A five minute media news update with a little news from the agency too.

Three marketing/media/PR stories. Two agency updates. Read in five minutes.

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New radio audience figures show that BBC Radio 4 lost three-quarters of a million listeners over the last twelve months and BBC 5 Live lost over half a million. BBC Radio 1 also lost 500,000 listeners despite the success of the new Greg James breakfast show, which was up by 300,000. Other flagship programmes, like the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, are holding their own. The official RAJAR figures show that the BBC is facing tough competition from commercial rivals who are poaching stars like Chris Evans and Simon Mayo. The UK’s commercial radio networks are also investing in new, digital-only stations. Despite all of that, the BBC’s total share of the UK’s radio listening audience is still over 50%. The competition remains small by comparison. Virgin Radio has only 450,000 listeners a week compared with 10 million plus for BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 4. The BBC’s director of radio, James Purnell, is said to be focusing on developing the audience for the BBC Sounds app which blends the existing radio content with podcasts and digital only content.
A view from Rule 5...
It’s easy to be critical of the BBC but it is still admired the world over and is a behemoth in both radio and TV. Even a market leader must be concerned about a downward trend. There’s every indication that the BBC is aware of that and has had a new strategy in place. Whilst BBC Sounds has had some critics and inevitable teething problems, it has been promoted highly effectively and it gives the BBC’s radio/audio content a powerful and distinct identity. 


The New York Times newspaper added 265,000 subscriptions during last quarter, the biggest quarterly jump since the months following the 2016 election. The paper ended the year with 3.4 million digital subscriptions with almost a million readers still subscribing to the print only version. Ironically, President Donald Trump who often describes the New York Times as "failing", has played a part in its recent growth with people in the US turning to news outlets that they can trust. The company has now set itself the goal of achieving 10m subscriptions by 2025. "A strong quarter capped a strong year," said Chief Executive Officer and former BBC Director General Mark Thompson. "After just three years, we are already three-quarters of the way to achieving our five-year goal of doubling digital revenue." While many newspaper titles have failed to make up for print losses as readers go digital, the Times has built a large online subscription business. The New York Times’ shares rose by 12 percent to $30 on the news last week.

A view from Rule 5...
These are challenging times for newspaper brands and trusted media in general. Many politicians are waging war against journalism, pushing distorted and inaccurate commentaries at electorates. At the same time, advertising spend is moving to social media giants motivated by driving views rather than accurate news. There is hope for trusted media when we can see newspaper titles building their audiences and reversing many years for financial decline. 


Just over a year ago, Bloomberg launched TicToc, a global news service designed for mobile users. News outlets have for years tweeted links to drive visits to their own sites. TicToc does the work within the confines of the platform.  Facebook has been plagued by associations with fake news content whilst Twitter has become established as a credible source of breaking stories. One year on, Tic Toc’s exclusive first-year arrangement with Twitter has ended and TicToc’s format of short videos is now on Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook too. The organisation has launched its own platform and is bringing the service to taxis and airports. TicToc’s General Manager, Jean Ellen Cowgill says: “People expect that brands will follow them today, they don’t expect to have to go where a brand is.” TicToc uses ’Key Frame’ videos to communicate a story in as little as 10 seconds, similar to headlines in brief at the start of conventional TV news bulletins. TicToc already has bases in New York, London and Hong Kong, with access to Bloomberg’s global network of 2,700 journalists in 120 countries. TicToc has gained close to 600,000 followers on Twitter, which is small in comparison to other major news outlets but impressive for just twelve months. 
A view from Rule 5...
This is a compelling combination of an established trusted news provider embracing a social first strategy. It was a brave move to create a new brand, but it feels more innovative that way. We predict they’ll become a major player. Watch this space.


Rule 5 took home three gold awards at the 2018 CIPR PRide Awards at the end of last year. The tally was the highest for any agency or in-house PR team on the night. The agency’s work with the charity giving platform Wonderful won gold in two categories; Best Community Relations Campaign and also in the Not-for-Profit Campaign category.  For the second year in succession, the agency took home a gold award for its work with Blackpool Pleasure Beach, this time in the Travel, Leisure or Tourism Category. The CIPR PRide Awards, which recognise outstanding public relations, were announced at a black tie awards dinner at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate. Agency Founding Director, Julie Wilson, said: “Insight, thought, creativity and hard work goes into these campaigns. We are lucky also to work with great clients. The PRide Awards are really important to Rule 5 and it’s a joy to be able to celebrate with the team.” 2018 is the sixth consecutive year that Rule 5 has been recognised in industry awards. The agency has won awards every year since it was founded in November 2012. 


EventCity, the largest exhibition, conference and trade show venue in the North, has appointed the agency to support its growth strategy for 2019. Rule 5 will work with EventCity (future vision pictured above), to promote the venue’s capability as both the largest and most accessible venue of its type, in the North of England. EventCity is a huge blank canvas venue, with 28,000 m2 of versatile space. The venue has doorways big enough to wheel a plane through and free parking next to the venue for both visitors and exhibitors. Simon Jones, Sales Director of EventCity, commented: “Rule 5’s strong reputation in the communications industry really stood out to us. This year will be a really busy year for us and we are excited to be working with the team at Rule 5 to build on the business profile.”
Rule 5 Co-Founder, Rob Brown, added: “As the North’s leading exhibition, event and multipurpose venue, EventCity is already well-recognised so we’ll be working with the team to extend their reputation across the region and nationally.”


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Issue 49
February 2019

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Rule 5 · Arrive, White Tower · MediaCityUK · Salford, M50 2NT · United Kingdom

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