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The 1st decade of the 21st Century started during the bubble and only eight years later the financial crash hit us in 2008 with a subsequent global economic crisis. Alongside this, the digital revolution created opportunity and jobs as well as threatening business and employment in others.

In 2013 as we in the UK emerge from recession, with cautious optimism, I am contemplating where the opportunities will be in 2020 and beyond.

Fortuitously, whilst starting to ponder this, the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations, Chaired by Pascal Lamy, the former Director-General of the WTO obliged by publishing "Now for The Long Term" a report that identifies global megatrends that have huge implications.

The report is structured in 3 parts with reference to the identified megatrends:

Part A Possible Responses

Part B Responsible Futures

Part C Practical Futures

I found this very useful, as although I am well aware of digital developments, it's good to take a helicopter view of all trends and bookmark business and digital trends against them. One aspect of the report, which interests me, is the need to review "Quarterly earnings targets, “hyper-speed” trading systems, and how impatient stakeholders reinforce short-termism in business". The report says, "There are positive signs. Many companies have embraced corporate social responsibility and other long-term impact targets. The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants has noted the “retreat from shareholder value as the dominant business philosophy and increasing interest in alternative corporate models, such as those common in India and China”.

But this leads me on to explore the importance of reporting about and the balance between all customer groups. For example, for businesses, are shareholders more important than customers, suppliers, partners, employees and regulatory bodies? Food for thought for the Oxford Martin Commission perhaps?

The "G" word, growth, is on the tip of a lot of tongues at the moment, so I decided to attend a discussion relevant to Digital businesses, held at the new Google Campus.

It was organised by COADEC, who do a great job in organising pertinent digital networking events, and progressing important dialogues on digital development in the UK, and I'm very happy to support them.

Disappointed that Kulveer Ranger Director of Environment and Digital London for the Mayor of London was unable to attend, as I was really looking forward to hearing what he had to say. He must be a really busy person with two very important briefs, Environment and Digital, to cover for London.

However, Andrew Humphries, Tech City Champion at the UKTI, Chris Yiu, Head of Digital Government at Policy Exchange, Greg McCulloch, MC Interxion spoke on the subject with Sara Kelly of Coadec hosting the event.

In my opinion, Digital London, is now very well supported, by Mentors, entrepreneurial platforms, start up accelerators, investors, Government, Universities etc. It was interesting to observe Chris Yiu's considered thoughts on what else could be done to minimise business administration, and to consider different tax routes for start ups. There do not seem to be many stones left unturned by the Government in terms of what help can be offered to assist with the rapid development of the sector. Excluding start ups from Employer National Insurance is a good idea that is supported by many politicians, but this is still on the back burner.

However, with all the help and focus, there are some successes coming through the pipeline. Andrew Humphries mentioned two, who received investment from Californian VC's recently. I have found from my mentoring work, that patience is required, developments take time.

One thought running through my mind from last night, is that we need many more new digital ideas to accelerate growth more rapidly. Ideas not just from the Tech Sector, or from the next generation coming through, but ideas from different groups from anywhere in the world, certainly across the UK. The infrastructure exists in London to support the development of ideas. The idealists might not want to develop the ideas, but others can do this for them. The question I am asking myself is how can these ideas be stimulated, how can they be harvested and prioritised?

People in the UK are really resourceful, and at a time of real need to solve economic problems, we should reach out to them for their great ideas.

There is a great opportunity to engage everyone and provide impetus to support digital growth. It still might take time, but perhaps there will be more successes to celebrate.

I attended my first seminar at The Hospital in Covent Garden, organised by Figaro Digital. Figaro are newish, set up in May 08 They publish a quarterly magazine, Figaro Digital. I was impressed. One of the great things about the digital sector is the collaborative approach amongst companies. Figaro demonstrate this very well, offering these seminars free of charge, while they build up their customer base and partnerships.

Their speakers included Matt Hunt UK MD of Adconion,, They are a global online ad sales network. Evolving to capitalise on the opportunity their technical expertise and reach provides in content serving/distribution/syndication for publishers, to secure rev and market share in the online video advertising market as it develops, as well as selling/serving online advertising. I realised afterwards that I briefly crossed career paths with Keith Kaplan their President of North America, at Interactive Search Holdings. Small digital world! They work with Joost, who are pioneers in the online video content space.

Ad networks/serving businesses have been successful in securing a large share of the online advertising display market to date, and some notable examples have been acquired by Google (Doubleclick), Microsoft (aQuantive) and Orange (Unanimis) and there is every reason to expect that ad networks will be successful in video online given their expertise and drive, but I think they will be given a run for their money by the established TV networks and TV Buyers on their home turf.

Francis Turner of .Fox Networks, forecasted £65m this year for the UK Video Online ad market (In stream). However, put that in perspective with the total UK online ad market at £3.54b in 2009 and within that online UK display at £709.3m (IAB/PWC), and GroupM’s latest Jun 10 UK TV Advertising forecast for 2010 at £3.329b, there is an exciting journey ahead. As an aside, I noted recently a headline that Forrester is predicting video will be the fastest growing interactive advertising format in Europe over the next five years, with advertisers spending more than €1bn (£860m) on the medium.

