Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Study Shows How buyers Use Business Media

Source: BtoBonline.com

New York—Nearly six in 10 executives surveyed say an advertisement in a b-to-b magazine prompted them to purchase or recommend the purchase of a product or service, according to new research released Wednesday by American Business Media.

ABM commissioned Harris Interactive to research how media “end-users” (readers, event attendees and online participants) use business media in their decision-making. Harris conducted phone surveys from February to April. The study garnered 588 responses from executives in the 21 advertising categories tracked by the Business Information Network, including banking, financial and insurance, computing, software and telecommunications, business advertising and marketing, and health care.

According to the study, b-to-b trade shows play a prominent role in driving executives to seek additional information either on a company’s Web site (77%), by talking to a sales rep (73%) or calling a toll-free number (40%).

Perhaps more important, 70% of respondents said they purchased or recommended the purchase of a product or service directly as a result of advertising/promotion at a trade show. Fifty-two percent of respondents said b-to-b media should be an important part of an integrated sales initiative, while 36% said it should be somewhat important.

ABM President-CEO Gordon Hughes II said in a news release that the study “speaks to the fact that print, digital platforms and face-to-face events complement each other when it comes to brand image and lead generation.”

The findings were released at a news conference at Bloomberg headquarters in New York.

Oversight Systems’ Financial Executive Survey Shows Enterprise Risk Plagues Corporate America, Despite Confidence in Risk Preparation

(Author's note: Arketi Group worked with Oversight Systems on this research)

Oversight Systems’ Financial Executive Survey Shows Enterprise Risk Plagues Corporate America, Despite Confidence in Risk PreparationStudy also finds financial executives support regulations for executive compensation, hedge funds

ATLANTA (June 26, 2006) – Companies are embracing the concept of enterprise risk management but continue to struggle with implementation according to the findings in the 2006 Oversight Systems Report on Risk Management. The national survey of financial executives released today also found room for improvement in the way companies assess, manage and prevent risk.

The report (available free at www.oversightsystems.com/survey) indicates that nearly half of companies surveyed (43 percent) report having faced "significant operational surprises" during the last year.

Executives recognize the value of enterprise risk management with 58 percent of financial executives reporting that their company has an enterprise risk management approach and philosophy that considers various interactions among different types of risk. Identical to the 2005 findings, this year 68 percent of financial executives say their CEO is placing greater emphasis on holistic management of all types of risk. However, it appears many critical elements of enterprise risk management are still not in place in corporate America.

"Clearly, executives see a need for better risk management because companies are getting burned on a regular basis," said Dana Hermanson, Dinos Eminent Scholar Chair of Private Enterprise at Kennesaw State University. Hermanson is also an advisor to Oversight Systems. "We still see a gap between top management believing that their company employs enterprise risk management and the reality that they are not pushing ERM down through the organization with awareness and training."

Only 33 percent of financial executives say their company has formally trained executives and business line managers to assess the probability of various types of risk, down from 35 percent last year. In addition, 41 percent of financial executives say their company has a widely communicated definition of risk, down from 45 percent in 2005.

"Financial executives and businesses are beginning to embrace the concepts of enterprise risk management, but implementation and effectiveness are still in their infancy," said Mark S. Beasley, professor of accounting and director of the Enterprise Risk Management Initiative at North Carolina State University. Beasley is also an advisor to Oversight Systems. "While a majority say they take a top-down approach to risk management, many are not very sophisticated in their risk management abilities."

Perhaps a cause for this drop in they way organizations view risk management is an apparent decreased pressure from key stakeholders to manage risk. In 2005, 58 percent of respondents reported they faced such pressures, while in 2006 only 52 percent felt this way.

Enterprise Risk by Business FunctionA bright spot in the research study is that financial executives polled reported across the board increases in enterprise risk preparedness during 2006 over 2005. In fact,
  • 85 percent feel prepared for financial-reporting risk, up from 78 percent in 2005
  • 84 percent feel prepared for credit/market risk, up from 68 percent in 2005
  • 80 percent feel prepared for compliance risk, up from 59 percent in 2005
  • 77 percent feel prepared for strategic risk, up from 54 percent in 2005
  • 58 percent feel prepared for human capital/labor risk, up from 56 percent in 2005
"After completing their exhaustive work to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley, individuals should feel confident in their controls that address enterprise risk," Oversight Systems CEO Patrick Taylor said. "However, risk management must be implemented across organizations, and forward-thinking executives are examining the role of technology to facilitate enterprise risk management in their day-to-day operations."

