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EMMA is the ‘oracle’ for advertising spend, says NewsMediaWorks’ Peter Miller

Peter Miller, NewsMediaWorks’ new CEO, has said readership metric EMMA (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia), is the “oracle” for what advertisers should be doing with their ad spend.

Speaking with Mumbrella following his appointment to the not for profit industry body, Miller added advertisers did not want to be making business decisions on a “half-arsed view” of where their dollars are going.

Miller: EMMA the most valuable metric available for advertisers

Introduced in 2013, the cross platform audience insights survey – run by research company Ipsos – provides data including audience demographics, media consumptions, lifestyles, psychographics, and product and service usage and attitudes.

“Readership is really what you want to know about,” Miller told Mumbrella.

“It’s total audience measurement for what it’s worth. No one is just buying campaigns in one medium, they are not just buying campaigns in online or in print.

“What they (advertisers) are doing is buying audiences, buying target markets. They know who their customers are. What they have to do is map that against customers, and look at how they are spending their time.

“Emma is delivering to advertisers total audience measurement across the titles that we study and analyse, and provide advertisers with all of the insights they need into reading habits,” he said, defining the metric.

‘Readership is really what you want to know about’: Miller

“It’s like the oracle for what they should be doing with their advertising dollars.”

The comments come three weeks after an additional four publications withdrew from the Audited Media Association of Australia’s circulation results.

Last year, the three major magazine publishers – Pacific Magazines, Bauer Media, and NewsLifeMedia – withdrew from the AMAA, in a move which was said to effectively kill the magazine audit.

However, NewsMediaWorks members – News Corp, Fairfax, and West Australian newspapers – still use both the AMAA’s circulation figures and the industry body’s EMMA.

But Miller argued paid sales and circulation figures don’t tell advertisers enough about their audiences.

“People need the assured thing – they want the knowledge and the insight and emma just provides deep and wide information on demographic and socio-graphic and lifestyle age stuff,” he said.

Asked whether newspapers saw EMMA as more valuable than any other measurement, Miller said “no doubt.”

News Corp, Fairfax and The West Australian still use both circulation and readership figures, while major magazine publishers withdrew from the AMAA audit last year

“They make their plans using it, they review their own performance using it. I can tell you there’d be some hard conversations with editors these days, or with management teams on publications. Those conversations are occurring around EMMA, that’s what they’re measuring themselves against,” he said.

“There’s no doubt the currency of these organisations – big news media organisations, rely on these numbers to make their own decisions.

“We recommend that advertisers do as well.”

Miller went on to say “no advertising decision” was being made without a focus on readership and total audience measurement.

“I would be shocked if there was anyone out there, whether it’s our figures or whether its the emma figures, or someone else’s, there’s no decision being made in this country that doesn’t take a close look at audience intentions,” he said. 

Asked why it was a better currency, Miller said it provided a “closer look” at the who, what, when and where.

“Circulation is one reader, one purchaser, you might make the case that the primary purchaser of the title is the first person.

“All around the world readership demonstrate that publications, or hard copy publications have more than one reader,” he added.

“Once you are sampling, surveying, asking questions, engaging people in this interrogation of their reading habits, you can find out more about them.”

“They peel back the data, they unpack people’s kind of habits and intentions, their approach to life, their other media habits.”

“It’s not just the devil that’s in the detail, the gold is in the detail as well.”

While encouraging advertisers to use EMMA will be a priority for the new CEO, Miller said he had several industry challenges to tackle as well – one being perception.

He said the perception people don’t read newspapers was “bullshit,” but admitted it was presenting issues for the industry.

“One of the things we really need to confront is perception, and you can find out a lot about newspapers and news media sites which have terribly reliable and contemporary packages,” he said.

“Millions of people read them, and advertisers get a fantastic return on them. So the big issue is one of perception and newspapers have somehow lost their place in the media world. They haven’t, but there’s a media advisor view because they’ve been discontinued in media schedules, and yet they are incredibly powerful,” he explained.

He noted the sentiment within the newspaper industry, was “more optimistic than ever”, as they continued to transform and evolve.

“In more recent times, they are up on the balls of their feet. Salespeople have targets – nothing new under the sun yet everything’s changed,” he said.

“Change doesn’t happen overnight. This has been a convulsed market and you see some publications really surge forward.

“I don’t think there’s any impediment to growth. The only impediment to growth is apathy and there’s certainly no apathy in the news media organisations.

“The publications are powerful, the brands are powerful, and big brands find ways to do well in every circumstance.”

Miller said in his new role, his aim will be to promote the newspaper as a powerful advertising option.

“I see us as a voice, not the voice of News Media, and I want to sing in chorus with the lead salespeople.

“A big focus is on the twin projects in revenue, which is how do we reduce the negative growth in the very powerful newspaper sector, which has been declining at about 7% or 10%, whichever way you look at it from five years. How do we half that or how do we stop that?

“We want to be promoting newspaper as a powerful option. Direct advertising in (national) newspapers is growing, it’s agency revenues that are declining, and they’re tending to roll the dice with real time bidding, and programmatic.

“The other half of the equation for us, is to accelerate the growth in digital revenues measured by the News Media Index.”

The latest News Media Index results – collated by the Standard Media Index – found digital revenue was up 7.5% year on year, to $463m for FY17 compared to print, which fell 14.5%, from $1.82b to $1.56b.

He said if he could helping subscription revenues grow, and reversing thinking – it would be a “fantastic achievement.”

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