Inbox - 30 September 2008

Virgin Media TV,, Starcom MedaVest, Jam.


I read with interest the Vital Stats on TV viewing figures (TV viewers are watching more recorded programmes, 16 September, page 16).

Clearly, this should come as no surprise to those of us already immersed in the new time-lagged, on-demand, multichannel world.

Developments such as V+ and Sky+ have put viewers in greater control, and they're taking advantage. We routinely see audience figures balloon between the morning's overnights and the consolidated data released the following week.

It took a while for PVR viewing to be properly measured, and it's going to take even longer before we get detailed information about on-demand viewing - either via services such as Virgin Media's Catch Up TV, or via the web. The sooner we can crack this, the more accurately we can analyse the revolution that is underway in our industry.

And while I'm on the subject, it also puzzles me how our industry can continue to obsess about how many people watched something, without caring that much about how much they might have enjoyed it. Time for a revolution here, too?

Johnny Webb, Managing director, Virgin Media TV


It's very important not to confuse distribution with circulation (ShortList celebrates its first birthday, 24 September,, and sadly this happens too often.

This importance is reflected by the magazine auditing body, ABC, which, in the men's market, only allows ShortList and Sport Standard Certificates of Distribution, whereas paid-for magazines are awarded Certificates of Circulation.

This crucial difference reflects the huge efforts paid-for titles place in investing in retail space to sell their titles and the circulation process as a whole, and the thousands of hours spent crafting the perfect editorial product to persuade the public to part with their cash. A title only interested in the amount of copies distributed is only focusing on taking as much ad revenue as possible. A point highlighted in the article as the only measure of success discussed, other than profit, is the number of ad pages booked.

ShortList is not the highest circulating men's lifestyle title. It can, however, claim to place more copies into dump bins and other places of "distribution" than anyone else.

Richard Castle, Forum post on


We must not underestimate the power of the careers initiative, Diagonal Thinking, that was launched by the IPA and Andy Burnham last week (Media minister Andy Burnham launches IPA careers initiative, 23 September, page 12).

Not only will this free psychometric profile tool be able to indicate those people most suited to the ad industry - those that have the proven ability of successful adlanders to think both linearly and laterally - but it will also attract people from more diverse social, ethnic and educational backgrounds, who wouldn't currently consider the creative industries as a career option.

This can only serve to increase both the quality and diversity of ad-land, and could even lead to a change in the nature and face of our industry.

I cannot urge our industry enough to get behind this initiative, take the test, and encourage others to take it. It only takes an hour or so to complete, and can be found at

Liz Nottingham, HR director, Starcom MediaVest


Mark Allred, planner at I-Level's social media unit, Jam, is a fan of Facebook's new layout. He says: "I like the new Facebook for the same reason I like the internet: progress is good. Facebook is now easier to use, making it more useful as the 'social utility' it aims to be. The changes allow me to filter activity on the site, and, best of all, I no longer have to wade through literally hundreds of applications just to say 'hi'."

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