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Media Growth Survey of more than 300 media industry executives shows that the ability to attract and retain talent is the #1 challenge to growth

New York, NY January 23, 2012 – Media industry executives are cautiously optimistic about 2012, as they expect less from organic growth in the year ahead and more growth to be driven by new product development, acquisitions and entering new markets and verticals, according to the second annual Media Growth Survey from Econsultancy (http://econsultancy.com), a digital publishing and training company for digital marketing and The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc. (www.jegi.com), a New York-based independent investment banking firm. The findings are based on research results from a survey of nearly 325 industry thought leaders and influencers (89% of which were c-level executives), and follow-up one-on-one interviews with key industry executives.

For many companies in the study, new product development hinges on the combination of core skills and emerging skill sets/ technologies. Larger companies have been focused on “being big, but acting small,” a response to the need for companies to be faster to market with products and faster to recognize a potential success or failure. This manifests in a number of ways, from mass restructuring to the creation of discrete product-focused groups that have latitude to make decisions and investments.

#1 Challenge to Growth – Attracting and Keeping Talent

The real freedom for companies to act is slowed by the number one challenge facing most organizations – the ability to attract and keep talent. The survey found that compensation is no silver bullet – independence, flex-time, working from home and other lifestyle related benefits are often the most effective incentive. For senior managers at traditionally-minded companies, it can be hard to understand and compensate for modern attitudes toward the work environment.

Companies Actively Looking to Acquire

Larger and mid-sized companies (above $50 million in revenue) were especially bullish about making one or more acquisitions in 2012. Many organizations have been sitting on cash through the economic downturn, and are now ready to put that capital to use to propel growth. At the same time, financial institutions are eager to find “safe” investments. For companies at the top of the food chain, there are ready funds for acquisitions.

Meanwhile, these conditions are providing a wealth of potential deal opportunities for emerging companies, which are quickly entering the market for a liquidity event. The European economic crisis has also driven opportunities for prospective acquirers. The inability of European companies to access credit is driving divestiture by larger organizations and a scramble for exits by smaller ones.

Of course, challenges exist, and senior executives cite an ongoing gap in valuation expectations between buyers and sellers as the primary obstacle to completing acquisitions. Competition for targets is a concern, especially among larger organizations. However, the credit crunch is expected to be less of an issue in 2012.

Companies Planning Divestitures

Divestitures aren’t as common a goal as acquisitions, but are still expected by nearly half of the largest companies in the sample. In many cases, planned divestitures are part of a strategic refocusing on higher margin or protectable lines of business. In several cases, specific planned divestitures by interviewees involved the sale of “knee-jerk acquisitions” made during the early days of digital competition and growth.

With more than a decade of experience in the new economy, companies are far more capable of identifying those areas where they can, and cannot, effectively compete.

Twofold Conclusion

As one CEO noted, “It’s twofold, isn’t it? You’ve got to recruit and develop the talent that can grow the business internally, but also look for the right acquisition opportunities. Getting the balance right in terms of executive time spent is difficult. In the last year, we focused on internal development. Now, we have better access to capital, so it’s time to look outward and take advantage of our market position and combine that with new ideas and technologies that can come through acquisition.”

For the complete Media Growth Survey Report, click here:
http://econsultancy.com/us/reports/media-growth-trends

About Econsultancy

Econsultancy is a digital publishing and training group that is used by more than 400,000 Internet professionals every month. The company publishes practical and time-saving research to help marketers make better decisions about the digital environment, build business cases, find the best suppliers, look smart in meetings and accelerate their careers. Econsultancy has offices in New York and London, and hosts more than 100 events every year in the US and UK. Many of the world's most famous brands use Econsultancy to educate and train their staff. Some of Econsultancy’s members include: Google, Yahoo, Dell, BBC, BT, Shell, Vodafone, Virgin Atlantic, Barclays, Deloitte, T-Mobile and Estée Lauder. For more information, visit http://econsultancy.com.

About JEGI

The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc. (JEGI) of New York, NY is the leading independent investment bank for the media, information, marketing services and technology sectors. Since 1987, JEGI has completed more than 500 high-profile M&A transactions for global corporations; middle-market and emerging companies; entrepreneurial owners; and private equity and venture capital funds. For more information, visit www.jegi.com or contact Adam Gross, Chief Marketing Officer at 212-754-0710 or adamg@jegi.com.

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Published on: 10:10PM on 26th January 2012