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Latest news from The Drum

Japan’s Hakuhodo acquires Sid Lee
Posted on Monday July 06, 2015

Kyu, the strategic operating unit of Japanese holding company Hakuhodo, has acquired Montréal-based agency Sid Lee.

Sid Lee joins Digital Kitchen, SY/Partners and Red Peak Group at Kyu, an international portfolio of marketing services companies that was created last year.

The move comes as Kyu continues to expand its international footprint. Sid Lee has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Amsterdam and Paris.

Michael Birkin, CEO of Kyu, said: “With Kyu, our goal is not to be the biggest. We aspire to be unlike anything that’s come before and are striving to be the best – to be a source of creativity that propels the economy and society forward. Sid Lee is a linchpin of our strategy and having its roots in the highly creative Montréal community is a massive bonus.”

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Sid Lee’s leadership team will remain in place and its headquarters will stay in Montréal.

Sid Lee works with brands including Absolut and Facebook.

Twitter now lets users display their birthday
Posted on Monday July 06, 2015

Twitter users will now have the option to display their birthday on their profile.

The feature is optional and users have control over who can see it. The birth year setting is separate from the birth month and day setting, so users can choose how much or how little they want to share.

When it is someone’s birthday, Twitter will splash animated balloons across that person’s profile page.

Comedian and actor Kevin Hart is helping the social media site kick off the new feature.

The move comes as Twitter continues to position itself as a platform where people can celebrate both personal and public events. Recently, the hashtag ‘#LoveWins’ became wildly popular on the site after the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a right.

Digital media acquisitions increased a quarter in first half of 2015
Posted on Monday July 06, 2015

Mergers and acquisitions in the digital media, information and technology space have increased 24 per cent in the first half of 2015 compared the same period last year, according to investment bank Coady Diemar Partners.

The total number of these deals increased to 1,243 in the first half of 2015, up from 1,000 during the same period in 2014.

However, merger and acquisition (M&A) value in this space decreased 23 per cent to $99bn in the first half of this year compared to the year prior. According to the research, this is primarily due to a decrease in the number of deals equal to or greater than $1bn.

The three sectors with the greatest number of transactions were agency and marketing, digital content, and information.

The dollar value of M&A in the ad tech and services sector increased by three quarters (74 per cent) to $6.1bn in the first half of 2015, the largest percentage increase of any sector. The dollar value of M&A in the mobile sector decreased by 74 per cent due to the nearly $20bn acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook last year.  

The largest M&A deal announced this year in this space was the acquisition of software company Informatica for $5.3bn by private equity firms Permira and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

The fourth-largest transaction was Verizon’s acquisition of AOL for nearly $4.4bn.

Global ad agency holding companies WPP, Dentsu, and Publicis Groupe were the three most active digital acquirers in the first half of 2015 with Google tied for third.

Team England unveils Rugby World Cup 2015 shirt in social media launch
Posted on Monday July 06, 2015

Canterbury and team England have released the first images of the shirt the side will wear during the Rugby World Cup which they will be playing on home turf.

During an event at Twickenham on Monday morning, the groups simultaneously published the first stills of the strip on their Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr feeds at 8.00am.

The strip, unveiled by England captain Chris Robshaw was field tested fior over 220 hours, with its durability trialed over 250,000 miles to ensure the side has the best kit behind it.

Stuart Lancaster, England head coach said: “Every player in the squad takes enormous pride in pulling on the England shirt.  As a group, we talk about the unbreakable bond of the rose between former, current and future players and for this symbol to be emphasised in 3D form is a key feature. 

“We are grateful for the support of the fans and in the year of a home World Cup the power of the nation behind us can be the difference.  It is great that it was the supporters who launched the shirt and that they have been central to the day.”

The new England Rugby World Cup shirt will be available in store from 17 July.

With the World Cup set to kick off 18 September, the body has signed up Dove Men+Care, Coca-Cola and Trinity Mirror as commercial partners.

BBC TV licence fee dropped for over 75s to reduce ‘pressure on tax payers’
Posted on Monday July 06, 2015

The BBC and the government have reached an agreement to drop licence fee charges for over-75s.

On the news that the corporation is set to foot a £650m drop in licence fee income in 2017/18 as part of a government initiative to lessen the burden of austerity on the elderly, chancellor George Osborne has said that the publically funded body “should make savings”.

Osborne said in a statement: “The BBC is a valued national institution that produces some of the finest television and radio in the world… the deal we have agreed with the corporation means that it will take on the significant cost of TV licences for the over-75s, easing some of the pressure on taxpayers who have to meet the country’s welfare bill, while also ensuring that our promise to maintain pensioner benefits is met in full over the next five years.

“The decisions the BBC and the government have reached together will also secure its long-term future, with a funding model that is sustainable and can adapt in an age where technology is rapidly changing."

Tony Hall, director-general of the BBC, added: “We have secured the right deal for the BBC in difficult economic circumstances for the country. This agreement secures the long term funding for a strong BBC over the next Charter period.”

On future funding Hall welcomed the “end of the iPlayer loophole and the end of the broadband ring-fence”.

Subject to findings from the Charter Review, the BBC will be able to adjust the fee to take into account on-demand viewing on the BBC iPlayer.

Chuck E. Cheese names Zimmerman as new agency
Posted on Monday July 06, 2015

Zimmerman Advertising has been selected as Chuck E. Cheese’s lead agency.

The Omnicom agency will handle the brand’s strategy, promotion, media, and integrated creative elements. Previously, the Dallas-based Richards Group handled creative for the brand.  

The move comes as the company makes an effort to appeal to adults instead of just kids. Recently, it launched an updated menu that includes whole-wheat wraps and artisan pizza.  