Although more than a quarter of executives (29 percent) say technology has no role in their company’s overall risk management, the majority see technology as helpful to their risk management objectives. Nearly a third (31 percent) say technology is used in their organizations to identify existing risk; 24 percent say technology is used to identify existing risk and project future risk; and 16 percent say they use technology to identify existing risk, project future risk and reduce risk.

Ownership of Enterprise RiskOwnership of risk is still clearly a C-Suite job according to those surveyed. Eighty-six percent identified a senior executive with explicit responsibility for overseeing the management of all risk across the enterprise. The CFO was named by 44 percent, the CEO by 20 percent and 8 percent said the Chief Risk Officer.

"With Sarbanes-Oxley, we’ve seen a big shift away from the finance-oriented CFO and back toward the accountant CFO, but this survey shows that your CFO can’t just be a bean counter. Your CFO must also understand risk management," Hermanson said.

Risk Management & Sarbanes-OxleyThe idea of risk management is also working its way into Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. Almost a third (30 percent) of financial executives surveyed said their internal controls audits – as required by Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) – employed more of a risk-based approach to evaluating control effectiveness. However, 33 percent said their company saw no significant change during its second year of compliance with the regulation. Eighteen percent said they had a greater reliance on technology to monitor the effectiveness of internal controls.

View on Executive Compensation Control When asked about the role of regulating executive compensation, a clear majority of financial executives (82 percent) were in support of some kind of Securities and Exchange Commission guidance. According to financial executives surveyed:

  • 64 percent say companies should explicitly report post-employment agreement on compensation (i.e., golden parachutes)
  • 58 percent say companies should explicitly report the dollar value of all non-cash and non-stock compensation and benefits greater than $10,000 (i.e., private use of corporate jet, use of residential real estate, etc.)
  • 56 percent say companies should explicitly report the dollar value of stock grants and potential future stock grants
  • 13 percent say no executive should receive total compensation greater the a set multiple of the company’s median compensation
Hedging Personal Investment RiskTurning from corporate risk to personal investment risk, the survey also asked financial executives about their feelings on hedge funds. Extremely popular today, hedge funds now number more than 8,000. The growth of these largely unregulated investment vehicles has been considerable, more than quadrupling their assets since 1999, today hedge funds manage close to $1 trillion.

Nearly all respondents (92 percent) feel leery about hedge funds, reporting they do not have any of their personal funds invested in hedge funds. Accordingly, 94 percent of respondents feel hedge funds should be required to have a higher-level of transparency. Respondents report that hedge funds should annually be required to report:
  • Portfolio breakdown – by asset type, market cap and industry allocations (65 percent)
  • Number of positions – the percentage of the portfolio in each of the top 10 positions and identification of these holdings (53 percent)
  • Leverage – both at the time of the audit and the maximum amount used at any point during the year (52 percent)
About the 2006 Oversight Systems Financial Executive Report on RiskA total of 230 financial executives participated in this study, which was conducted at a number of executive-level conferences during March and April of 2006. Titles of those surveyed included chief financial officer, chief audit executive, controller, internal audit director and treasurer.

This study follows the January release of the 2006 Oversight Systems Financial Executive Report on Sarbanes-Oxley, which identified growing benefits of SOX compliance and specific compliance goals for 2006. Also recently released was the 2005 Oversight Systems Report on Corporate Fraud, a survey of certified fraud examiners which found most fraud examiners view SOX as an effective tool in fraud identification, though few think it will change the culture of business leaders. All these research studies can be downloaded for free by visiting www.oversightsystems.com/survey.

About Oversight SystemsOversight takes continuous controls monitoring to the next level by combining controls testing with a real-time transaction inspection to identify the problems in a business process. Oversight’s platform automates the entire life cycle of finding problems in business processes, fixing those problems and proving the problems were resolved. By inspecting each step of individual transactions across systems, Oversight identifies all errors and control violations, drives defect-free processes and sustains Sarbanes-Oxley compliance at reduced costs. For more information, visit www.oversightsystems.com.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Camera-ready charts and graphs of the findings from the 2006 Oversight Systems Report on Risk Management are available by contacting Brian Moran by phone at 404-920-2039 or by email at brian.moran@oversightsystems.com.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Mobile TV Subscribers Grow to More Than Two Million in the U.S.

