By Kyle Austin
On a conference call last night discussing News Corp.’s fourth quarter and fiscal results, Rupert Murdoch admitted that its net loss was $6.41 billion, or $2.45 a share, for the fiscal second quarter ended Dec. 31. That compared with a profit of $832 million, or 27 cents a share, a year earlier.
The net loss also included an $8.4 billion write off, which Peter Kafka of MediaMemo provided more insight on this afternoon. Turns out 1/3 of that write off, or $2.8 billion, is getting assigned to the company’s $5.7 billion purchase of Dow Jones (publisher of The Wall Street Journal). Meaning Murdoch, who understood he overpaid for the Journal on purchase, actually paid more than twice as much as the Journal is worth.
Murdoch went on to say that News Corp.’s dismal numbers, the latest in a string of dreadful media corporation results amid shrinking ad revenues, were due to the “Worst global economic crisis since News Corp was formed 50 years ago.”
Another interesting part of the call last night, highlighted this morning by Henry Blodget, was Murdoch’s insight into the online subscription fee options for the New York Times. This coming a few days after New York Times editor Bill Keller speculated that the Times may try to bring back online subscription fees in some capacity. From Blodget, Silicon Alley Insider:
“Murdoch noted that the Wall Street Journal, which charges a subscription fee, generated $120 million of online ad revenue last year. The New York Times, which doesn’t charge, only generated about $150-$175 million (our estimate).
Combining the two fees, the Wall Street Journal is the larger online business. It also doesn’t have to slash its ad prices because it has a huge glut of online inventory, the way the New York Times does. It is more insulated from ad depressions like the one we’re enduring. And it has a valuable paid relationship with a million subscribers who it may be able to sell additional services to.”
February 6th, 2009
By Guest Author
Last week I posted about hosting a meeting on the Influence Scorecard . The post was testing the water to determine the level of interest such an event might generate, and I was answered by dozens of emails, direct twitters, comments and even some direct editing of the post itself, as I’d hoped! (MarCom Professional allows an author to permit others to edit a post, wiki-style.)
I even received tentative enquiries about sponsorship, so it looks like we are on to something here…
Moreover, the interest was split almost 50:50 between Europe and North America, and it was spread fairly evenly amongst each of the required participant groups.
What is clear from all the queries and interest is that we now need to put some meat on the bones. Here are a few top line thoughts on ‘influence’, ‘scorecard’ and what we hope to achieve. Your thoughts are welcome.
Organisations want to influence the opinion and behaviour of their stakeholders. They do this via the various marketing and communications disciplines and approaches – PR, advertising, branding, community building, conversational marketing, direct marketing, events, product placement, public affairs, sponsorship etc..
Of course, stakeholders also influence each other and some will want to influence an organisation – how ready an organisation is for this dialogue is another matter.
The ‘scorecard’ is inspired by the Balanced Scorecard, one of the most widely adopted organisational performance management methodologies (generally known as “business performance management” or just plain BPM). According to the Balanced Scorecard Institute:
“The Balanced Scorecard transforms an organization’s strategic plan from an attractive but passive document into the ‘marching orders’ for the organization on a daily basis. It provides a framework that not only provides performance measurements, but helps planners identify what should be done and measured. It enables executives to truly execute their strategies.
“It is a management system (not only a measurement system) that enables organizations to clarify their vision and strategy and translate them into action.”
Balanced Scorecards usually consist of four perspectives: financial, learning and growth, customer and internal processes.
The Influence Scorecard
So, my thinking is that influence could be an additional perspective of the Balanced Scorecard and other BPM approaches. Possibly. But it might also be a filter across or augmentation to current perspectives.
The Influence Scorecard:
- Translates influence (marketing and PR) objectives into operational goals
- Helps to communicate the objectives and cascade them down to specific groups and individuals
- Guides the selection of measurement criteria
- Defines the ways in which these measurements can be made and presented for incorporation into the BPM process, reports and dashboards
- Informs the mechanism for learning from these measures and the adjustment of the influence strategy then required.
Steps 3 and 4 are, I believe, are the most difficult to accomplish traditionally and where SWA steps up. They also represent the core part of the Influence Scorecard that sets it apart from attempts to incorporate traditional marketing into BPM to date, imho.
The Influence Scorecard plugs the converged ‘Influence Department’ (or the more traditional marketing and communications departments) directly into organisational performance management. It gives all marketing and communications disciplines board level authority, responsibility and accountability in planning, implementing, measuring and reporting influence.
We’ve started to take a look at running the event mooted in my previous post, and the more we look at it the more it has become apparent that we need an interim step to crystallise the purpose and approach so that we can then put something up to shoot at and build upon in a more widely attended event. So we’re going to convene a smaller group first up during the next couple of months followed as closely as we can by the wider event.
I look forward to your ongoing feedback, and of course the list of interested organisations and individuals remains editable here.
Watch this space!
February 6th, 2009