Instinct and live data ‘the new weapons in an editor’s arsenal’ says News Corp’s Michael Miller

Live data and insights combined with instinct “are the new weapons in an editor’s arsenal,” says News Corp Australasia’s Executive Chairman, Michael Miller.

Addressing the Melbourne Press Club today, Miller said the industry needed clear priorities as it enters a “new era of media opportunity” and emphasised the need for Australia’s media outlets to speak with a ‘united voice’ to counter the power of Google and Facebook.

Miller: “The shape and strength of the Australian media’s future rests in our hands”

“With apologies to the editors in the room, while gut instinct once told you all you need to know, today, insight from data provides live and accurate measures of what audiences are consuming.

“Combined – instinct and live data – are the new weapons in an editor’s arsenal,” Miller said.

“In Adelaide, for example, 40 per cent of subscriptions from our local Messenger sites come from local planning, zoning and development stories. In Brisbane, court reports are in the top three subscription drivers. Here in Melbourne, it’s AFL, obviously. And yes, I concede, no need for data analytics to tell us that.

“The shape and strength of the Australian media’s future rests in our hands.”

Outlining the industry’s priorities, including working as a unified media, supporting local industry, investing in content and journalism, operating smarter by using data and speaking with one about the reform, Miller said “old demarcation lines should be redrawn.”

He said industry scale would help improve revenue and cost challenges and serve Australians better, using the New Zealand market as an example.

“They’ve done it New Zealand, where once traditional foes, TVNZ, Media Works, NZME and Fairfax Media have united to create a new local advertising exchange service, KPEX. By putting the customer first, they have given advertisers access to a range of publisher platforms – all via a single transaction.”

He added: “We need to stop revelling in each other’s problems and publish less negative headlines about rival newsrooms being ‘gutted.'”

“No one should be rejoicing in the Channel 9 decision to close its Darwin newsroom, least of all the publisher of the NT News.

“We need to be our own champions and change the conversation about the value, and contribution, of media in this country and its communities. This is what sets us apart, this is our differentiator.

“Our ability to tell unique local stories, to cover councils, to report on courts, to give a voice to those who so often are without one,” he said.

Commenting on the proposed media reforms, which are set to return to the Senate after winter break, Miller said the industry’s “united voice” needed to maintain pressure in Canberra.

Two months ago, broadcast and newspaper executive showed their support of the reforms – which include the abolishing of license fees, restriction on live gambling, and repealing the two out of three and 75% audience reach media ownerships rules – in Canberra.

Today, Miller focused on copyright laws saying, “our united voice needs to maintain the pressure in Canberra for media reforms or I fear the Darwin community may not be the only one to lose its local TV, radio or newspaper.

“The Government needs to ensure that Australian copyright law is protected. Copyright laws must provide a framework to ensure journalists, musicians and sporting bodies – can continue to create and invest in local content.

“The future of Australian media will be determined by those who work together, work smarter, put their customers first and continue to invest in the craft that is of the utmost importance to this country – journalism.”


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