Acquisition of allows News Corp to ‘better service’ its wagering clients, says Damian Eales

News Corp’s acquisition of, and accompanying site BestOdds, is key to the publishing company’s strategic imperative to improve the print and digital experience in the wagering space in response to changing consumer behaviour and advertising client demand, Damian Eales said.


The company, which publishes national broadsheet The Australian and The Daily Telegraph, revealed it had acquired digital racing publisher and sports odds comparison site for an undisclosed sum.

Speaking with Mumbrella, Damian Eales, News Corp managing director of metro and regional publishing, said the acquisition was important for News Corp in order for it to offer its audience a print and digital solution that helps them with their betting decisions.

“Many of our readers continue to use the printed form guide – we print it in all of our papers in some shape or form every night of the week, basically. We know it’s an important reason why some customers buy a newspaper,” he said.

Damian Eales:

Damian Eales: “Increasingly, wagering activity is moving to digital”

“Form guides have an incredibly important role to play in our content ecosystem today and its incredibly important to our advertising clients as well as the racing industry and will continue to be important for a very long time to come.

“That being said, increasingly punters don’t just use print. They also need a digital solution, both desktop and mobile, but increasingly wagering activity is moving to digital, and increasingly moving to mobile platforms.

“It is incredibly important for us as a major supporter of the racing industry that we offer our audience both a print and a digital solution, and in particular a mobile solution that enables them to inform their next bet, with an experience that is best in-class. That is our strategic imperative.”

Eales said News Corp’s wagering clients have been telling the company “that a print and a best-in-class digital experience is essential”.

“They want to talk to the punter at each point in the journey of making a bet, and print and digital is important. Secondly, they are interested in accessing that up-and-coming generation of punting audience – the mid to late 20s, early 30s – and, certainly Punters offers up a slightly younger demographic to what we have today in terms of the print audience.

“Punters allows us to better service all of our wagering clients that we operate with today, there are 13 affiliate agreements that form part of the Punters experience with different bookmakers. It offers a best-in-class digital forum, tips and tools to help predict a winner, an interactive social community and, importantly, the ability to bet directly with your favourite bookie.”

The Punters app's predictor function

The Punters app’s predictor function

News Corp made its intentions in the wagering sector clear in July with the appointment of Simon Anderson as group director of wagering.

Eales said: “A key component of Simon’s job is to build out the value proposition that we offer both the punting audience and our wagering advertisers to better meet their needs more holistically.

“The acquisition of Punters is a very important step to do that for both the punter and the wagering operator. It’s a core component of Simon’s portfolio and as such Luc Pettett as the CEO will report through to Simon.”

CEO and founder Luc Pettett and COO Heath Kilgour will remain in their positions, with the editorial team also staying on.

Punters offers its audience both the latest news and via both its desktop and mobile app functionality that allows the audience to connect with like-minded punters, share tips, access statistics about horses and easily place a bet.


Eales said it was both the editorial content and the extra functionality that made Punters an attractive acquisition.

“The news content is incredibly important and the Punters team do a terrific job to produce content that drives a significant audience to the site,” he said.

“The number of page views that we typically get with the Punters audience is significantly more than you would get just on a news site and the reason for that is the extra functionality, because there’s a reason to look at the next race and the race after it because there’s such rich information that’s helping to inform the punter in choosing their next bet.”

News Corp already produces content in the horse racing sphere, with the dedicated Super Racing section on and Eales said there would be opportunities for the two platforms to “direct traffic from one platform to another”.

“We haven’t fully determined how we’ll do that. We see both Punters and Super Racing will remain very strong, independent brands moving forward but absolutely we also see opportunities for both businesses to complement each other,” he said.


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