Newspaper industry uses ‘influence’ in a bid to stop advertising dollars moving out of print

InfluentialByNature_LogoThe Newspaper Works is launching its  “biggest ever” ad campaign on behalf of Australia’s four major publishers in a bid to convince the advertising industry to rebalance media budgets and stem the collapse of print revenues.

Targeting media buyers and advertisers, the new campaign is built around the idea of the medium being “Influential by Nature”, which Newspaper Works chairman Michael Miller said reflected how the medium shapes consumer and political behaviour.

Miller told Mumbrella: “This campaign is around increasing, defending and growing print’s share of the total advertising pie.

“This is a campaign that has been worked on since the end of last year and There is a greater recognition by the publishers that this is a category challenge not a publisher challenge.”

InfluentialByNature_largeThe Newspaper Works is the industry body representing APN News & Media, Fairfax Media, News Corp Australia and West Australian Newspapers and was developed by The Hallway.

Miller, who is also CEO of APN, argued now was the time for the industry as a whole to stand up for the print medium and its role in influencing consumer and business decisions.

“We need to come back to what are the inherent characteristics of newspapers,” he said. “It is that influence. They have been known to influence consumer behaviour, political behaviour and consumer behaviour on the commercial level.

“Every successful campaign requires influencers. Influence is what newspapers do far better than other media and it is that impact that news media brands have among consumers, advertisers and communities through their campaigning.

“It comes from being trusted and believed and that occurs through the brands, the journalists, the columnists and the fact that newspapers are local, topical and relevant. ”

The print and digital campaign and will focus on real examples where publishers have achieved tangible outcomes for both the community and advertisers.

The first ad, launching today, focuses on the role of Sydney newspapers in campaigning for lock-out laws and helping reduce the incidence of alcohol-fuelled violence on in areas such as Kings Cross.

Newspaper Works CEO Mark Hollands and Michael Miller

Newspaper Works CEO Mark Hollands and Michael Miller

However, Miller also acknowledged the challenge facing publishers in convincing media agencies to increase their clients spends on the state and national level.

Standard Media Index (SMI) numbers shows total agency spend on newspapers has fallen from $78.03m in January 2012 to $42.6m in January 2015.

“We are targeting media buyers and advertisers,” said Miller. “If I, from a publisher point-of-view, have an idea of what the challenges for the print category are then we don’t have an audience challenge – audiences in Australia and worldwide have held up well – the challenge is more of an advertising one. In particular a national advertising one.

“The SMI figures definitely reflect agency spend but a large proportion of the spend in print also comes from direct sales – local advertisers.

“The revenue trends are not as bad as what the SMI reflect but even if you take the SMI figures that trend is slowing.”

Miller cited his own business’s results as an example to argue the sustained double digital falls in print were slowing.

“In APN’s case it has probably halved year-on-year,” said Miller. “I am also comforted by the comments of people like Martin Sorrell [CEO of advertising group WPP] and other agency leaders that there probably needs to be some rebalancing of media spends.

“The move away from print has been too overly weight and so that needs to be rebalanced. This campaign will do part of the work in addressing those perceptions and that imbalance.”

Nic Christensen 

Newspaper Works CEO Mark Hollands will be taking part in a Mumbrella hangout on Wednesday, April 15 at 2pm talking about the campaign and the wider challenges facing the newspaper industry.


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