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Newsbrands: De Groose calls for change in narrative

14 Jan 2019  |  David Pidgeon 
Newsbrands: De Groose calls for change in narrative

Too many media planners and buyers are reading the wrong narrative around UK newsbrands, the new executive chair of Newsworks has said.

Tracy De Groose, the former UK CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network, told Mediatel publishers were not getting a fair share of adspend because too many parts of the industry follow the story of print decline rather than look for the evidence that shows huge and growing multi-channel readership.

"I want to extend the fan-base and ultimately tell a different story about news, because the current narrative is too focused on the old world and the decline," De Groose said three months into her role with the marketing body for UK newsbrands.

"I'm here to get it focused on the new world and the opportunities that come with it."

De Groose, who ran Dentsu Aegis Network from 2014 until October 2017 and was responsible for more than £1bn a year in adspend, said her mission is to "get the revenue that the [news] publishing industry deserves to invest in the future of journalism."

"In the last ten years, multiplatform has created new access points to news," she said. "Readership has grown to 40 - 45 million in the UK because more access points have been created."

However, De Groose said ad revenues have not followed that same trajectory. Instead, they have corresponded more closely with shrinking print circulations.

"The monetisation of the expanded news ecosystem hasn't happened," she said, citing problems with digital trading which mixes quality journalistic content with the "amorphous mass" of the wider Internet; media agency structures that have largely kept digital teams separate from print; and a missed opportunity to more widely use the PAMCo cross-platform readership currency.

"[2018] was the first time we were able to show that our industry is growing audiences, but that simple message is still not heard or acknowledged in the wider industry," De Groose said.

Mediatel spoke with several media agencies to understand what data was used to plan and buy, and noted ABC census data was more broadly used over the newer PAMCo currency, which launched last April.

However, last week's addition of PAMCo data into the IPA's TouchPoints database - a staple of agency planners - is regarded as a significant boost for the adoption of the new currency.

Additionally, PAMCo aims to share its respondent level data with members of the News Media Association and the Professional Publishers Association to add into their own proprietary planning tools, boosting the size of published media when pitted against other sectors such as TV, out-of-home and social media.

News publishers have also looked to resolve the online ad trading issue with the launch of the Ozone Project, which pools the inventory of multiple big-name publishers, giving buyers the scale they need whilst ensuring brand safety is built into the system.

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simonRedican, CEO, PAMCo on 14 Jan 2019
“I would just add that our respondent level data is also available to agencies who are members of the IPA, and we are in conversations with a number of them to imminently supply the data.”