Tag Archives: finance

Company finance search tool Duedil receives further funding

Duedil, which describes itself as the world’s largest database of free company financials, has just finalised a second round of investment from Jonty Hurwitz, the founding CTO of loans firm Wonga.

Duedil is a free tool that all journalists should take a look at, as it provides a hugely valuable way to search for information on company finance, directorships and more.

Duedil’s database lists every company and director in the UK and Ireland allowing anyone to access the information for free.

It has recently added new features including alerting you to which of your LinkedIn contacts may be able to provide information on that company.

In a release, Duedil said it “has ambitious plans to revolutionise the way business information is accessed and used”.

Angel investor Hurwitz, who is investing an undisclosed sum and has a minority stake in Duedil, “has built a team and technology platform that have radically altered the short-term finance market,” the release states.

Founded in 2007 with Errol Damelin, Wonga turned over £74 million in 2009, and is growing every year.

The release states:

With an eye for the next big thing, Hurwitz sees the vast potential for business growth in big data analytics. He will bring both his technical and strategic expertise to Duedil, which he hopes will develop into the premier source of business information in the world.

FT.com: Thomson Reuters’ video product Insider to launch on 11 May

Thomson Reuters is planning to launch a series of new web products and overhaul its markets division as part of plans to streamline the company and reach growing audiences of younger, web-savvy readers and smaller business customers.

Among the developments:

  • An “enterprise platform” offering faster delivery of data to clients and online training and customer service support to smaller customers;
  • The launch of online video product Insider on May 11, which it has been testing since last year;
  • A new desktop platform, Eikon, to launch in autumn, offering a wider range of data and personalisation features.

Full story at this link…

What’s the average cost of a news article?

Media journalist Patrick Smith asks on this blog today How much is an article worth? His answer, as far as likely online readers are concerned, is very little.

This got me thinking. How much does a news article cost to produce? Journalism.co.uk is an online-only operation – a bootstrap operation as Kevin Anderson once called it – and obviously has much lower overheads than London-based national newsaper businesses. But if we could work out the cost-per-article for our own business, then that would at least provide a baseline guide to the likely costs to Murdoch et al.

Taking into account wages, expenses and a percentage of overall overheads (rent, bills etc), but discounting non-news-related administration, aggregation, tip of the days etc, we calculated the average cost of an article (feature, news story or blog post) to be around £37.00.

We have no intention of erecting a paywall around our news content, but if we were to, just to recoup that expenditure we would need 370 people to pay 10p each to read each article, or 3,700 to pay 1p each. In 2009, the average number of page views per article on our blog and main site was 440 (this includes all our aggregation posts, which probably skew the figure downwards slightly) but that means at current traffic levels we would need a model of 10p per article to be paid for by 84 per cent of our current readers.

Factoring in the much greater overheads of national newspaper publications, I would guess that the cost per article could be as much as 10 times the cost to us, perhaps around the £400 mark. I could be wildly off, and would be very interested to hear from anyone who has actually analysed this properly, but I think it is pretty obvious that there is a serious problem with the paywall model as a sole path to profitable news production.

Journalism Daily: thelondonpaper to close, tax and video for freelancers and video mag ads

A daily round-up of all the content published on the Journalism.co.uk site. You can also sign up to our e-newsletter and subscribe to the feed for the Journalism Daily here.

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Could a new project rise out of the Newspaper Education Trust’s ashes?

As reported on Journalism.co.uk, we said farewell to the Newspaper Education Trust last night. A small gathering at Westferry Printers on London’s Isle of Dogs closed the door on a project that had run for 15 years and given over 30,000 schoolchildren a taste of the newsroom. I have written before about the project’s closure shortly after I heard about it in June, and said then that the failure to provide the funds to keep this project going was an indictment of the trade. Last night’s event reinforced that view.

The enthusiasm with which the kids embraced their ‘day in the newsroom’ and the effect it had on their confidence can’t be overestimated. When I described the project as ‘inspirational’ I was conscious that overuse has devalued the word’s currency, but it is appropriate in this case. Reading the testimonials from the kids backed this up, and hearing tales of proud parents mounting their child’s front page in gold frames which took pride of place at home provided further insight into what this meant.

I only met the project’s dedicated chief executive Anna Pangbourne earlier this year, when she approached me after a debate at Publishing Expo and explained what the NET did. That it has been going for 15 years and provided so much for so many is thanks to the work and backing of the project’s staff, but also the backers and the trustees. So I don’t want to be too critical, especially as someone who came to the NET late. But looking at those backers I wondered how it was that, even in these recessionary times, these organisations could not find the relatively small amounts required to keep the project going. Especially when the NUJ, with access to considerably more meagre resources, did pledge some money as I helped Anna in a last push for finance.