Michael Hartman, chief marketing officer at Chuck E. Cheese, said: “Chuck E. Cheese’s has undergone a tremendous amount of change in the last year and we need an agency able to keep up with our breakneck pace and hunger for consumer insight. After a lengthy creative review, we found Zimmerman shares our vision for success and obsession with metrics.”

Michael Goldberg, CEO of Zimmerman, said: “Chuck E. Cheese’s is a great concept with brand recognition off the charts. We are excited to work with a leadership team so focused on consumer experience. This is more than a legacy brand, it’s a great restaurant. As long as families with young kids are eating out, our opportunity is more frequent consideration.”

Zimmerman Advertising is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its other clients include Party City, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Boston Market.

Future makes significant acquisition with purchase of Net Communities
Posted on Monday July 06, 2015

Publisher Future has today (6 July) announced the acquisition of award winning digital advertising solutions company Net Communities.

The aim of the deal is to use Net Communitues' skillset to extend its digital reach within the UK’s technology and games markets.

The acquisition bolsters Future’s technology portfolio which includes brands such as Techradar, T3 and Gizmodo UK and will see an additional 10 million monthly users added to its already 8 million strong base.

Future’s business Technology proposition will also be strengthened by the acquisition because of Net Communities’ sites ITProportal, ITReviews and ITWhitePapers, which combined with Future’s B2B sites TechradarPro and Lifehacker UK deliver an audience of over 2 million IT professionals.

Zillah Byng-Maddick, chief executive of Future, said: “This acquisition of Net Communities is a strategic opportunity for us to leverage the synergies and specialism between the two businesses. 

"Future has a strong track record in the tech sector connecting audiences with technology and lifestyle brands.  Our combined audience reach will now ensure we are able to unlock the best commercial deals in the UK market place.”

Andy Evans, Net Communities chief exectuive and founder, added: “There has been a long standing mutual admiration between Net Communities and Future, so this opportunity  was an obvious fit for both business. 

"As a result, this acquisition came together very naturally enabling Future to deliver exceptional market reach across some of the most admired web properties consumer and B2B technology.  The Net Communities team and I are very excited about the opportunities that can be created as we move forward in unison”

Les Mills taps gyro Manchester to grow fitness brand
Posted on Monday July 06, 2015

Fitness brand Les Mills has selected gyro Manchester to shape and grow its offering to corporate markets worldwide.

The appointment sees gyro Manchester partner with Les Mills to develop a business-to-business value proposition and multi-tiered global campaign that will be executed across multiple channels in numerous markets worldwide.

Founded in the 1980s Les Mills provides choreographed exercise-to-music group fitness classes to health clubs worldwide and is renowned for its Body Pump and Body Combat workout programmes.

“Our mission is simple; we want to create a fitter planet and to do this we need more clubs and facilities delivering Les Mills programmes. We know we can’t achieve this alone and that’s why we have engaged gyro to help us create a truly global and world-class business-to-business strategy which will propel us and our club partners to realising 20 million live workouts every week by the year 2020. Growing our brand presence and penetration in new and existing markets is critical to building a fitter business,” said Phillip Mills, chief executive officer at Les Mills.

Danny Turnbull, managing director of gyro Manchester, added: “Les Mills is a cult brand with a dedicated following amongst fitness instructors and fitness fanatics. We are honoured to be tasked with helping expand its offerings into new markets and audiences, as Les Mills looks to sustain its incredible growth trajectory.”

Over the last three decades Les Mills has grown to more than 15,000 gyms and health clubs in 75 countries, with an estimated 90,000 instructors worldwide and an estimated six million participants attending a Les Mills class each week.

Amazon extends its cloud service to mobile
Posted on Monday July 06, 2015

Amazon has expanded its online cloud sharing service to mobile platforms with the release of a dedicated app on iTunes, Android and the Amazon store.

Similar to its rivals, The Cloud Drive app will tailor aspects of its already established service to suit mobile such as automatically uploading photos from smartphones into Cloud Drive. It has been made available on iOS, Android and comes built into Amazon’s Fire Phone.

While Amazon’s entry into the mobile cloud service has long been preceded by Dropbox and Google Drive, it is the cheaper of the options offering unlimited photo storage and 5GB of video space for $11.99 per year and $60 for unlimited storage for both photo and video.

The app uses a similar folder set up already established on the desktop versions which includes folders like pictures, videos and docs. File sharing is available through the app via links which can be made public and shared on social media as well as the option to attachment files through emails. Users will also be able to stream music and videos stored on the app although this is service is basic in comparison to other music streaming services.

The interface and functionality of the app basic in comparison to what Google, Apple and Microsoft offer however Amazon’s expansion of Cloud Drive into mobile is a significant first step which is likely to develop. 

Oreo debuts ‘sophisticated’ thin version of its cookie
Posted on Monday July 06, 2015

Mondelez-owned Oreo has launched a smaller, lower calorie version of its famous creme-filled cookies.

Called ‘Oreo Thins,’ the company’s latest offering is being branded as a ‘more-grown up option’ with the same taste as a classic Oreo. Four Oreo Thins are only 140 calories, while three regular Oreos are 160 calories.

Patty Gonzalez, senior brand manager at Oreo, said: "At Oreo, we know that some of our fans have grown up and that their tastes have grown up too. With this in mind, we're excited to introduce Oreo Thins as a new take on the classic cookie. The crisp and delicate texture of Oreo Thins was specially designed for fans who love the taste of Oreo but are looking for a more sophisticated cookie."

To promote its latest snack, the company is offering a ‘Thinvitation’ on its social channels where users can obtain a one-time-only code for a chance to get a free taste of the new cookies.

The Martin Agency has also created a TV spot to promote the product, which will air on 20 July.

The cookies will be available nationwide starting Monday 13 July in original, golden, and mint flavors.