Wednesday, September 30, 2009

UK Internet ad spend overtakes TV for first time

This is big news!

LONDON (Reuters) - Spending on Internet advertising in Britain grew 4.6 percent in the first half of 2009, outperforming the wider ad sector, which slumped 17 percent, and making it the country's biggest ad medium ahead of TV.

According to the biannual report from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), ad spend on the Internet grew to 1.75 billion pounds, with the medium accounting for 23.5 percent of all spend, ahead of television for the first time.

Guy Phillipson, chief executive of the IAB, told Reuters the jump ahead of TV as the leading medium had come earlier than he expected and that the growth boded well for the rest of the year.

He believes there will be some growth in 2010 for online advertising, and double digit percentage growth by 2011.

"This is a significant milestone," he said. "This is the first major market where online has overtaken television to become the biggest single medium."

Online growth had slowed considerably compared with the 21 percent reported for the first half of 2008, but it still fared far better than television, print and radio, the report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the World Advertising Research Center said.

"Perhaps surprisingly, a slowing economy has accelerated the migration to digital technology," Eva Berg-Winters of PWC said. "Hence the continuing shift from more traditional forms of advertising to online, which promises return on investment and measurability in a period of instability."

According to the report, the Internet accounted for 23.5 percent of all spend, compared with 18.7 percent in the first half of 2008. Television accounted for 21.9 percent, press display for 18.5 percent and direct mail for 11.5 percent.

The shake-up in market share followed a 16.1 percent fall in television spend, and a more than 20 percent fall in press display, outdoor advertising and directories. Spend on press classified fell 37 percent.

The report confirms the torrid time suffered by commercial media groups of late, such as free-to-air broadcasters, newspapers and radio, which rely on advertising and are now looking for alternative revenue streams.

ITV, Britain's biggest commercial free-to-air broadcaster, said net advertising revenue for the family of ITV channels fell 15 percent in the first half of the year.

The IAB report said the Internet had avoided this slump, due to the strong demand for paid-for search on sites such as Google and resilience shown by classified online ads.

Paid-for search grew 6.8 percent from the first half of 2008 to 2009, with marketers investing 1.05 billion pounds, equating to 60 percent of all online advertising expenditure.

Classified adverts, which are moving from print to online, grew by 10.6 percent to 385 million pounds, while online display adverts fell 5.2 percent.

Britain remains the world leader in terms of market share for online advertising, due to the use of online networks to place advertising, the availability of fast and cheap broadband and the popularity of new formats such as video adverts.

(Reporting by Kate Holton, editing by Will Waterman)

The power of Education

From Estelle Morris' (chair of the strategy board at the Institute of Effective Education, ­ University of York) article in today's Guardian:

Most of all, we mustn't lose our enthusiasm or our belief in the power of education to effect change. We've seen a significant shift in people's attitudes to education and learning. The education system has higher expectations; more parents demand higher standards; more people want to go to university; there is less tolerance of underachievement, more appreciation of a broader curriculum.

Proposals must be driven by education and not political considerations. What is politically acceptable doesn't always make for good education.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The responsibility of parents

Parents in the UK are to be handed a leaflet warning them they must take responsibility for their child's behaviour at school or face sanctions, Children's Secretary Ed Balls will announce.

And it warns parents they could be barred from school premises if they fail to treat staff courteously.

The leaflet says that every parent must respect their school's behaviour policy and the authority of staff.

"You should help ensure that your child follows school rules and be prepared to work with the school, if need be, to improve your child's behaviour."

It says: "Good behaviour and strong discipline go hand in hand with effective teaching and learning. Teachers cannot teach effectively and pupils cannot learn effectively in classes disrupted by poor behaviour.

"The most important thing you can do to support the school is to send your child to school each day on time, equipped and ready to learn."

The leaflet adds: "You should treat school staff with the same respect you would expect to receive from them. Parents can be barred from school premises if their behaviour is unreasonable, and they can be prosecuted if they break the ban.

"If parents refuse unreasonably to sign up and support the school's behaviour policy, this can be used by schools to support applications to the courts for Parenting Orders. These orders usually require parents to attend parenting classes to help them manage their child's behaviour."

The leaflet will also tell parents how they can expect their school to maintain good behaviour. It comes as Mr Balls prepares to outline steps heads and governors can take to improve behaviour.

He will tell the Labour party conference in Brighton: "Parents want their children to go to an orderly school with a strong head teacher who won't tolerate bullying or disruptive behaviour in the classroom. So we will back head teachers, and expect all parents to back teachers too, so they have the confidence to use their powers to the full so they can get on and teach and all children can learn."


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mugabe and Nestle

The Swiss food giant buys up to a million litres a year from Gushungo Dairy Estate, controlled by Mrs Mugabe since, according to other dairymen, the previous white owner was forced by a campaign of violence to sell his property to the authorities for a knock-down price.

Under the European Union and American targeted sanctions against members of Mr Mugabe's network, it is illegal to transfer money or make transactions respectively with Mrs Mugabe.

Switzerland has its own set of sanctions, similar to the EU measures, which also target Mrs Mugabe and which prohibit providing funds to her or putting them 'directly or indirectly', at her disposition. Nestlé denies that it has broken Swiss law.

A Nestlé spokesman confirmed that at the end of last year, after eight of its 16 suppliers in Zimbabwe went out of business, Nestlé Zimbabwe - its subsidiary in the country - started buying milk on the open market, some of it from Gushungo Dairy Estate.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

University ranking based on the contribution to society

The Washington Monthly's 2009 national university college rankings.

They rate schools based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: Social Mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), Research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and Service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).

And the ranking?

1. UC Berkeley
2. UC San Diego
4. Stanford (4), the only private institution in the top 10.
10. UC Davis
11. Harvard
12. MIT
16. UC Riverside (16)
21. Santa Barbara
Six UC schools in the top 25.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Uruguay allows same-sex adoption

Same-sex couples in Uruguay will be able to adopt children following the approval of a controversial bill by the country's senate.

The move means Uruguay becomes the first Latin American country to allow gay couples the chance to adopt.

Some 17 of 23 senators voted in favour of the new legislation, AFP reports.

The change - opposed by the Catholic Church - is the latest in a series of liberalising measures supported by left-wing President Tabare Vazquez.

The archbishop of Montevideo, Nicolas Cotugno, said before the vote that it would be a "serious error to accept the adoption of children by homosexual couples".

"It's not about religion, philosophy or sociology. It's something which is mainly about the respect of human nature itself," he said in a statement quoted by AFP.

Under the new law, the power to make decisions on adoptions shifts from judges to the national Institute of Children and Adolescents.

The country, says the BBC's correspondent in the region, Gary Duffy, has a history of adopting a more liberal stance on social questions.

In 1907, for example, it became the first country in the region to approve divorce and women were given the right to vote in 1932.

Last year, gay civil unions were legalised and earlier this year earlier this year the way was cleared for gay candidates to enter military schools.