Thursday, March 29, 2007

"Media owners, on your Mark"

This headline occurred in the Sydney Morning Herald this morning as Helen Coonan, the Federal Communications Minister has surprised the industry by bringing forward by 2 months the foreshadowed scrapping of foreign ownership restrictions. See the article at:

I've plotted the firms mentioned in the article on the media ownership map (you may need to click on the map to open it up for better viewing). Looks complicated, because it is! The map tends to place owners spatially close to each other when they have overlapping interests like joint ownership in a radio or TV license. So one can see that the proposed merger between Fairfax and Rural press is not radical as they share ownership of a number of licenses. Likewise with APN News & Media and Independent News and Media. Seven network is plotted with Ten network and WA Newspapers, though the article suggests merger activity is unlikely at this stage. Spatially they are marginally spearated but are still part of the large cluster of owners in the centre of the map.

Perhaps the most interesting association mentioned in the article is Macquarie's investment in Southern Cross. Macquarie media's ownership has been concentrated in rural radio stations as can be seen on the map. Southern Cross in comparision has quite diverse interests in both radio and TV and quite separate from Macquarie's current interests. As my media report shows, a network analysis places Southern Cross in a very powerful brokering position in the Australian media market. It looks like Macquarie Media has made a very astute investment compared to its peers, who have tended to look closer to home for their acquisitions.

What isn't shown on the map is the private equity firms like KKR and 452 Capital mentioned in the article. Private equity appears to be playing an increasingly important role in media ownership. I can't imagine though how much more complex this map would look, but maybe I'll give it a go some time...if I can access the data!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Putting the "R" back in CRM

The "R" stands for "Relationship" right? or with most CRM systems is it really "Recording" for Customer Recording System. Once we've capture all these client details and history how much does it really help us understand client relationships? Of course data on repeat buyers may infer a good relationship, but with who? When it gets down to it companies don't have relationships, people do. How much do CRM systems help us with who in the client orgnaisation has a good relationship with whom in your organisation. I suspect very little if not at all.

Imagine if your CRM system gave you this information as well as how your clients are related to each other. Knowing whom in your client base play "key opinion leader" roles can be a trigger for your viral marketing campaigns and improve the effectiveness of your sales activities. I've had a number of discussion in the past week which suggest that the above is what companies are really needing ONA exercise which explores your marketplace. And what's more, the information on building such a relationship map is likely to be available from people in your very own organisation, if we are to believe the folks from SCIP (Society for Competitive Intelligence Professionals) ...see

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Water licenses in a drought

I visited the Sydney Water Catchment authority today to meet with my good friends Serena Joyner, a keen KMer and network fan and Lea Rosser, a research colleague and now new GM of Coporate services. We got to talking about our board interlock and media ownership maps and the topic of water licenses came up as another prospective area of ownership mapping. What prompted the discussion is the recent news that Macquarie Bank are buying up water licenses from farmers. Macquarie have been astutely acquiring Australian infrastructure like toll ways, airports and are currently bidding for QANTAS.....they figure prominantly in our board interlocks and media ownership water...what next?