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Tipping the next big thing… Indians hate telemarketing too… Direct marketing threat… Super’s ‘too-hard’ rules…

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Take a punt on the next big thing

The Media Predict website has come up with a clever way to use the wisdom of the masses to get a fix on the next big thing in media, publishing and entertainment, Springwise reports.

Media Predict runs an online prediction market game where players buy and sell on new entertainment ventures based how well they think they’ll do in the real marketplace.

When you register on the website you get 5000 virtual dollars to invest in anything from book proposals and up-and-coming musical acts, to script treatments and TV pilots.

If you think it will be a hit you invest your virtual dollars – the virtual value of the media product goes up. The theory is that the higher the virtual value, the more likely it is the product will be a hit in the real world.

But it’s not just a game. Media Predict players drive the market value: those who have a keen eye for the next big blockbuster get rewarded for it. When a deal goes through – for example if a book proposal gets signed to a publisher – shares pay off at $US100 each. On the flipside, of course, when a venture doesn’t succeed, the share value bottoms out.

And, it seems, media companies are starting to take Media Predict seriously. Springwise says Touchstone Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, has agreed to publish the top-rated Media Predict book proposal by October 9, hoping the wisdom of the crowds will provide a better barometer of success than a publisher’s gut instinct.

Indians hate telemarketing too!

Next time you get an unsolicited call from an Indian call centre, you can perhaps take comfort from the fact that Indians hate telemarketing too.

India, the home of call centres, is following Australia’s lead and cracking down on people who make unsolicited calls. They call them telebotherers.

Australia has the Do Not Call register, which has been incredibly popular with consumers who want to avoid calls from strangers at mealtime. Now the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is establishing a registry for those who do not wish to be disturbed.

Direct marketing growth under threat

Direct marketing grew twice as fast as mass media last year, with revenues up 7.8% to $12.86 billion.

Statistics from the Commercial Economic Advisory Service of Australia, released this week, show total direct response digital marketing, including online advertising was the fastest-growing sector with spending up 17.2% to $3.2 billion.

But the biggest segment, the $3.42 billion telemarketing industry, is under threat after the introduction of the Do Not Call register. With a million people already on the list, telemarketers face the increased costs associated with “washing” lists of people on the register, and reduced number so of people available to call. The increased costs are likely to be passed on to advertisers, so they could well be looking for alternate marketing strategies.

Super rules too hard to comply with?

Red tape is holding back many small businesses from allowing employees to make extra contributions to super, according to a new study. About 50% of wage earners and 20% of salaried workers are blocked by their employers from salary sacrificing according to a survey by Mercer Human Resources Consulting.

Small-business owners said they were unsure of where to go for assistance if their employees asked to contribute pre-tax wages into their superannuation funds, reports the Australian Financial Review. Labor says they would look at introducing a standard form.

What do you think? Do you allow your staff to salary-sacrifice to super? Why? Why not? Could the system be improved?

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