News Corp’s chief marketing officer, Damian Eales, has debunked any idea that the publisher may possibly follow rival Fairfax and discontinue the weekday print editions of its newspapers.
Eales (pictured below), speaking at yesterday’s launch of News’ new Sunday print supplement Stellar, said the company was equally focused on the weekday papers as much as it was its bigger selling weekend editions.
In early May, Fairfax’s CEO Greg Hywood told a room full of investors that “in future years” the publisher would move to weekend-only print editions.
However, Eales told B&T that wasn’t part of New’s plans into the future. “I’m not going to comment on the Fairfax strategy suffice to say it’s a very different strategy to the News Corp strategy. Our focus is about a cross-platform audience and the key to that is still print. Print has an incredible important place in the lives of our audience, equally as digital, and it’s not one or the other for us, we’re investing in both.”
As for the relaunched Stellar (due in late August), Eales said it would be Australia’s biggest selling glossy weekly once it’s inserted inThe Sunday Telegraph (NSW), Sunday Herald Sun (VIC) and The Sunday Mail (QLD) with an audience of around four million readers. “That’s an equivalent of the number of people who watched the last State of Origin but we’re giving advertisers that every single week,” he said.
“The reality is that our Sunday newspapers are the highest circulating newspapers in our portfolio. It has our biggest audience and from an advertiser’s perspective it’s a particularly engaged audience, they’re very forward focused in terms of planning the week ahead. It’s a powerful component of our overall proposition. But we are investing in our weekday proposition equally and we’ve seen improvements in terms of circulation right across our portfolio regardless of what day they’re published.”
Eales agreed that print-based products aren’t always top of mind in agency-land but said when they’re numbers were good they still offered a compelling argument. Digital he agreed was far more measurable but “there was a fallacy that because something is measurable it’s more effective”.
He added: “To that extent some of the more traditional medias – free to air television, as an example – has been left behind by that transactional end and equally advertisers are starting to realise that to transplant themselves in the mindset of the customer when they’re not necessarily already thinking about purchasing something they’ve got to get back to that consideration and inspiration phase of that purchase funnel. So it’s a little bit of marketing 101 but it’s conventional wisdom starting to come back into the market a little bit.”
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