The inaugural chairman, News Limited boss John Hartigan, says the primary role of the new body will be to help demonstrate the reach, influence and value of newspapers as Australia’s number one medium.
“Newspapers are a contemporary and creative medium and still the most preferred single source of news, information and entertainment for Australians,” says Hartigan. “They continue to reach the biggest audience more cost-effectively than any other media.”
Hartigan says the new body would develop a range of strategies aimed at promoting the effectiveness of newspapers, raising their profile as a medium and encouraging more creative use of newspapers among advertisers and agencies.
“We reject the notion that newspapers are ‘old media’. Newspapers deliver much better reach for advertisers than any other media and are the most influential media among consumers. Newspapers also offer untapped potential as a creative medium.
“However, as the media market fragments and competition for ad revenue and “eyeballs” intensifies, it is more important than ever that the value of newspapers as a category is researched and marketed professionally,” says Hartigan.
Fairfax CEO David Kirk says the new body will also give publishers one voice on issues of common interest and importance.
“For example, it is important that the industry does a good job of explaining any impact of the impending changes to the way circulation is audited. At the same time, we will be able to work more effectively with the advertising industry on issues of mutual concern,” Kirk says.
The new newspaper marketing body will be led by an eight person board including the CEOs from each major publisher – John Hartigan (News), David Kirk (Fairfax), Brian McCarthy (Rural Press), Brendan Hopkins (APN) and the incoming CEO of West Australian Newspapers (WAN).
Independent regional, rural and community newspapers will also be invited to join the new organisation.
The new organisation also plans to work collaboratively rather than in competition with other newspaper industry bodies such as PANPA, the Australian Publishers Bureau and the Publishers National Environment Bureau which perform specific functions.
Hartigan says the new body hoped to become affiliated with the Newspaper Marketing Agency (NMA) in the UK and the Newspaper Association of America (NAA).
“These groups have already shown how well the industry can work together on non-competitive issues of common interest.
The NMA in the UK (www.nmauk.co.uk) in particular provides a very successful model which with its support we intend to use as the basis for our industry model in Australia,” he says.
The new body will be operational by the middle of this year and will be based in Sydney.