Where's your money going? ANZ's BlueNotes delivers higher than expected numbers

By Rosie Baker & Brendan Coyne | 23 June 2014

ANZ's push into publishing has delivered higher than anticipated yields with the bank's newsroom eyeing expansion into creating more news-based content for its consumer banking customers.

Former BRW, Smart Investor and Asset publisher Amanda Gome heads up the bank's publishing unit as ‎group head of strategic content and digital media.

She told AdNews earlier this month that the BlueNotes venture, which caters for the business-end of its customer base, overseen editorially by former AFR associate editor Andrew Cornell, had outperformed in terms of eyeballs.

The portal launched two months ago. The stated goal was to deliver 3,000 external subscribers within its first year. As of the beginning of June 1,000 had signed up. Similarly, aiming for 80,000 unique visitors in its first year, Gome said it had racked up 30,000 within six weeks.

“That was something that surprised us. We expected more discussion around how independent we were, but that went quite quickly.”

But the banks is not too worried about numbers, even if they track higher than its goals. Paul Edwards, group general manager of corporate communications at ANZ, said it is about quality, with subscribers including people at ASIC, the treasury, shareholders and fund managers “exactly the type of people we are supposed to communicate with.”

While those might be the kind of people Australia's mainstream financial press write for, Edwards insisted the portal was “not competing with the AFR … journalism today has many forms.”

However, speaking at the AdNews Media Sales Summit last month, he said the bank had “observed not just the opportunity to change, but the need to change. Corporates need to find a way to tell stories directly.

“We used to have six or seven pages of financial services in the Fin. Now we have one.”

More of Australia's banks and brands are investing to become publishers. Read what they plan in the forthcoming print issue of AdNews (published 27 June) and what the traditional publishers and broadcasters have to say in response. Subscribe here or get it on your iPad.

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