The new unit is an extension of the already existing creative solutions team, which currently generates about 9 per cent of News UK Commercial’s revenue.
The creation of the native advertising division marks a strategic shift to giving creative solutions content a more editorial focus. It will be led by The Sunday Times Style editor Tiffanie Darke, who will be recruiting for staff with creative backgrounds to join the unit.
Abba Newbery, News UK Commercial director of ad strategy, told Marketing Week “the sky is the limit” in terms of the types of formats it will now offer brands – from 1-page advertorials, through to app creation or video.
In a statement, News UK says it offers advertisers an “unparalleled relationship with a high-quality, highly-engaged, well-profiled audience that believes our content is worth paying for”. The Sun joined the Times in going behind an online paywall late last year.
The publisher also says it has research that proves its audiences pay more attention to advertising as a result of their engagement with its content. Earlier this year it released a study conducted by Sparkler which found that newspaper readers of titles across the sector were far more responsive to advertising and more committed to the news brand if they consumer content through both print and tablet devices.
The creation of the new native advertising unit follows The Guardian’s launch of its Guardian Labs content marketing division in February this year and Metro, which launched its own dedicated content agency, Story, in April.