Ad buyers say News Corp is 'listening and reinventing itself'

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 22 March 2019
Damian Eales, Lou Barrett and Michael Miller

News Corp's annual showcase to advertisers looks to be a success for the media company, with media buyers saying the Rupert Murdoch-owned business is listening and learning.

The Come Together event is News Corp's annual showcase aimed at wooing advertisers into spending with it throughout the year.

It wrapped up in Sydney yesterday after three days and is now heading to Melbourne.

News Corp revealed a total of 25 new initiatives and, after speaking to media buyers across the industry, the event was a hit with most.

GroupM impressed with advertising opportunities

GroupM AUNZ CEO Mark Lollback says he was “impressed” with News Corp's presentation and what it will mean for his clients.

During the event split over three days in Sydney, people were taken through five different experiential presentations, which demonstrated how brands can use News Corp to advertise.

“The way it was presented offered a bitesize snapshot of the capabilities across all of News Corp, and the potential integrations across the platforms,” Lollback says.

“You got sense of News Corp coming together much more holistically than ever before. That’s good for advertisers.

"News Corp is reinventing itself, making its assets more relevant and easier to access, and more competitive and impactful in market." 

Lollback says GroupM has been working with the media organisation over the past year and asking for new capabilities and “ways of thinking”.

“It's great to see them deliver on that with a host of new initiatives that will help our clients achieve their business outcomes," he says. 

"The announcements around data and leveraging data to create segments across their platforms was particularly compelling for us and how we can adopt that for our clients, as is the way News Corp is going to treat sports. It’s a fresh way of looking at sports sponsorship for clients." 

GroupM investment officer Nicola Lewis echoed Lollback's sentiment, saying Come Together was “bold” and solidified News Corp's position as a significant content player in the market with a “future-facing” view.

“It knitted together key themes, the integration of its assets and amplification of platforms such as News Connect and Unruly EQ,” Lewis says.

“'They proved New Corp is an opinion powerhouse with platforms including News Advocate, Teacher’s Pet and Sky News, with the ability to create movements within Australian that capture the interest of the Australian public and become part of culture.

“The announcement of News Amp, and the integration across MCN assets was both interesting and important for GroupM and our clients, as was Code Block, a smart and bold intuitive in the sports space.”

News partnerships a win for clients

Of the 24 new initiatives, Bohemia media director Nichola Kiely says News Corp's partnership with Near was the most exciting because it allows it to better measure the effectiveness of campaigns.

“With a struggling retail category at present, measuring in-store visits and campaign effectiveness at driving footfall has never been more important to us and our clients. This is of huge interest to us,” Kiely says.

Kiely also thought its partnership with Skyscanner was a win, given travel touches all of the target audience at some time.

“Of all the travel aggregator websites, Skyscanner's scale is huge with daily flight search data of more than two million Australians, so News securing this global-first media partnership is a great opportunity we intend to capitalise on,” Kiely says.

News Corp adapting with market

Spark Foundry national investment and partnerships director Craig Cooper said the event proved News Corp is listening to the market and providing “valuable” platforms for clients.

He pointed out Newscast, Code Block, Escape-a-thon, Recipe Rebrand and News Connect as highlights and also agreed its partnership with Near is “interesting”.

“While location targeting is not a new thing, given the scale of News’ reach, this could be a great tool to deliver precision targeting for clients,” Cooper says.

He also says the new Code Block could be desirable to clients, particularly because it allows clients who have committed significant funds for sports code partnerships to fully leverage this within a high reaching content reach and environmentally relevant area.

“Code Block will primarily suit clients who wish to communicate to their audiences across a full season of a sporting code,” Cooper says.

“We assume that News will also have short term or smaller packages available, like TV networks do, for any unsold sport inventory.

“This should create demand and also a real exclusivity for clients who want to cut through to audiences. News have already been transparent that they will respect the sporting code partnership clients first, which should alleviate any issues surrounding competitiveness here." 

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