Letters - 31 May 2005

Talking about a revolution, Fleurot's figures, talent slip, and sex change.

Letter of the week - Revolution has been heard by media owners

James Cridland, head of strategic development, New Media Virgin Radio

Oh, good, a "new digital revolution" again (Media giants' heads are on the block in new digital revolution, page 18, 17 May).

Of course, the digital revolution isn't just happening now – it's running on momentum from over a decade ago, before the stockmarket's dotcom boom and bust. Honestly, if some media owners are only waking up to the internet now, their heads will indeed be on the block.

Rupert Murdoch's speech is a good few years too late, and incorrectly appears to see new media as a threat to traditional media. It isn't. It's a huge opportunity.

Fear of cannibalising the established media landscape is a short sighted approach to take.

As a case in point, Virgin Radio was the first radio station to broadcast over the internet in Europe, almost 10 years ago.

Our string of technology firsts has continued: this year, we became the first UK station to produce a daily podcast and broadcast live on 3G mobile phones. 10%of our audience first heard us through a new media platform and 14%of our audience listen online every month. New media adds half a million listeners to our figures – a funny form of cannibalism!

The digital revolution has brought opportunities to many different parties – media owners can increase audiences across different platforms, the public have more ways to access media content and advertisers are presented with more customised packages.

So, this is an opportunity that media owners should have been pursuing for some time. By embracing the opportunities that new media gives us, Virgin Radio is the UK's most listened to station on the internet and is reaping the rewards in terms of brand presence, listener figures and advertiser interest.


Fleurot's figures for The Business do not add up

Paul Woolfenden, managing director, The Business Publishing Ltd

Having read your piece on Olivier Fleurot, chief executive of the Financial Times (page 36, 24 May) – particularly his comments relating to The Business – I must compliment him on how perceptive he is.

You quoted him as saying: "If you can do a serious business newspaper with five journalists, then I really have to change businesses – I'm not the right guy". I'm inclined to agree.

Firstly, he can't count as we have 10 journalists, not five, plus a host of freelance journalists and contributors (it's on page two of The Business every week... perhaps he ran out of fingers?), who produce a superb newspaper that grows in reputation with each issue.

Secondly, The Financial Times newspaper undoubtedly was a great brand, but on his "watch" the newspaper suffered a significant drop in both trading results, before its most recent set of results, and UK circulation figures, where, I suggest, it derives most of its full cover price revenue.

Thirdly, if he was "the right guy", he would have looked at what we have done at The Business, where we reacted immediately to market conditions and cut our cloth accordingly, instead of acting like a sloth on Valium overseeing a structure that made the Titanic look like a wine bottle cork!

No wonder shareholders have reportedly questioned Pearson's continued ownership.


Bosses letting top talent slip through fingers

Judith Leary-Joyce CEO, Great Companies Consulting

I was interested to read your article on life in media (It's work, little rest and low pay, page 30, 24 May), because of my interest in this element of business culture.

There is very clear research to show that when people feel valued and respected in the workplace, the bottom line benefits directly. So I can never understand why leaders don't pay attention for the sake of their businesses, even if they don't care about their people.

My book, Becoming an Employer of Choice, was published last year.

It's very tempting in this glamorous industry to expect people to look after themselves and if they don't like it, to get out.

However, there's a real risk to this, since it's generally star performers who have the courage to move on when they've had enough. End result: You train up high potential talent for your competitors.


Sexes mixed up in our survey

Stewart Gurney Media executive, MediaCom UK

While avidly reading my copy of Media Week (It's work, little rest and low pay, pages 30,32, 24 May), was startled and slightly disturbed to find in the break down of your respondents in your feature that 55% of women were male!

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