Speaking to media agencies at the publisher’s “Future of News” experiential event run by the Future Lab at its Wapping offices, Darcey compared the new industry’s current challenges to those once faced by BSkyB, his previous employer.
Darcey said the pay-TV industry had to work to embrace the internet, forge strong customer relationships and combine creative advertising and “killer content” using the best technology.
He added: “I believe Sky’s approach is a good hint of what we should do in this industry, indeed what we have to do to survive and thrive.”
News International is currently working to establish more meaningful direct relationships with its readers and advertisers. Darcey said an example of how this has already taken effect is the relaunch of The Sunday Times Style magazine this weekend (10 March), which in response to advertiser demand has been refocused on fashion and beauty – “non-core” content such as family and food has been moved into other sections of the paper.
The company has more events lined up to build on these relationships with brands and media agencies such as the launch of a pop up shop, research and partnership activity to demonstrate its “News 3.0” thought leadership approach.
News International is currently in the process of restructuring its sales teams and changing its advertising propositions to focus on offering audiences to brands, rather than specific slots in particular papers.
Darcey said: “When you are selling a product, you don’t want to target a Sun reader or a Times reader; you don’t want to reach someone online or in print. You want to reach a person, perhaps in a particular life stage, in a certain location and even in a certain mind state.”
The refocused sales approach forms part of the company’s internal programme “Newsroom 360”, which aims to make its editorial content function better across multiple channels. Darcey says this approach will also benefit advertisers because the company is looking at how it can use new technology to reduce the amount of creative agencies or brands need to spend in order for ads to appear across multiple formats.
The upcoming programme of events and internal initiatives mark News International’s “determination to move forward” for the sake of both the company and the newspaper industry as a whole, according to Darcey.
He said: “Our aim is to create a news industry that delivers world-class professional journalism with a sustainably profitably business model. One that gives readers news worth paying for and advertisers new and innovative ways of reaching customers.”
Last year News International owner company News Corporation confirmed it was to split its publishing and entertainment business into two separate trading companies. News Corp said at the time the new global publishing company, which has split away from its Fox television network and movie studio arm, had the “opportunity to leverage its trusted brands for innovation and value creation across all traditional and digital platforms”.