Middle East, the first ever women’s marketing and advertising platform in the region, is holding its first conference under the banner ‘Behind the Brand.’    btb-logo

The conference by the not-for-profit organisation, aims to create dialogue around the importance of driving and growing brands in the region, as well as providing quality networking opportunities for women brand builders and stakeholders from advertising & marketing.

The event will be held on October 7  at the American University in Dubai and will see a host of speakers explore regional brand building from the ground up, discussing opportunities and risks, to expectations and the future for homegrown brands.

Attendance to the event is by invitation only. Those wishing to request an invite  can do so at the AdWomen Middle East website.

Mindshare’s EMEA chief exec moves on

September 23, 2009

Nick Waters, chief executive, Mindshare EMEA, is to leave the WPP agency network he helped create in 1998 to become chief executive of Aegis Media Asia-Pacific. Nick Waters

Waters is to take over from Patrick Ståhle, currently chief executive of Aegis Media Asia-Pacific, who is to retire from the industry to pursue a non-executive career. Aegis said that both Ståhle’s departure and Waters’ arrival “will take effect at the same time in the second quarter in 2010”.

Waters’ departure comes amid an estimated $1bn global media review being held by Unilever for which Mindshare is one of the major incumbent media agencies.

As reported in the current print edition of Campaign, Mindshare is also subject to a review of its regional business with Coca-Cola, an account it has held for six years.

Commenting on the decision to review, Antoine Tayyar, Coca-Cola Middle East’s public affairs and communications manager, said: “Our business is continually evolving and as a matter of routine, we are assessing the fit between our business and what our partners can provide to the company. This supports our belief to continually look at more effective and efficient ways to manage our business. We also want to ensure that we are working with the best media agency resource in the market.”

Emirates’ global pitch moves on to round two

September 23, 2009

Emirates has confirmed the completion of the first round of the global advertising pitch it instigated in early June.

Commenting on the pitch’s progress, Boutros Boutros, Emirates’ divisional senior vice president, corporate communications, said: “We are finalising our shortlist and are looking to progress to the next stage of agency reviews next month [October].”

emirates The process has already seen an unexpected development when Emirates moved its $5.7 million UK advertising account out of incumbent Leagas Delaney and into VCCP’s London office without a pitch.

VCCP, which has an office in Abu Dhabi and works with clients such as Qatari Financial Centre, was asked to handle the business after its presentation to the airline as part of the $270 million global advertising pitch.

Speaking at the time, an Emirates spokesman admitted that the account had moved but said it had nothing to do with the global review.

He said: We can confirm that Leagas Delaney is being replaced by VCCP. This is entirely unconnected with the pitch for a global marcomms agency. It is purely a UK appointment by Emirates.”

This represents the first time VCCP has worked with Emirates. However, the VCCP Group-owned brand promotion specialist Branded Moments of Truth worked on a project for the airline three years ago, and Bell Pottinger, which is part of the VCCP parent Chime Communications, handles the airline’s public relations.

Impact Proximity wins Perfetti Van Melle pitch

September 23, 2009

Impact Proximity has been named Perfetti Van Melle’s agency of record for the UAE following a long and protracted pitch process.

The Dubai-based agency will be responsible for creative strategy and development across all media for the Italian/ Dutch confectionary manufacturer’s brand portfolio, which includes Chupa Chups, Fruittella, Mentos, Big Babol and Smint.

Impact Proximity has already been briefed on its first brand assignment and, pending the finalisation of its contract, will commence work during October. The brief may extend to other GCC markets.

Chupa Chups LollipopsA number of other agencies, including JWT, TBWA\Raad and Memac Ogilvy, were involved in the pitch and two other specialist agencies have been chosen to work with Perfetti Van Melle, although the company declined to name them.

Robbert Hazelaar, regional marketing and sales director for Perfetti Van Melle, said: “Perfetti Van Melle wants to step-change its marketing in the Middle East. We searched for and chose an agency partner that we feel will really gel with our company culture, an agency which showed us they had new generation thinking and fresh creativity. Impact Proximity impressed us with their strategies, their new media knowledge and their innovative ideas. I have no doubt we are going to produce some great campaigns that will give our brands the stand out we expect.”

Kieran O’Sulllivan, Impact Proximity’s general manager, added: “We’re really proud of this win; it proves that the time is right here in the UAE for an Agency with integrated creative ideas and new media expertise.”