Miller warns the old approach to marketing newspapers is failing

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 21 August 2014

Faced with declining ad revenues newspapers need to stop telling the world how great they are and start showing how they can work hand in hand with other platforms to create great campaigns, APN News and Media CEO Michael Miller has warned.

Speaking on a panel at this morning's Future Forum conference hosted by The Newspaper Works, Miller said the industry's strategy was failing because it was not thinking the way clients thought.

“Talk about agencies, the way that we've marketed, it is evident from the results we're getting (it) is not right,” Miller said.

“Too often we say here is the reach from our newspapers and here is the reach of a TV program, this is not the way that agencies or clients think. They think about how does the full page print ad work with digital and work with the other media, our job we have to do is to explain what is the role of print in other campaigns.”

“The old approach of we're better than others isn't working. In conjunction with others there's a whole range of opportunities.”

Fellow media company CEOs also on the panel were , Greg Hywood, CEO of Fairfax Media, Julian Clarke, CEO, News Corp Australia and Chris Wharton CEO of West Australian Newspapers.

Clarke agreed with Miller saying that the industry and the industry body has got to do more.

“I don't think an increase in advertising review for us rests solely with the media plan, I think there’s a much broader talent that we've got to work and the Readership Works understands that and is working in all of those corners of the media landscape,” he said.

The CEOs also discussed how the internet has undisputedly changed what they do, but in doing so has forced the industry to get creative.

Reflecting his own company's push into events, Hywood said that the events business globally is growing and he believes this is due to people and advertisers wanting the human-to-human contact that the internet has taken away.

“Events is global business that is growing 20% a year, people want that offer of extroverted activity, because of technology, if you look around the streets, technology is providing a much more introverted experience.”

“So this is balancing out, it is changing peoples habits, they're certainly wanting to engage in face to face activity and I think there’s absolutely a direct correlation,” he said.

The topic of native was also broached by the panel with Hywood highlighting that there is room for native in media businesses and gone are the days of media companies just having two revenue streams.

“People need to understand that in the future you are not going to have two core revenue streams into our business, there are going to be multiple streams, the job of the organisation is to create those.”

Clarke agreed saynig that putting advertising in the relevant section for readers is what papers have been doing for years with their sections.

“Any marketer knows that the sweet spot in the market for them is where their product is positioned in the right context.”

“Publishers have been doing this with our sections forever, advertisers want to be in there because they know the audience is interested in the subject itself. The trick for us is in creating the context is to not in anyway damaging the brand.”

“Trust is at the base of all of this, if we lose trust with our readers, everything is gone and the readers will be the first to leave,” he said.

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