Toby Crisp of comScore Inc presented an interesting overview of the UK online video market. YouTube dominate with 49% of audience share, over the remaining 51% distributed over a long tail after Facebook, BBC, ITV, BSkyB who are all making good progress. I asked Toby how he thought this might change over the next few years. His personal comments were that it depends on YouTube’s further success in developing distribution/rev share with content providers like UK Broadcaster Channel 4, etc, versus how aggregators/distributors (Adconion aim to be amongst them) and broadcasters develop their video online interests. The average length of video viewed online is now 5.1 minutes, which incidentally is the IAB’s definition of long form video, so it’s not just about user generated content anymore. Only 5% of mobile users view video online, but 14% of smart phone owners, a very lucrative and targetable audience of predominantly higher earners aged 24-34. 38% of all time spent online is now spent watching video content. Strong points for online video are convenience of how you view (easy to stop/start/pause) when (time flexible) and where (multiple or mobile locations). TV still wins out though in terms of pleasure of the viewing experience in both vision and sound on the big screen.

Both Robert Black of EyeWonder and Steve Doyle of InSkin Media presented their very innovative ad formats.The former has been bought by Lime Light, a large content service provider, and I expect that more of these businesses will be consolidated higher up the online video revenue chain over the next few years. Robert Black also chairs IAB’s online video committee, and has been championing audience research work (VAST –open source so able to work Agency/Broadcaster/Advertiser research) which originated from the IAB USA. I sold TV for several years earlier in my career, I know all about the power of sight, sound, motion, and subliminal messages for brands. Steve Doyle of InSkin summarised that online video offers all of these, together with long dwell times, interaction, positive engagement and brand metrics as well, a feast of opportunity, and great news for advertisers wanting to find out more about ROI.

Charlie Grive, MD of Brandcast Media, a versatile production business that has grasped online developments across the board presented his work and credentials. His innovative work with professional communities like Oncologists is inspiring.

I met some great people during drinks after (sponsored by, recruiters for digital - thanks). It was interesting for me to consider updated views of a sector that I know well. Well done Figaro, look forward to the next one!

Read this article in last Saturday’s Times biz section, with hesitant but positive remarks by Martin Sorrell (WPP), regarding ad revenue growth and digital marketing investment in 2010.

Very encouraged by this, and also feedback from a senior international web publisher, who advised me this week, the time is now right to re-approach the market, things are picking up.

I pressed the pause button in 2009, on working with established digital businesses, as everyone was hunkered down, riding through the storm of the recession. I have been concentrating on new start ups, and reaching out to partners to work with me on larger accounts.

Two of these are Ad Monsters, the online operations experts and Generator, the consulting arm of

With growth forecasted for the UK economy in the 2nd half, I’m hoping that established digital marketing businesses are preparing to invest, and see this as an opportunity to move forward with them. 21st Century Growth Ad Monsters adconion Agillic amazon AOL apps aQuantive BallouPR BBC Online behavioural science Bladerston Capital blog-ola Bloggers blogosphere Bootlaw Brainient Brandcast Media BSkyB Channel 4 Charlotte Street Hotel Ciklum City Am Claire Paterson COADEC Codility CognitiveMatch com comscore inc Comufy Cowboy Ventures customers David Cameron digital Digital London digital marketing digital revolution bubble Doubleclick e-commerce Eagle Eye Ebay Email Eric Schmidt Erply EU cookie legislation Eyewonder Facebook FaceBook FCC Figaro Flattr Forrester FT Games General Motors generator global economic crisis Google Google+ Group M Professor Hargreaves Hulu i-level IAB IBC IBM SmartCamp independent Innovation Warehouse InSkin Media Inspire Conference IP ITV kinetise Launch 48 location targeting technology Luca Media martin sorrell MashUP* Microsoft Mind Candy MoshiMonsters Multiple channels Naked Play Neo@Ogilvy Netflix Now For The Long Term Ogilvy online danger online sales Online T's & C's online video Oodle OpenX Orange Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations Parag Khanna PatientKnowsBest people Policy Exchange; smart cities ; GLA; Catapault; Bristol Futures; UK Broadband: Camden Council; Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis Postmates process Propel London Proximity London PWC recession revenue Rory Sutherland Seedcamp Shuttle Sky SkyPlus social marketing ROI social marketing systems social media Social networks Soundcloud Spotify Start Ups Stephen Shakespeare Stradbroke Advisors Sunday Times Tech Hub TechCity Techcrunch techcrunch Tess Alps The Europa awards ThinkBox Timesonline TV Genius Tweets Twitter Uber UCL; Sharing Economy; Love Home Swap; unknown unknowns;;; UK Trade & Industry Unanimis Unicorn Club User behaviour VAST web security Webinar White Bear Yard wordpress WPP Yieldex YouTube Zeebox Zonerider