Integration message taking time to sink in: The West Australian

James McGrath
By James McGrath | 26 March 2015

The West Australian is on the eastern seaboard, asking that it not be “lumped in the same boat” as Fairfax and News Corp newspapers, but the market is struggling to understand the full offering from a sales perspective.

The newspaper has been on the eastern seaboard for the past few days presenting to clients in key markets, spruiking its integration with Channel Seven and other products under the Seven West Media banner.

Sales director at The West David Bignold told AdNews prior to yesterday's 'G'day from WA' event that the paper was fighting perception issues on two fronts.

“We're experiencing some slowness in the market like everybody else in press, especially from our national clients,” Bignold said.

“[But] We're basically being characterised like all other national press in Australia, is through no fault of our own. Because newspapers are copping it, and I'm not pointing the finger at News Limited and Fairfax, but that's where it is – we've been lumped in the same boat.”

The West also told clients this morning that they should not read too much into a slowdown in the mining economy in WA.

“The mining boom has definitely come off a bit, but nobody in the mining game would say it's over. The infrastructure boom [is slowing] because everything's in production, we're in the export phase,” Bignold said.

“Prices have come off a little bit, but we've still got oil and gas, which I don't think everybody over east appreciates. WA is seen as an iron ore state, but we've got massive LNG projects underway too.”

The West Australian and Seven have been integrated into the same newsroom for five weeks now, with The West's editor Brett McCarthy said things were going well in the early stages.

However, Bignold said the integration of sales teams wasn't far behind.

“This event is a bit of a pre-cursor to us really pushing out that sales offering to clients,” Bignold said.

There are currently three 'pods' of integrated sales teams at Newspaper House in WA, where The West Australian is produced, consisting of sales from The West, Seven, thewest.com.au, Red Fusion, and Google.

“The market has been asking us to create this single touchpoint, it's something they definitely want,” Bignold said.

“[But], we have had to condition the market as to what we wanted to do, and this G'Day from WA event is part of telling that story to clients and agencies on this side of the country,” Bignold said.

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