Posts By: Matthew Stanley

ITV to lose the ‘nasty horrible face’ of Gary Digby

Today’s news that ITV’s
sales boss Gary Digby is be replaced at the broadcaster by Channel 5’s
Kelly Williams
, courtesy of Maisie McCabe, has ensured 2011 gets off to a
flier.

The new
look ITV, led by chief executive Adam Crozier and chairman Archie Norman, but
still housing Peter Fincham, is starting to take an exciting new shape.

Digby joined ITV Sales as sales director when it was being run by Graham
Duff in December 2003. Prior to joining the broadcaster he had been managing
director of what was then Carlton Sales.

By the time he was made head of ITV advertising sales in 2005, Digby
reputation’s as the company rottweiler was already firmly in place.

“I’m the nasty horrible face of ITV that will go and beat all of our
customers up and hold a gun to their head and make them spend money,” he
jokingly told the Guardian at the time, but for some agencies it was
close to the bone.

Both ITV and Digby have been round the block a few times since then, but most
agencies will still attest the sales leader is as ferocious and astute an
operator as ever.

Andy Jones, chief executive
of UM London,
who has known Digby for most of both their working lives, is sure he will move
on to his next challenge.

“Gary is never
capable of mellowing. He is as professional and uncompromising today as he’s
always been,” he says.

“ITV has always had plenty of figureheads and ambassadors, but Digby’s never
been one of them. His job has been to get the work done, and at doing that he’s
been one of the very best.

“He’ll be missed, but it’s a great opportunity for Williams.”

Read more on ITV to lose the ‘nasty horrible face’ of Gary Digby…

Murdoch, I-Level and… Claudine dominate media in 2010

Vince Cable pictured in The Independent


In terms of
commercial media, 2010 was always going to be dominated by one man and one
company: Rupert Murdoch, News Corporation.

From the
outset we expected paywalls and bundled content offerings (Alesia) to be the
order of the day, but no one could have foreseen just where we find ourselves
today.

Read more on Murdoch, I-Level and… Claudine dominate media in 2010…

Does Rupert Heseltine have the look of success?


After
interviewing Haymarket’s chairman Rupert Heseltine this week, which touched
upon life after the recession, The Times paywall and the future of publishing,
no less, there’s one comment I’m hearing more than any other: ‘doesn’t he look
like his dad?’

Read more on Does Rupert Heseltine have the look of success?…

Do advertisers want to be in Times paywall club?

Hollywood’s take on the relentless rise of Facebook in The Social
Network is set to pass a milestone of its own this week, when UK box office
takings top £10 million.

It’s still got some way to go to push 2009 blockbuster Avatar (£90m), but
double-digit millions is good going for any film in little old Blighty.

Fiction or not, the fact that David Fincher’s simple and rather contrived plot
makes a plausible story says something about the value people place – or at
least imagine others place – on being seen to be in the right club.
The desire to be part of the right crowd is presented as the driving force
behind Facebook’s real-life founder Mark Zuckerberg, and it got me thinking
about News International’s paywall experiment.

It’s been less than three weeks since News
International offered the first hint as to the impact its online subscription
strategy is having on sites for the Times and Sunday Times
, and plenty of
questions remain.

Understandably there’s been frustration at the lack of transparency regarding
the actual number of paying subscribers.

Read more on Do advertisers want to be in Times paywall club?…

GroupM to forecast 4% lift in UK ad spend for 2011

Crystal Ball
It’s coming
to that time of the year again when crystal balls are dusted off and the
world’s media powerhouses pool their internal insights to give us their best
predictions for the coming year.

Read more on GroupM to forecast 4% lift in UK ad spend for 2011…

News Int paywall creates around 200,000 digital sales

After
months of speculation, News International has finally unveiled figures for its
paywall experiment at The Times and the Sunday Times websites;
it has generated
105,000 digital-only sales and a further 100,000 print subscribers have activated
their digital accounts, since July.

Read more on News Int paywall creates around 200,000 digital sales…

WAN’s Balding exits as newspapers embrace digital future

So goodbye
then Timothy Balding, the venerable leader of the international press body WAN,
who leaves his industry advocate role after 25 years.

Based in Paris, the leader of the World
Association of Newspapers was a well-respected figure and admired ambassador
for newspapers, but in recent years his stance on the impact of digital upon
newspapers had placed him at odds with many commentators, myself included.

Read more on WAN’s Balding exits as newspapers embrace digital future…

Why News Corp really pulled the plug on Project Alesia

News Corporation has been
forced to abandon plans for its eagerly anticipated digital news platform, part
of the company’s so called ‘Project Alesia’ initiative, citing runaway costs.

As we revealed this morning, bean-counters at Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate
have decided to pull the plug on the year-long activity when it was
expected to be finalised.

The decision is said to be
absolute: this is not a delay, or grand standing or being placed on hold; this
an entire, dedicated News Corp UK
operation being dismantled just days before a product was due to go to market.

So what’s going on at
the media conglomerate?

Read more on Why News Corp really pulled the plug on Project Alesia…

ZenithOptimedia to split in half in dramatic restructure

ZenithOptimedia, for many the original home of the modern media agency, is believed to be heading for a dramatic split following a restructure at group level that also leaves Zed’s future in doubt.

Publicis
Groupe created ZenithOptimedia in 2003 through a controversial merger of the
media planning departments of Zenith Media and Optimedia networks.

According to sources, Stephen Farquhar is set to become managing director of
Zenith and Mark Howley will become managing director of Optimedia.

Both are expected to continue to report to ZenithOptimedia’s current chief executive, Gerry Boyle.

Read more on ZenithOptimedia to split in half in dramatic restructure…

Publishing failures unite at AOP 2010

Attending
the 9th annual AOP Digital Publishing Summit in Westminster
today proved to be something of a milestone for the UK’s media industry.

Unlike many
in the room, I remember the association’s first outing back in 2002. The dotcom
bubble had just bust and its messy entrails were still being discovered. The
room of mostly traditional newspaper and magazine publishers were still
understandably nervous about the implications of the web on their businesses.

Read more on Publishing failures unite at AOP 2010…