Rebekah Brooks: We Must Offer Different Things to Advertisers

News UK chief executive Rebekah Brooks has said that advertisers want a much deeper engagement with media companies, prompting the publisher to pursue a more holistic approach to advertising sales.

In an interview with Campaign, Ms Brooks explained that the news media industry’s increased competition with the likes of Facebook and Google had prompted News UK to re-evaluate how advertising is sold.

Ms Brooks said: “Since September, I’ve spent a lot of time seeing and engaging with our top clients and agencies and listening to what they had to say and how we can make it easier to do business together.

“Spending time listening to advertisers means not just listening to how they want to do business with us but listening to their business needs and being able to reflect back what we can do for them in different ways.”

She adds: “We’ve also had to rethink how we sell our advertising. Advertisers want a much deeper engagement with their media partners now than ever before.

“We’re competing with some impressive competitors – Facebook and Google – in terms of how they sell their advertising to clients, so we’ve taken a leaf out of their book. We need a more holistic approach.”

Brooks said that print remains relevant. “When viewability in digital is an issue, there’s nothing more viewable than advertising in print.”

The article references the boost to news media publishers print circulation and digital traffic figures following the EU referendum, as researched by the News Media Association and Newsworks, which saw The Times add 100,000 copies on the Saturday following the vote

“We’ve got to be able to sell print properly,” Ms Brooks told Campaign. “I’ve spent time engaged with Newsprinters and thinking of all the different ways we can do print.”

Referencing reports of newspapers groups discussing merging ad sales to gain scale, Ms Brooks said. “We’ve been looking at every option,” adding that it was “right to do so” because there are so many ad sales houses in the newspaper trade and they lack scale.

“If you listen to advertisers, one of the things they compare us to – a little bit unfavourably, I have to say – is television, where they say the segmentation of audience is more simple,” Ms Brooks added.