Idea that new readership survey would save the day was naive says Newspaper Works boss

The boss of the industry body for Australia’s major newspaper groups has said publishers expected too much of the ability of its new readership metric to maintain advertising spend.

Publish question time panel 3

Were media agencies too hasty in turning away from print?

The comments came from Mark Hollands, CEO of The Newspaper Works, which led the development of new readership survey EMMA – Enhanced Media Metrics Australia.

Speaking at the Publish conference, Mark Hollands told the audience: “The idea that this data was going to save the day, to be honest, was a little bit naive.”

Instead, it was more important than ever for sales teams to impress agencies and advertisers with their creativity when they present to them.

“The solutions and great ideas in the room capture the advertiser. I don’t suggest you put data in the room or even a 30 per cent discount in the room, you put magic in the room.

“That’s what really gets everyone excited and everything else lines up behind it.”

But Nicole Sheffield, CEO of NewsLifeMedia argues that media agencies demanded more than that. “You still have to measure magic. Any medium needs measurement. Magic is what connects with consumers,” she said.

Referring to fellow Publish Question Time panellist Nicole Turley – chief investment officer at media agency Mediacom – Sheffield said: “When I’m sitting across from Nicole and I say ‘look at all the magic’. They say ‘look at the numbers’.”

Turley said: “What we need to do is move away from circulation and readership. We need to understand more about that consumer – what else they do, what else they have in their lives.

Turley also admitted that media agencies may have been too “hasty” in turning away from print advertising.

“As we saw digital really blossom and grow more as a format and understand the audiences there was a haste for advertisers to go where the eyeballs where, where it was more accountable, more actionable,” she said.

“I look at the metrics we have now and all the data and insights around those audiences and thinking of one customer or audience view, if you were to rewind a few years ago, I don’t think the drop off would have been as hasty.”

Miranda Ward


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