News UK to be ‘biggest producer of original content’

The owner of the Sun, the Times and Sunday Times is looking to place a bigger emphasis on video, branded content, mobile and programmatic in 2017.


News UK is hoping to “properly” start monetising video content within the business and become the biggest producer of original content within the media sector.

The publisher said the company started prioritising video after Rebekah Brooks returned to the business as its chief executive, and is in the midst of building up its own video capabilities in house.

“We have identified four main opportunities; video, mobile, branded content, and programmatic. We are making senior hires to bring expertise from outside of the business. All of this will be underpinned by a rich data catalogue, so brands can target our audiences but also discover their own audiences across our properties,” Ben Walmsley, digital commercial director at News UK, said during a press meeting today (2 November).

So far, the company has set up video partnerships with brands including Tesco and Morrisons, which explores parenting tips as well as food-related clips.

News UK insisted it does not “make videos around anything”, instead focusing on news, food, tech, fashion and make-up, and parenting.

“We looked at BuzzFeed’s Tasty and went: ‘That’s good, we should do that’. We want to tell more brands that we’re making videos in that area. We are excited about next year, as publishing video is going to be big [for us]. Our ambition is to become the biggest producer of original content. And I believe we are quite far ahead of our competitors,” News UK’s head of video Derek Brown said.

‘Sitting on a treasure-trove of data’

The publisher says it has had “a year of investment and growth” across its portfolio. Over the last 12 months it has taken down the Sun’s paywall and relaunched the website, as well as rebranded its commercial division as ‘The Bridge’ in a bid to bring together the company’s data, creativity and insight resources in one place. Most recently, it acquired Wireless group, which owns talkSPORT and Virgin Radio.

News UK believes it is sitting “on a treasure trove of data”, boasting seven million registered users across the Sun, the Times and Sunday Times.

“We have huge amounts of registration data. Through that we can build out a deep level of insight which gives us the ability to launch more advanced products, like data merging and overlaying data sets,” Walmsley said.

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