With recent controversies around advertising on global giants like Facebook and Google, News Corp has been hammering the importance of brand safety. Mediaweek’s James Manning and Sky Business News’ James Daggar-Nickson speak with News Corp Australia’s Executive General Manager Network Sales, Louise Barrett about the reasons behind this.
How real are the concerns facing advertisers?
“They are very real. What the whole brand safety issue has done is make advertisers stop, look, and question if they know where their ads are being placed. They tell themselves they need to know the environment they are being placed in. It has made everyone pause, stop and think about what they are doing.”
Is what we are talking about a challenge facing some digital publishers?
“Absolutely. Google and Facebook are aggregators – they don’t produce content. We professionally produce content and that is the big point of difference between News Corp and Google and Facebook.”
Are many advertisers and brands willing to pay a premium for that safety?
“I’d like to think so. It is making people think about where their ads appear and in what context. I don’t think they will necessarily pay more for it. Advertisers now believe they should be in a safer environment and that’s what News Corp can offer – a safer environment. We are producing or curating our content and we have strict measure on how we manage it.”
Is there a downside for the sector overall if advertisers are nervous about the digital environment?
“We have to be very careful of that. We need to pause and take stock too. We don’t want to talk the digital business down – it is a great business. I don’t want to sit here and just pay out on Google and Facebook. That is not what we are about. It is about the content and understanding the environment in which your ad is placed.”
Does the recent concern about safety portray News Corp in a better light than some of its competitors?
“It does. Not just anyone is uploading content to our sites. We have professional journalists that are writing and curating our content. We control the content that goes on our sites and that is very critical.”
Are you seeing any money moving away from some online sites?
“I had one advertiser in particular, and I won’t tell you who it is, who took $1m straight out of YouTube and will give it to UnRuly [the News Corp-owned supplier of out-stream video ads to publishers around the world]. It is real and it is happening.”
Has there been much response from other Australian publishers to your brand safety trade campaign?
“A number of other publishers rang me and said we pipped them at the post. News Corp got in first and we have always prided ourself in being first. The industry is now banding together and wondering how they can tackle it and we will probably have a seat at that table.”