Source: http://www.mediapost.com/research/index.cfm

Mobile TV Creating New Demographic Appeal

Telephia, a measurement information provider to the mobile industry, announced research that shows that more than two million, or 1.4 percent, of the U.S. wireless user base subscribed to a mobile video plan during the first quarter of 2006. The average U.S. mobile TV subscriber spends $40 a month more on wireless services than non-TV subscribers.

Sid Gorham, President and CEO, Telephia, notes that "Mobile TV represents a huge revenue opportunity for companies in all parts of the communications and entertainment value chain."
Telephia research shows that the Hispanic and Black/African-American demographic groups made up 23 and 19 percent of the mobile TV subscriber base in the U.S. during Q1 2006, respectively. This is approximately double the share these groups represent of the broader mobile user population.

"The early popularity of mobile TV with these groups continues the demographic trend we see in the adoption of all advanced mobile data services" said Gorham. "Mobile TV will allow marketers to reach this audience with a wide range of innovative advertising and commerce approaches."

Demographics of Mobile TV Subscribers, Wireless and Non-Subscribers (U.S.)

47% Mobile TV Subscribers
72% Wireless Subscribers
76% Non-Subscribers

23% Mobile TV Subscribers
10% Wireless Subscribers
8% Non-Subscribers

19%Mobile TV Subscribers
11% Wireless Subscribers
8% Non-Subscribers

Asian or Pacific Islander
7%Mobile TV Subscribers
2% Wireless Subscribers
2% Non-Subscribers

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Do Mobile Phones Challenge the Pollster's Art?

An interesting study...

From: Emarketer.com

Do Mobile Phones Challenge the Pollster's Art?

It was a famous moment in political history, and an infamous moment in polling history.

On the night of November 2nd, 1948, Harry Truman went to bed convinced he would lose the election for President of the United States to Thomas Dewey. Virtually every opinion poll in the country had predicted Dewey would win in a landslide and newspaper headlines from coast to coast proclaimed a Republican victory.

But they were wrong. "Give-'em-hell" Harry had won.

For the both journalists and pollsters, it was a shock and an embarrassment. As the Alsop brothers wrote in their newspaper column shortly afterwards:

"There is only one question on which professional politicians, poll takers, political reporters and other wiseacres and prognosticators can any longer speak with much authority. That is how they want their crow cooked. These particular reporters prefer their crow fricasseed."

In the ensuing half century, polling has gone through many changes and modifications to become a far better predictor of events. But much of that learning and expertise may now be in danger of becoming outmoded all because of mobile phones.

A new survey from the Pew Research Center, shows that not only are many Americans now relying solely on their mobile phones for telephone service, many more are considering giving up their landline phones. As the report says, "This trend presents a challenge to public opinion polling, which typically relies on a random sample of the population of landline subscribers."

Uh, oh!

According to the US Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Department of Labor (DoL), the percentage of households paying a mobile phone bill but not a landline bill rose from 0.4% in 2000 to 7.8% in the first quarter of 2005, and later in 2005 the National Health Interview (NCHS) survey also estimated that 7.8% of adults lived in households with only a mobile phone.

Pew estimates that Americans who rely solely on their mobile phones now make up between 7% and 9% of the population and they are significantly different from landline users in many ways. They are younger, less affluent, less likely to be married or to own their home and they are more liberal on many political questions.

To access whether these differences affect polling outcomes, Pew, in conjunction with the Associated Press and AOL compared cell phone only and landline random digit dial surveys. The project entailed a survey of over 1,500 US adults, half interviewed in a conventional landline sample and half interviewed on their cell phones. The interviews were conducted in March of 2006.

Somewhat surprisingly, despite these differences in the two populations, the study found that the absence of mobile-only users from traditional telephone surveys had only a minimal impact on the results.

The Pew researchers concluded that "including cell-only respondents with those interviewed from a standard landline sample, and weighting the resulting combined sample to the full US public demographically, changes the overall results of the poll by no more than one percentage point on any of nine key political questions included in the study."

For more detailed findings from the Pew Research Center study, click here.