Industry headlines


27th - 2nd November 2014


October 27, 2014

Maxus wins Media Agency of the Year 2014

Under the leadership of the chief executive, Lindsay Pattison, Maxus’ trajectory as the fastest-growing top-ten agency has increased over the past 12 months. In terms of new business, winning L’Oréal’s £135 million media account ensured that the agency topped the league table. Other new clients include npower, Avis Budget Group and Air France. Maxus has expanded by 55 people in 2014, taking its total staff to 235. Collectively, they now handle billings in excess of £450 million – enough to become the seventh-biggest media agency in the UK. Pattison talked passionately about the benefits of an agency being born in the age of digital, with Maxus enjoying notable growth in non-traditional areas such as SEO, pay-per-click, social media, analytics, effectiveness and technology.

October 27, 2014

Guardian wins Sales Team of the Year 2014

Despite tough market conditions, The Guardian’s sales team’s focus around six new strategic priorities resulted in a 10 per cent year-on-year lift in its print and digital display ad revenues. In terms of market share, The Guardian’s print revenues command 23.3 per cent (up 2 per cent), while digital revenues hit an all-time high of 8.5 per cent (up 20 per cent). The "audience not platforms" approach to media planning has resonated strongly in an industry in transition and is credited with £4.2 million in revenue across print, desktop, smartphone and tablet. The Guardian was also the first major news brand to identify the value in creating a bespoke branded content unit for the 21st century, Guardian Labs. Led by Anna Watkins, GLabs includes 133 specialists in strategy, design, editorial, project management and video.

October 27, 2014

Publishers keep tabs on Google's latest skirmish

As the Mail and The Guardian launch their membership initiatives, German publishers are taking a very different approach to the digital future. The long-running spat between German publishers and Google took a dramatic turn last week when the search giant said it would stop displaying text summaries and thumbnail images from a group of newspapers because of a legal battle over whether it should pay to post them. The publishers involved – including Axel Springer, which prints the country’s biggest-selling paper, Bild – are trying to force Google to pay for the content it ag¬gregates. They accuse the company of "blackmail" for refusing to carry the snippets, a move that is likely to reduce their online traffic. Without content, Google wouldn’t have a business, the publishers argue, so should pay for the privilege of using it. Google is infringing their copyright, bypassing the newspapers’ front pages, damaging their brands and depriving them of ad revenues, they claim.


October 27, 2014

YouTube games channels take off: top 100 watched 4.4bn times in September

YouTube games channels have become one of the most popular categories on Google’s online video site, with the 100 biggest notching up nearly 4.4bn video views in September alone. That’s up from 3.5bn views in May, according to a chart published by industry site Tubefilter based on data from analytics firm OpenSlate. The chart, which ranks YouTube gaming channels based on their monthly views, reveals that seven had more than 100m views in September, led by YouTube’s biggest star PewDiePie with 392.1m views that month. He was followed by child-friendly Minecraft channel Stampy (189.6m views), Spanish channel Vegetta777 (164m) and another Minecraft channel, The Diamond Minecart (161.8m). All four channels belong to multi-channel network (MCN) Maker Studios, which was acquired by Disney earlier this year in a deal that could eventually be worth up to $950m.

October 27, 2014

YouTube games channels take off: top 100 watched 4.4bn times in September

YouTube games channels have become one of the most popular categories on Google’s online video site, with the 100 biggest notching up nearly 4.4bn video views in September alone. That’s up from 3.5bn views in May, according to a chart published by industry site Tubefilter based on data from analytics firm OpenSlate. The chart, which ranks YouTube gaming channels based on their monthly views, reveals that seven had more than 100m views in September, led by YouTube’s biggest star PewDiePie with 392.1m views that month. He was followed by child-friendly Minecraft channel Stampy (189.6m views), Spanish channel Vegetta777 (164m) and another Minecraft channel, The Diamond Minecart (161.8m). All four channels belong to multi-channel network (MCN) Maker Studios, which was acquired by Disney earlier this year in a deal that could eventually be worth up to $950m.