It all came to an end very fast. When I spoke to Anna in March she mentioned a potential funding problem. Three months later the NET was wound up. I should emphasise I don’t want to come across as critical of anyone who has helped the project throughout its 15 years – without their efforts and support it wouldn’t have existed in the first place. And yet…

Here we had a resource with cutting edge equipment – the NET used Smart boards long before many media groups – which demonstrated both the power of the media and how it could empower people. It sparked schoolchildren’s imagination by involving them in the process of investigating, questioning and creating, and boosted their confidence by encouraging them to follow up their judgments. This is the generation who, we are led to believe, do not recognise the difference between journalism and simply communicating, whose blogging and Facebooking and video gaming and digital dexterity means all existing media will be swept away and replaced by a vast communal conversation. And yet here they were, valuing the process of checking, standing up stories, working out how to present information to target readers – creating the very media too many in the trade display such a depressing lack of confidence in.

At the closing event, the ‘move to a digital age’ was cited as one reason why the decision to wind up the NET on a high was taken. And yet the NET had not only embraced digital production technology for print, it had also began to offer basic TV bulletin courses in its media studio. Plans for expanding into podcasting and greater use of converged media were also being made. That all sounds very much like moving to a digital age to me.

One of the NET’s many achievements has been to pass on the legacy of its work, and the Tower Hamlets Summer University will be taking on some of the kit and course framework to offer its students. I’m talking to the Summer Uni about the possibility of linking up with London’s journalism colleges, and with the Summer University model now being taken up across London and beyond there is a chance that what the NET started can be taken on and built on a much wider scale.

Why is all this important? There’s an obvious answer, and a not so obvious one. If any trade wants to attract and nurture the best, it needs to inspire and illuminate future generations. But this is not just about the trade getting a new workforce. Much is said about the information age, but many educators and politicians are still thinking in boxes rather than realising that communications skills are key to so much of modern life. It’s not just potential journalists who need to know how to handle media technology and process information – the ability to communicate well is more vital than ever before.

If anyone is interested in developing any of this, I’d be happy to hear from you.

This post originally appeared on MartinCloake.wordpress.com. Martin Cloake is a writer, production journalist and media consultant. His website can be found at this link.

Let your mind wander: the Economist’s new campaign

In case you haven’t yet seen it, here’s some more free publicity for the Economist – the publication’s new advert asking us to let our minds wander (or legs, perhaps, to the newsagent.)

In June FoliMag reported that the Economist’s profits were up 26 per cent for the last fiscal year.

“The London-based company, which publishes its namesake magazine, reported approximately $92 million in operating profit, up 26 percent over the previous 12-month period. Revenue was up 17 percent to roughly $514.2 million.”

“The Economist’s worldwide circulation grew 6.4 percent during the period to 1,390,780, the company said. Ad revenue at Economist.com was up 29 percent while page views were up 53 percent.”

The Guardian, however, reported that overall advertising was down:

“Chris Stibbs, the Economist Group’s finance director, said that advertising across the company first turned negative in the final quarter of its financial year, between January and March 2009, and has continued to show a year-on-year decline since then.”

It attributed the profit-rise to recent job cuts:

“[T]he group has remained profitable thanks to a cost-cutting programme that has seen around 130 jobs cut – roughly one in 10 of the company’s global workforce – and leaving it with a staff of 1,100.”

NB: The Economist calls itself a newspaper, not a magazine: see the website for a lengthy description of its history.

Sydney Morning Herald: Financial and sports news readers will pay online, says survey

A new survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers has suggested that readers interested in finance and sport showed a ‘relatively high willingness’ to pay for this type of content online.

“But overall, consumers were not prepared to pay as much for online content as for a traditional paper, and ‘would choose free content when the quality was comparable or sufficient for their purpose’,” says the Herald’s report.

Full story at this link…

Columbia Journalism Review: Identity crisis at the Wall Street Journal?

Liza Featherstone takes a look at working relationships and attitudes at the Wall Street Journal, since it was sold to Rupert Murdoch in 2007, for the Columbia Journalism Review.

“At the Journal’s offices in lower Manhattan, just about everyone is grateful that the new owner has deep pockets and is willing to invest in reporting – both rare commodities in the industry these days. Yet there are reasons to fear that in the midst of a global financial crisis, arguably the biggest test a business newspaper could face, with greater demand for high-quality journalism on finance and the economy than at anytime in decades, the Journal is abandoning values that have long distinguished it: a commitment to deep reporting and elegant writing.”

Full post at this link…

FT results: FT.com paid-for subscriptions up 9%

According to parent company Pearson’s preliminary financial results for 2008, released today, the Financial Times’ website saw a 9 per cent growth in paid-for subscribers to 109,609.

Register users – the free-part of the access model – increased from approximately 150,000 at the end of 2007 to 966,000 by the end of last year.

In September last year, FT.com managing director Rob Grimshaw told Journalism.co.uk that the financial crisis had caused an explosion in registrations and subscriptions to the site.

Advertising revenues for FT Publishing as a group fell by 4 per cent, but overall profits for 2008 rose by 13 per cent to £195 million.

“[G]rowth of digital and subscription businesses and strong demand for premium content exceed decline in advertising revenues,” said a release from Pearson.

“At the FT Group, we anticipate continued strong demand for high-quality analysis of global business, finance, politics and economics; a tough year for advertising; strong renewal rates in our subscription businesses; and continued growth at Interactive Data.”

The group’s publishing division posted a 9 per cent increase in sales to £74m (£56m in 2007).

Pearson itself recorded an adjusted operating profit rise of 11 per cent to £762 million in 2008.