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Thursday, 26 February 2015

Social Media Week in NYC

Yesterday we had a great discussion about the effect of social media on the news industry and in particular on "agenda setting". The panel was composed of a mix of academics and practitioners from traditional media as well as some new entrants. The discussion suggested that it was a little too early to see but we all shared the view that the role of brands in setting the news agenda will be larger in the future. It was a wonderful event thanks to the AP.

Monday, 23 February 2015

The oscars

And just one day after the results The Economist (see article here) does a wonderful analysis of the Oscars putting into perspective the change that slowly happened over the last 10 years and explaining why the industry has become more "open minded" in its praise. The highlights: less risk taken by big studios to create original content, more experimentation, especially by TV series and more openness for indie and foreign productions.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

New York City Media Seminar: Vertical integration

At last week's New York City Media SeminarGreg Crawford from the University of Zurich presented a fantastic paper on vertical integration yesterday. The paper examined whether and when an integrated content owner and content distributor would foreclose their content from a rival distributor. They collected data on the availability of regional sports networks on multi channel cable and satellite services across the US. They definitely find evidence that the integrated entities tend to optimize the joint profit of the enterprise (maybe not fully but almost). Yet, for this particular content it is not obvious that this necessarily leads to foreclosure of content. This depends on the demand (consumers' willingness to pay for the content). The paper is remarkable in its treatment of institutional details - rarely seen in empirical work, especially for such a complicated problem. And, again, it shows that regulation is extremely complex for these industries.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Net Neutrality

This short article in The Economist nicely concludes on the extremely complex issue of net neutrality. (A slightly more detailed report can be read here). The basic point is that precisely because it is very complex, the problem should be dealt with light regulation setting only broad guidelines and still leaving room for the market to figure out an efficient allocation. It is becoming increasingly clear that the core issue is the lack of competition for consumers to access broadband. Introducing competition would go a long way to make the net neutrality problem go away. It seems that US regulators seem to move in this direction. 

Friday, 23 January 2015

New Editor in Chief at The Economist

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 25JAN13 - Zanny Minton Beddoes (L), Economics Editor, The Economist, United Kingdom; Global Agenda Council on Fiscal Sustainability and Guido Westerwelle (R), Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany are seen during the session 'Open forum: Eurozone - Solidarity or Domination?' at the Annual Meeting 2013 of the World Economic Forum at the Swiss alpine high school in Davos, Switzerland, January 25, 2013. Copyright by World Economic Forum Michael WuertenbergThe Economist has chosen a new editor and the choice boiled down to (see FT article for details) Zanny Minton Beddoes. She is the first female editor of the 150+ years old magazine that has defined adverse industry dynamics with its unique editorial model. Minton Beddoes has all the right lines on her CV to become a very successful editor. She is an economist from Oxford and Harvard, worked at the IMF and has been involved with global policy advice across the planet. She has been with the magazine for over 20 years.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Google's European battles continue

It is actually pathetic how far European regulators are capable of ruining their economies. The recent decision by Google to shut down its news service in response to the Spanish government's idiotic new law shows the extent to which politicians are captured by the local press. The law actually forces publishers to charge Google for linking to their sites, in other words, publishers are not allowed to let Google report their articles for free. No doubt the law was inspired by the German experience (where powerful national papers were also bullying the government). In Germany many papers opted out of charging Google. Spain forces the publishers to charge Google with a minimum fee, essentially creating a powerful newspaper union. Not only does this protectionism hurt the economy, it also weakens the government that is - evidently - already at the mercy of the national press.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Facebook Ad effectiveness

The past year's media covering Facebook's prospects as an advertising medium have been full of contradicting information. We heard that youngsters are turning their backs to the platform and that people are fed up with Facebook's lax privacy policy. On the positive side, members ended up more than tolerating Facebook's strategy of putting, so-called native advertising in the newsfeed and markets appreciated the smooth transition of ad revenues from desktop to mobile. Overall, Facebook has done really well. A recent study by Kenshoo (however believable) is a good summary of the year-end verdict: while the cost of Facebook ads have grown significantly, ROI has almost doubled. Social advertising is indeed becoming mainstream.