News Corp’s Second Come Together Event

News Corp’s three major commercial initiatives: News Connect, MBX, News Corp Studios

By James Manning and Sky News’ Ingrid Willinge

>> Julian Clarke

The outgoing News Corp Australia chief executive told Mediaweek at Come Together that the combination of their print and digital audiences is the future for the company which currently reaches 7m people daily and around 16m over a month. “With the fragmentation of the market, what marketers want now is the ability to pinpoint certain things and deliver them to audiences efficiently. The days of throwing money at something from a marketing point of view are gone. They are looking at a return on their investment and the way to do that is to pull that all together by what we are offering with data, with programmatic and with the creative announcement.

This has been a major renovation of the company that is two years in the making. We have enough people in the business now who understand the new dynamics of the market. You can now only retain big advertisers if you are helping them build their business. You need to understand what they are trying to achieve and be clear about that.”

Digital started to be offered to advertisers as an add-on for their print advertising. However, some briefs these days are looking for digital only with maybe print added as a bonus. Asked how confident he was about being rewarded financially for big digital audiences, Clarke said:

“It depends on the advertising category you talk about. When you talk about the big retailers, the only thing they are interested in is when the doors open at 9.05 in the morning when they want store traffic. It is still ‘old media’ that actually does that and nothing better than print.

“But for other categories like finance or perhaps travel, they will have different objectives, so to be able to mix and match the media like we do is what is needed.”

As to the heavy “renovation” work at News Corp in the two years since Julian Clarke returned, he noted “the new team is more than capable and they have a clear vision about the future. One thing about News when the Murdochs are there, the resources are always available.

Clarke said he was more than happy to see Lachlan Murdoch back at News Corp and he revealed that “Lachlan was very involved in getting me back into the business. He and I have worked together for maybe 20 years at least.” Clarke confirmed when he departs this time at the end of 2015 that will be it for good. “I am very firm about that. I have a firm idea of when one should retire and it’s pretty clear I should do that.”

News Corp Australia still plans on getting revenue from print, and the digital replacement: “We don’t believe print is dead at all. From inside our organisation we see a lot of people still prepared to spend money on a newspaper every day. We also have 300,000 digital subscriptions now at $6 a week.”

[blockquote style=”3″]Julian Clarke on media regulation
“Our view is consistent. We agree that the media laws are out-dated. What we won’t agree to and won’t support is that the [media reforms] be cherry picked. We are more than happy to see things dealt with in total, but what [the government] has to do is deliver the outcome through both houses [of parliament].”[/blockquote]

>> Damian Eales

Some of the buzzwords from Eales’ presentation were explored with him after the event.

•  Becoming easier to work with

“We are so big and we have so many divisions. We have an enormous number of products and services we sell and our challenge has been how can we put the customer first and ensure we are giving something to our advertisers and agencies that best connects them to their audience regardless of what product or service they are accessing within News Corp Australia.”

•  Scrapping dual representation

“Most clients would prefer to deal with one representative from our company than multiple reps. That way we know their business through and through. All of our dealings start with the customer and we want to ensure we know that customer and single representation helps that.”

•  Exploring new audiences

“For us that is customers taking advantage of MBX – the whole concept of a premium programmatic exchange partnering with our friends at MCN gives us the opportunity to give our customers access to a digital buy in a premium trusted environment well beyond what they would normally get from us.”

•  New technologies

“Many of our customers are looking for what is the next innovation which enables them to form a deeper connection with their customers. We see that happening across the board in many different shapes and forms. One of the bigger innovations we saw tonight was our partnership with Quantium, and News Connect powered by Quantium allows our customers to get a one-to-one relationship with their customers
at scale. That’s a very powerful proposition.”

When asked about his biggest challenge in the next 12 months, News Corp’s new managing director of metro and regional publishing, in addition to leading marketing and network advertising sales, said: “It’s to grow revenue. It sounds simple, but we have to grow the top line.”

A lot of that is about exploring new revenue streams. “News Corp Studios is a great example of new revenue streams being developed, not only for us but for our advertisers as well. It looks for other means with which to connect and engage with audiences beyond the traditional advertising relationship.”

>> How News Corp described itsnew offerings to market:

•  News Connect powered by Quantium

News Connect is a new advertising product that combines existing News Corp data, covering seven million readers, with Quantium’s huge bank of data on the shopping, travel and purchasing habits of eight million Australians.

News Corp Australia director of national sales Sharb Farjami said: “This combination of data gives us the ability to create bespoke audiences by connecting what people read and watch with what they buy.

“For advertisers it means no more assumptions. It means creating audiences based on facts, enabling them to connect to audiences that matter across our entire network of engaging, premium properties.

“In terms of delivering qualified audiences, there is nothing better in the market than News Connect powered by Quantium, and we can offer environments that nobody can match for engagement.

“This is a game-changing product for all our commercial partners.”

Quantium CEO Adam Driussi said: “We are thrilled to be working with News Corp Australia to launch News Connect.

“We see spend in every major retail category in every suburb of the country, every day.  It adds up to some four billion transactions, or a new transaction every 40 milliseconds. We can also look back at an anonymous customer’s spending up to five years ago to understand how their purchase habits have evolved, and look forward to predict what their future behaviours may be like.”

•  MBX

MBX (Multi-Brand Exchange) is a private advertising exchange that brings together the power of News Corp Australia and MCN’s digital assets. With a collective reach of over 10 million Australians, MBX offers a programmatic solution that delivers reach, accuracy, quality, certainty and brand safety.

Farjami said: “MBX offers access to more premium environments than any other programmatic offering. That means access to Australia’s favourite online destinations, including news.com.au, all our metro and regional mastheads, all our lifestyle destinations including Vogue, GQ, Taste and Body+Soul, MCN’s digital portfolio and much more.

“With the depth and quality of data available through this partnership between News and MCN, our advertisers can programmatically pinpoint audiences like never before.”

•  News Corp Studios

News Corp Studios is a new content marketing offering that will help advertisers source, create, distribute and amplify content.

Farjami said: “Creating content to inform and inspire mass audiences is what we do better than anyone else in Australia. News Corp Studios will leverage our 80 years of experience for the benefit of our commercial partners.

“We can not only source and curate professionally created content from our massive archive, but thanks to our award-winning Storyful platform we can surface, verify and license the best user-generated content from around the world.

“But News Corp Studios is not just about sourcing existing premium content, it’s also about creating content. We can offer access to the largest and best commercial editorial team in Australia. This team can author bespoke native content, and create videos, podcasts, photo galleries, infographics and just about any content our clients want.

“We can also facilitate access to Australia’s best talent, help form partnerships with this country’s biggest events, custom publish, and thanks to the biggest and best media network in the country, we can distribute and amplify branded content on an unrivalled scale.”

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