News Corp pushes credentials to deliver results for marketers as it unveils Food Corp and News DNA

The launch of a dedicated network of News Corp’s food brands, an update to News Corp’s content marketing solution, the launch of News DNA and a partnership with the Melbourne Business School were the major announcements at last night’s’ News Corp ‘Come Together’ upfronts-style event.

The evening saw the company spruik its credentials to deliver results for marketers, with Michael Miller, News Corp Australasia’s executive chairman, telling the audience: “It is a company that is committed to making things happen, it doesn’t just say it, it walks it.

Michael Miller

“As a former CMO with News I deeply understand the value of a dollar and having strong media relationships. I know exactly how it feels to face the pressure of making sure every marketing choice is the right one.

“I know the relationship between client, agency and media partner is critical. I get that, I’ve been there, too. I’ve seen the good and the not so good. It’s with great confidence that I say News will continue to do great things with you and for you. Together we can achieve the best results.”

News Digital Networks Australia

The publishing company officially unveiled its new business department, News DNA, which had been flagged earlier this week with the appointment of NewsLifeMedia CEO, Nicole Sheffield, to the role of managing director of News DNA.

The new unit aligns all of News Corp Australia’s digital assets within news, food, lifestyle, prestige and women’s categories; however, Sheffield says NewsLifeMedia has not been killed off with the creation of the new department.

Nicole Sheffield

“NewsLifeMedia continues as the lifestyle publishing arm of News Corp. That’s a really important part – it looks after all of our lifestyle publishing and much of that content fuels our websites,” she said.

“News DNA is a new business unit whose purpose is to maximise and optimise all of our digital properties. News has many digital products but we kind of work in silos and what we’re about is how we can bring them together to maximise the experience.

“We are looking at each of the key verticals – news, lifestyle, food, home, health; we’re number one in all those categories, and (we’re) looking at what areas can bolster these networks and how we package them up for our commercial partners to make us easier to work with.”

Sheffield said it is a long-term plan for her previous NewsLifeMedia reporting lines to remain in place.

On a potential succession plan for NewsLifeMedia, Miller told Mumbrella the company has great publishers, citing Nick Smith and Fiona Nilsson as some of the company’s talent.

“One of the things News does is invest in is future talent,” he said.

Food Corp

News Corp has brought its food titles – Delicious, Donna Hay, – together under the banner of Food Corp, which is headed up by newly-appointed director of Food, Fiona Nilsson.

Nicole Sheffield, managing director of News Digital Networks Australia, told Mumbrella: “The whole goal of creating networks is those networks need brands, and the one we announced today is Food Corp.

“That doesn’t take away from what we do now, or take away from our brands, but what it does is it pulls together what we’re doing. We have a lot of food writers around the country, we have a lot of fabulous food content produced locally and that’s coming together to actually really deliver incredible new food content that can be used digitally, in the local papers, in the mags, or used for a client. We can do all of that.

“By putting it under Fiona Nilsson – it was 80% of what she was already doing, but that extra 20% is going to make a big difference in terms of the synergies around the network.”

Fiona Nilsson

Nilsson with Matt Preston: (Nilsson) “is going to make a big difference in terms of the synergies around the network”

On what Sheffield wants to achieve next in the food space, she says it is around use of audio to complete the digital food experience.

“The magazine is like a collectable; you don’t want to rip the pages out anymore, and the iPad is the tool in the kitchen when you’re cooking.

“The next exciting opportunity is the audio component for food because as we move into the connected kitchen the recipes start actually being available to our appliances.

“The biggest complaint I get is when I swipe the page I dirty my iPad, imagine if the iPad can tell you what to do next. Audio for recipes, no-one is tackling it in the world, I want to do it.

“We’ve got print right and the digital experience right – the next is audio. Food will keep growing, it’s going to be endless.’

In the food space, Seven West Media has launched Foodiful in partnership with Woolworths which is set to take on News Corp’s; however, Sheffield is not concerned by the competition.

“I wouldn’t call it a compliment, I’d call it naïve, actually, because unfortunately what they’ve forgotten in that process they’ve focused so much on the commercial relationship is they forgotten that what matters is your reader, your user, or your consumer and that’s what drives the success of Taste,” Sheffield said.

“I wish them all the luck in the world – there is always someone who comes up every six months who want to take on Taste. I say ‘good luck’ because, guess what? Australia has chosen.”

Campaign Solutions Studio

News Corp announced a “tweak” to its News Corp Content Studios which was revealed at the publisher’s Come Together event last year.

The specialist unit was created to make and deliver custom-built solutions for advertisers that could be a product, event or experience. According to News Corp, it will combine the various data sources and intelligence that exist about News’ brands and audiences, enabling the team to extract greater client value and drive more insightful campaign solutions.

Speaking with Mumbrella, Miller said: “The reality is, last year’s studio was about custom solutions to a particular brief and the feedback we received was ‘how does that fit into a broader campaign?’michael miller 2

“Marketers don’t create content, they create campaigns to a business outcome and that campaign might be 18 months for a car launch or it might be a weekend for a retail sale.

“Understanding and coming back with a solution, which is a campaign solution not just a custom, single brief solution, is the subtle difference. It is an extension of last year, it’s not re-casting what we did but it’s based on feedback and where the market is.”

News Corp Australia Media & Marketing Institute

The company has partnered with Melbourne Business School to provide a week-long study program for the country’s best and brightest talent with a focus on brand strategy, audience segmentation and targeting, investment analytics and marketing strategy.

Miller said: “One of the things News does is invest in its future talent and our announcement around the Media & Marketing Institute is around a belief that our future isn’t just in our own talent but is in the talent in the industry. I’m not seeing the same investment going in by some of our partners, and that’s a void we’d like to assist with.”


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