News Native Network & Custom Match: Julian Delany at News Corp’s Come Together

• Content update – TV recaps, AFL and NRL all hot, cricket coverage plans unfolding

At the recent News Corp Australia Come Together event in Melbourne, media and Sky News Business spoke to a number of executives from the publisher.

During the interview with the managing director of News Digital Networks Australia (News DNA), Julian Delany spoke about two initiatives and then gave us some detail on audience trends.

Tell us about News Native Network.

We have had a native product at News DNA for some years and it has evolved over time. The big change we have announced is that we are able to amplify the content we have been doing for all these years and amplify it across the entire News Corp network.

That makes us a premium native network like no other in the country. It has taken us a while to get there but we are finally there. It is a great initiative and the work that has gone on behind the scenes to get it there has been significant.

What is the audience response to native?

We test it pre, and post and during as well. We are testing it using our analytics tools to make sure the content will work not just for consumers, but it has to work for our advertising partners as well. We are testing it before it goes live and then when it goes live we are tweaking the content just like we would be in any digital newsroom we have at DNA. We use the building blocks of making the content work from a newsroom into the commercial world.

We test post because we want people to come back and spend with us again in a native environment. If we are able to go back and say we wrote this content for you, using what you wanted, and it worked, let’s do it again – it makes it an even more powerful proposition.

Is there any reluctance from audiences to click on native content?

When you are thinking about trying to entice someone to engage with the content, the sell of that content is super important.

There isn’t a reluctance to click on the content. People are more aware of the content because it is sold in a different way to a consumer. Sometimes the topics are not in the news cycle of the day, which can make it a little bit more difficult.

Because we have a guaranteed impression model we are committed to delivering on those impressions.

You also have an initiative called Custom Match.

This enables a client to directly place and match customers they are aware of in our environment on our network at News DNA. You might have heard us talk about the glass box of data. We are very open about how we are getting that data and then showing it back to our commercial partners.

Customer Match gives a client an opportunity to find a customer they can see, but on our network. That is not happening much anywhere else and we have done a lot of work to bring it to life.

Should people have concerns about the data that publishers collect?

Yes, you should have concerns about your privacy and your data. It is up to a publisher and a client that they are adhering to appropriate privacy regulations. News Corp certainly does and it is very important.

Is the trouble Facebook has got itself into having any impact in the market – particularly here in Australia?

It is still early days on that. This type of thing will take some time for you to be able to see some change – I don’t think we have yet. It has certainly got lots of people talking.

We are more concerned about how people interact with our content on our platform – that is what we can control. Everything you have heard us talk about today is more focused on our platform than anyone else’s.

What does your new partnership with Ticketek mean for advertisers?

Any partnership in data gives us strength not just in numbers but the quality of the data as well. The quality of the data is very solid and we can integrate it into News Connect. That is just as important as the reach of any data partnership we have.

During the Come Together presentations the company has told advertisers about news, sport, food, prestige. What are the content hot spots you have seen across the digital network this year?

TV recaps on continue to be ferociously consumed and they do very well. We can’t be just about getting an audience for reach purposes. We are also trying to drive subscriptions on our metropolitan mastheads and on The Australian.

Our content has to represent value for customers – to someone who is willing to pay money to us for a subscription is very important.

The other surprising traffic driver for us was the Commonwealth Games. I understand they did very well on television ratings-wise and they really did well online for us as well. There was a wide breadth of content and the Aussies doing well doesn’t hurt.

It only takes one moment in a day for the Commonwealth Games to actually do very well.

And don’t forget our AFL coverage in the Herald Sun and the NRL coverage in The Daily Telegraph. I take my hat off to the newsrooms for how well they cover that. AFL and NRL dominate in winter.

We are still understanding about what we will be able to do with cricket across all our digital properties. It will be a great opportunity for us and we are looking forward to understanding what we can do with it in our digital publishing groups.

Top photo: News Corp Australia’s managing director of digital revenue Cameron King and Julian Delany at Come Together

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