Miller on SMI deal: 'We should have done it earlier'

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 11 May 2016
Michael Miller

Fresh from announcing its “world first” SMI partnership, chairman of the newly re-branded NewsMediaWorks Michael Miller says the deal was something the industry should have done sooner.

Yesterday the industry body for news media companies, comprised of board members News Corp, Fairfax, APN News and Media, and The West Australian revealed they were giving SMI access to their sales data to give a true picture of the ad dollars the companies and their assets are attracting.

This deal has been in the works for sometime, however, Miller tells AdNews: “should we have done it earlier? We probably should have.”

New confidence

When it comes to what this new deal will bring to the industry, Miller believes the main thing is confidence.

“When you see double-digit declines reported, we’ve known that not to be the case,” he says. “Year-on-year it's -6.7% and we’re seeing similar declines in other media in that range. It shows the audience is performing better here than others internationally, so I would say confidence is the key outcome,” he adds.

This new partnership is designed to accurately reflect the dollars that newspapers get, adding more than a billion dollars to previous annual estimates, with some publishers doing 50% of its ad business direct.

From these new numbers, the hope is that newspapers, in their print and digital forms, can again grow their presence in the channel mix by properly reflecting their place in the landscape.

“We don't have an audience issue, we've got a revenue issue and our audience has never been bigger. How we monetise those audiences is increasingly becoming an industry issue,” Miller says. “We've seen other industries do a better job than us, while there is a degree of catch up, there’s also a degree of differentiation.”

“It's not about convincing advertisers to use our companies, it's about convincing them to use us more.”

Incremental gains

When asked about how quickly publishers may see an advertising boost of the back of these numbers Miller, says: “The market is short, campaigns are ever changing, this is an ongoing conversation.

“It's not a quick fix, it's part of incremental gains. It's not the silver bullet, but an important step.”

CEO of the newly rebranded NewsMediaWorks, Mark Hollands tells AdNews the numbers reflect the health of the direct business that publishers receive and argues this is something all traditional players should look at investigating.

“It's something that everybody should do,” he says. “Advertisers that are well informed make better buying decisions, if you're proud and confident in your own product then that should be no problem for you.”

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