News Corp hints at future strategy, while publishers push EMMA

Julian Clarke, News Corp Australia’s recently appointed CEO, has given the first hints of his strategy for the business, telling an industry forum that the publisher and industry needed to focus on differentiating its products.

During a panel discussion of newspaper CEOs at the industry’s Future Forum in Sydney, Clarke said his company needed to mirror advertisers in using a master brand strategy.

“We are following the steps of most national brand operators we started with a single brand with newspapers which is a multi-major brand,” said Clarke.

“In the automotive industry you have seen the whole market has been segmented not because they had reduction in capacity,” he said.

“It has been segmented because they realised that the community out there is not a homogenous single lump, there are all sorts of dynamics going on there.”

Clarke said his business would be following a similar strategy.

” We are in the business of segmenting our product range to fit the natural segmentation that is out there,” said Clarke.

“The biggest issue for me when you have a mix of paid newspapers, free websites/apps, and then paywalls the trick for me is how do you actually line that product range up and express the value proposition for all of them.”

The News Corp CEO’s remarks were made on a panel that also included Fairfax Media’s Greg Hywood, APN News and Media boss Michael Miller and West Australian Newspapers chief Chris Wharton.

Miller said: “The market has been redefined and probably the biggest change is the two way communication.

“Talk back radio is not the only talkback medium, we now have talkback newspapers and we need to as a business be thinking about that and recognise the business is now two way.”

Wharton said in his view the new readership metric EMMA – created by the publishers’ industry body The Newspaper Works – was going to play a key role. Up to now Roy Morgan Research has offered the only readership survey.

“I’m just happy Morgan is gone,” Wharton said, while also hinting that WAN would likely only use EMMA as its currency for setting rate cards.

“I love how EMMA is up to date, there was (previously) too much lag and cross platform it is good,” he said.

Fairfax’s Greg Hywood said it was now up to the industry to sell EMMA as the best metric to media buyers.

“We have got to sell it,” said Hywood. “This is not a lay down misere this is not going to just roll through the industry.”

“We have got to have a selling point position around EMMA, that has to be delivered, so that it becomes the absolute only metric and there is work to be done there.”

Nic Christensen


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