Gyngell in private briefings with top 50 advertisers

Nine Entertainment Co. chief executive David Gyngell’s absence at his company’s public upfronts might have been notable, but he has been holding private briefing sessions with Australia’s top 50 advertisers in a bid to bring more market share into the Nine stable.

Nine executives, including Gyngell, group sales and marketing director Peter Wiltshire and Powered by Nine director Michael Branagh, have held a series of confidential briefing sessions with the country’s top advertisers and their agencies, in conjunction with the media company’s public upfront presentations for 2013.

While meetings between media owners and advertisers are nothing new, media agency bosses have argued the assertive, in-depth and one-to-one nature of the briefings was unlike anything they have seen in previous years, with one source suggesting Nine’s financial investment in the strategy would have been “considerable”.

The objective of the briefings was to obtain higher share from the top 50 in 2013 by generating deeper partnerships across Nine’s cross-platform offering.

Wiltshire told AdNews: “As part of our upfronts we decided to have some more intimate briefings, because we’ve had a colourful year and we felt we owed it to the market to have a more confidential talk about 2013.”

Sources suggested Gyngell was more “frank” about Nine’s position than he could have been in a public environment, talking openly about the company’s financial woes of 2012, while acknowledging the business needed to improve its data offering.

One source said Gyngell even admitted the Zeebox social media app, which has partnered with Ten, was the best in the market, in comparison to Nine’s own Jump In.

MediaCom chief executive Mark Pejic said the strategy was something he had not seen from Nine before, and argued the “private briefings allowed for in-depth and client-specific conversations, versus the large-scale production [of the public upfronts]”.

UM chief executive Mat Baxter said while similar strategies had been employed previously, there had been nothing “to this scale”. “The fact Nine has been so candid really builds confidence,” he said.

In its public upfronts, Nine has presented a bold guarantee that it will grow audiences by 5% across key demographics, while launching a new data and crossplatform audience measurement system called Iris.

This article first appeared in the 30 November 2012 edition of AdNews, in print and on iPad. Click here to subscribe for more news, features and opinion.

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