News Corp marketing boss: Fragmentation of TV is an ‘outstanding opportunity’ for publishers



News Corp Australia’s head of marketing says the publishing business is well positioned to capitalise on the growing fragmentation of television audience.

Speaking on the sidelines of  the International News and Media Association (INMA) World Congress Damian Eales said the thing that the key learning for him was the potential of video.

“Video really stood out for me,” said Eales. “For the first time there was a lot of discussion about fragmentation of TV audiences and I think there were a lot of publishers in the room lining up to get a share of that fragmented market.”

Hear Eales’ interview here:

“So long as publishers continue to deliver the best in news sport and entertainment, every hour of the day, they really stand to gain from that transformation.”

Asked about what it meant for News Corp, given its half ownership of Pay-TV operator Foxtel which is in negotiations to buy free-to-air TV network Ten, Eales maintain he only saw opportunity.

“I think it is an outstanding opportunity for us,” he said. “I mean News Corp offers more pre-roll today than any other news media organisation in the country and from that strength I think we only have upside.”

Asked if how News would fare in the increasingly competitive premium video space he said: “We are constantly looking at how we can offer our advertisers better video alternatives – be it in on desktop, mobile and tablet. And given that news is a daily, even hourly activity we are going to have even better opportunities to monetise that over time.”

Eales also commented on how many publishers were restructuring their businesses to be less siloed and for products such as branded content to cut across departments.

“There have been a couple of things that stood out for me,” he said. “One of them was the question of structure and different publishers are really starting to get their heads around how they structure for the new roles that are required in our news media publishing business for the future.

“Roles that really cut across the traditional sales business – the two examples that really came up for me: were the area of content marketing which is an area which really cuts across ad sales, marketing, editorial and digital product, the other other analytics and marketing cutting across ad sales, editorial and IT.”

The acting sales boss of News Corp also focused on the potential growth to come from branded content and noted that marketer attitudes to whether it should be done internally or externally had changed.

“There is definitely a lot of demand from advertisers,” he said. “Pretty much every advertiser you speak to wants a solution for branded content.”

“I think there was originally a trend among those advertisers that they want to do it themselves and they wanted to establish their own capability.

“But increasingly the trend is starting to turn the other way and companies are recognising the core competency of news organisations is the creation of content and I think providing the news organisation can balance the delivery of that content without compromising their principles of independence then I think it is a real sweet spot.

Asked is he would follow the lead of Fairfax and APN, who have created their own internal content marketing production divisions, Made by Fairfax and Emotive, Eales said he did not think that was necessary.

“For me its not so important that we have an outward facing brand but that we have the capability within every single sales interaction we have with our advertisers that we can talk about our capability.

“I don’t think anyone can produce branded content as well as our organisation.”

Nic Christensen in New York 

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