News Corp’s Food Corp reaching out to foodies

How the new News Corp division will help advertisers deliver their brand message

Fiona Nilsson & Matt Preston

News Corp’s newly formed food division Food Corp has a reach of 8.7 million people. It centralises all of the publisher’s food titles and food-related content under one roof.

NewsLifeMedia publisher of food titles Fiona Nilsson was named the director of food following the formation of News Digital Networks in late August 2016. The formation of the new division has been years in planning, Nilsson revealed.

“Our print and digital audiences across all our brands are about 75% unduplicated,” she told Mediaweek.

The brands that fall within the Food Corp network are segmented into three categories according to the type of content and the appeal it has in the market.

“The first is the mass or the home cook segment, which is the territory of Taste.com.au and SuperFood Ideas. For these guys it’s all about making cooking easy and enjoyable,” Nilsson explained.

“Then we have the premium lifestyle segment, which is really donna hay and delicious. For these guys, they need impressive yet effortless food experiences. That’s where you start to see all the events coming in.

“The third segment is what we call the community segment. That is really Best Recipes and Kidspot Kitchen. What they want is real food from real people – they are all about UGC [user-generated content]. We have hundreds of thousands of people creating content for us on Best Recipes. They are our content experts and influencers.”

Each group has a different focus and requires distinct brand solutions for advertisers, Nilsson said.

The biggest brand in the portfolio is the mass title taste.com.au, which boasts more than 40,000 recipes on its website. According to Nielsen Digital Monthly Ratings for March 2016, taste.com.au recorded a unique audience of 3.85 million. NewsLifeMedia markets the title as Australia’s #1 food and recipe website. Nilsson took this a step further by claiming, “On a per capita basis, it’s the biggest food website in the world.”

News Corp invests a lot of money in setting up events for titles that fall under the premium segment of Food Corp. These include ticketed monthly readers events, master classes and the delicious Produce Awards. Asked about the plans to engage in events using the mass titles, Nilsson said: “We’ve been focused more on festivals and our clients’ products, but we are definitely looking at how we approach events as a network.”

With more than six food titles in its stable and food content scattered across its newspaper offerings, Nilsson stated that Food Corp has the ability to track exactly what Australians are searching for when it comes to food. The comprehensive data collection system in place at News Corp allows Nilsson and food editors to track consumers’ behaviour right down to minutes. This, she said, is an attractive offering for advertisers who are looking to get their products in front of the readers.

“One of the important aspects of Food Corp is that we have the scale, but you can also target any given niche,” Nilsson said. “You can target Jack, the millennial hipster, but still in really large numbers.”

“Something that we have worked on across Food Corp is that we have all of our content in a system. All of our recipe content is smart content, so it’s all been tagged with every piece of information you could need, right down to the ingredient level. What that means is that we can enable innovative ad products such as the hero buy…which is like an overlay across the bottom of the hero recipe image that will align the client’s brand with matching ingredients in our recipes.”

With more than 45% of Australians now identifying themselves as foodies, Nilsson sees a lot of potential for growth for News Corp’s premium food titles.

“Food is at the centre of our lifestyles now,” Nilsson stated. “It impacts all areas of our lives – not just what you are cooking in the kitchen, but also our health, finances, travel and kitchen design. It’s a hugely important cultural thing.”

As a publisher, Nilsson’s #1 priority has remained the same for the past six years, which is to understand the consumer’s journey. What has changed is the way content is delivered.

“Content is so much more complex than it was before. It’s not just about shooting an image and writing a recipe any more. You now have to create all of the tags that make the recipe really useful. You also have to create video now well. We are starting to move into looking at audio now as well.”

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