2022 In Review: Lou Barrett on a big year for News Corp and what comes next

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Plus: Barrett’s one message to advertisers going into 2023

As the year comes to a close and 2023 looms on the horizon, it’s a good time to pause and look back at the successes of a year that wasn’t necessarily predicted to end as well as it has. 

The year has been full of big moments and big statistics for the News Corp sales team. There was the launch of a new Customer Data Platform in July, the advancement of Shoppable Video, and, most recently, affiliate revenue over Black Friday and Cyber Monday was up 100%. 

Mediaweek spoke to Lou Barrett, managing director of national sales of News Corp, about the year that was and what her message to advertisers is for the year ahead.

In a year marked with economic uncertainty – that Barrett says meant sales teams “had to work that much harder” – 2022 has produced some stand-out moments for News Corp.

“D_Coded was enormously successful for us, that and our foray into commerce as a strategic pillar would probably be the highlights for me. 

“We bought 100% of Medium Rarecontent and commerce are where we’re really focused. It’s allowing us to have different discussions with our clients – important discussions, but different discussions.”

This year, D_Coded unveiled its new shoppable video product. Using new technology, the product allows consumers to purchase within video advertising – from beginning to end – without ever leaving the video itself.

“It’s a world first, no one else could do what we can do in that space,” says Barrett. “The briefs are flying in the door, which is great. The next iteration of D_Coded is going to see some great announcements around the evolution of all of that.”

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When asked how she went about selling a product that is so new and therefore clients aren’t familiar with, Barrett admits that “it’s actually a very easy sell, because it sells itself.”

The moment you demonstrate it to clients, the moment you show them what it can do, their eyes light up. They look at it and go, ‘Oh my God, I can actually sell from the video and I don’t have to take people off the page’. 

“That’s incredibly powerful, because you’re not taking people somewhere else, but you’re also using the client’s back end.”

One of the biggest assets News Corp has is the fact that it has found success across both digital and print platforms, something which Barrett says means that she can take clients “right through the funnel.”

“We’ve got this right to play in the upper funnel area with the print product, but then as you move down the funnel and you get into the commerce piece, you’ve got the right to play there as well. 

When you talk to News Corp, you get all of it together – we have a right to play everywhere, and we can do that job for our customers that we need to do.”

Looking ahead to 2023, macroeconomic headwinds are still going to be in play for almost every part of the economy – both here and overseas. Despite this, Barrett has one clear message to advertisers: don’t cut your budget.

The worst thing that advertisers could do now is cut their budget. Take a leaf out of the books of Harvey Norman, and look at what Katie Page does – when we were heading into tough times, she doubled down, and guess what? Her brand is stronger than anyone’s coming out of tough times.

“So often what you see with marketers is that they’re getting pressure put on them to cut their budgets. They’ve got to be strong and say, ‘No, I can’t cut my budget, because it’s going to affect my brand long term’.”

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