It is down to M&M Global readers to decide which global media company they believe should be crowned International Media Brand of the Year 2015.
The M&M team selected eight international media owners that have shown brand development over the last 12 months, success within the marketplace, influenced media practice in the global landscape, and delivered for agencies and advertisers during the qualifying period.
Here we run through each of the candidates – click here to cast your vote.
“It’s time to be a proper media company” – that was the rallying cry from Bloomberg Media’s EMEA managing director Adam Freeman earlier this year, as the publisher launched its new Bloomberg Business portal. These are ambitious times for Bloomberg, which is adopting a new, more creative approach to advertiser partnerships. Late last year, it secured a major coup with the recruitment of The Economist editor John Micklethwait, who joined as editor-in-chief. The new direction seems to be working, too: in April it registered its best traffic month to date, reaching 20.8 million unique visitors in the US and surpassing the Wall Street Journal for the first time.
Disney still finds itself riding on the crest of a Frozen wave – and the recent announcement of a sequel to every child’s favourite animated movie has done nothing to dampen the enthusiasm. The company also has the small matter of a new Star Wars film to look forward to later this year, as well as the usual conveyor belt of Marvel blockbusters. In March, chief executive Bob Iger hinted that wearable technology like Apple Watch will play a key role in the brand’s future, proving the company isn’t resting on its laurels. Disney retained second spot in ZenithOptimedia’s annual ranking of the world’s biggest media owners, behind only Google.
First quarter revenues up 42% to $3.5bn, monthly users up 13% year-on-year to 1.44 billion: we have grown all-too accustomed to statistics describing Facebook’s ongoing stratospheric performance. The social network already dominates a quarter of the US digital display market, and has seen its mobile ad revenue grow by 73% on its 2014 performance. Facebook is finding new consumers and advertisers through the increased monetisation of Instagram, and posing a real challenge to Google in the online video space. Its next frontier will arrive in early 2016, when the Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets finally reach consumers.
One of the great success stories of print media reinvention for the digital age, Mail Online continues to add online readers. Earlier this year, the publisher said it had recorded over 14.7 million global average daily unique visitors, and 219 million for the month. It continues to develop from UK newspaper publisher to global media player, launching Dailymail.com in the US under the guidance of North America CEO Jon Steinberg. And the company caught the attention of this year’s Cannes Lions festival with the announcement of Truffle Pig, its content marketing joint venture with Snapchat and WPP.
The launch of Apple Music and Jay Z’s Tidal has helped generate a surge in interest around music streaming services, but Spotify remains the gold standard. It has become a go-to portal for brands targeting Millennials, with major advertisers like Corona Extra and Starbucks engaging in multi-territory partnerships with Spotify. It tied up with taxi app Uber to allow passengers to stream their playlists for the duration of their journey. The next step for Spotify is video: in May, it launched a series of video channels with media brands like the BBC and VICE, and will be commissioning its own video content as well.
With a growing global circulation – 1.5 million including print and digital versions – and annual profits of over $90m, The Economist continues to defy the doom and gloom around print media. Following the loss of editor John Micklethwait to Bloomberg, the current affairs title appointed Zanny Minton Beddoe as its first female editor, with digital guru Tom Standage stepping up to deputy editor. And digital dominates the agenda at The Economist, from the launch of an Apple Watch app to the creation of Economist Films, a dedicated video arm to produce high-end, factual programmes.
As any upstart reaches maturity, there are bound to be growing pains. Twitter is experiencing its own transition, with chief executive Dick Costolo leaving and co-founder Jack Dorsey taking over on an interim basis. However, the site remains a vital tool for advertisers wishing to tap into cultural movements and moments. Twitter has also boosted its video approach, launching in-feed autoplay for native videos, Vines and gifs, as well as investing in live-streaming service Periscope. Its first quarter profits reached $436m, slightly down on expectations but up 74% year-on-year, proving rumours of its demise are greatly exaggerated.
Long perceived as too-cool-for-school when it came to working with brands, Vice Media is now getting serious about helping advertisers to connect with its youthful global audience. Its recent partnership with Unilever for the launch of a female-focused online content channel called Broadly is an example of this collaborative spirit, as is its digital video alliance with Bank of America and Pinterest. The recruitment of theAudience co-founder Mark Adams as senior vice president and head of innovation suggests more unique commercial tie-ups are on the way. Meanwhile, Vice’s content armoury grows stronger with the launch of Vice Films.
The M&M Global Awards 2015 gala ceremony will take place at Grosvenor House on London’s Park Lane on Thursday 3 September. Click here to book your tickets and tables to attend.