October 27, 2014

Lynda Bellingham’s final Loose Women interview watched by 2 million

Lynda Bellingham’s final interview on Loose Women was watched by about 2 million – doubling the show’s usual audience. Viewers tuning in to ITV on Wednesday saw her describing her hopes for the Christmas she would never see. The actor had hoped for one more festive season after choosing to end treatment for her cancer, but died at the weekend, just days after making her decision public. In the interview for Loose Women, on which she had been a regular panellist for a number of years, she assured friends and colleagues that all would be “fine” and said she longed to be remembered for her honesty. The programme recorded a peak audience of 2 million, a million more than usual, according to ratings figures.


October 27, 2014

Tumblr audience up to 420m as Yahoo predicts $100m revenues in 2015

Yahoo says that visitors to Tumblr have grown by 40% since it acquired the blogging service in May 2013, and expects that growth to fuel more than $100m in advertising revenues in 2015. Yahoo’s chief executive Marissa Mayer made the prediction in an earnings call with analysts, following the announcement of the company’s latest quarterly financial results. “We acquired Tumblr a little more than 15 months ago. Over the past 15 months they have seen strong growth. Their audience grew 40% from 300 million to more than 420 million users,” said Mayer. “The number of registered blogs nearly doubled from 105 million to 206 million, mobile monthly users of their mobile app grew by 50% and perhaps most impressively Tumblr time spend grew from 22 minutes to 28 minutes.” There’s a caveat to this growth: Yahoo counts “users” as anyone who logs in to Tumblr to write a blog, but also anyone who visits one of those blogs. If you click on a link to an amusing single-issue Tumblr from another social network, for example, you’re being counted as a user.

October 27, 2014

Media jobs website Gorkana sold to Cision in £200m deal

Gorkana, the digital PR jobs and media industry information company, has been sold to rival Cision in a deal thought to be worth as much as £200m. Cision, which is owned by US private equity firm GTCR, recently closed a $447m (£278m) deal to buy Vocus, creating a giant in the software for the PR sector. The Gorkana brand will be retained and chief executive Jeremy Thompson will join Cision as managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “The future of PR is here,” said Peter Granat, chief executive of Cision. “Our acquisition of Gorkana is the next step toward achieving Cision’s mission to be a global leader in PR and social software.” Gorkana was bought by private equity group Exponent, which also owns BBC magazines publisher Immediate Media, in 2010 for about £25m.


October 27, 2014

Snapchat messaging app gets its first ad... and it's very creepy

Snapchat reportedly has more than 100 million active users of its free photo and video messaging app, but it has never made any money from them. Now it’s hoping to change that by running adverts within the app. The first one appeared inside the app’s Recent Updates screen for American users over the weekend: a 20-second trailer for horror film Ouija, paid for by studio Universal Pictures. “It’s the first time we’ve done anything like this because it’s the first time we’ve been paid to put content in that space. It’s going to feel a little weird at first, but we’re taking the plunge,” explained Snapchat in a blog post published before the ad launched. The subject matter may have been scary, but Snapchat was at pains to tell its users that it wants to steer away from “creepy” ad-targeting, as well as avoiding being too intrusive with advertising.


October 27, 2014

Rajar Q3 2014: commercial radio tightens the gap on the BBC

The BBC reached an average of 34.85 million people in the three months to 14 September, down from 35.23 million in the second quarter, while commercial radio reached an average of 34.04 million people (down from 34.41 million). On average, listeners devote 15.7 hours each week to BBC radio, up from 15.5 hours in the previous quarter, while commercial stations pull in audiences for an average 13.1 hours each week, up from 12.9 hours in Q2. But while the BBC's largest station, Radio 2, managed to hover above the 15 million mark in terms of its weekly audience, it is slowly slipping downwards, losing 480,000 listeners since last quarter and down from 15.56 million in Q1. The losses are echoed in BBC Radio 2's breakfast show figures, where the highs achieved by its presenter Chris Evans did not last through to this quarter. Although Evans' programme peaked at 9.91 million listeners in the previous quarter, the figures have returned to similar levels to a year ago – 9.3 million in Q3 of 2014 compared to 9.35 million the same time last year.