NewsMediaWorks CEO Peter Miller on the future of news media

Miller sat down with Mediaweek after just two weeks in the job

Filling the shoes of Mark Hollands at NewsMediaWorks was always going to be a challenge. However, the member publishers of the trade organisation seem to have found the right candidate in Peter Miller.

A veteran of the print media and digital sectors, Miller started just earlier this month at the new home of NewsMediaWorks inside News Corp Australia.

Sitting down with Mediaweek at the end of only week two in the job, Miller responded to a question whether the veteran of print media sales and marketing roles at News Corp, ACP Magazines, Fairfax and Pacific Magazines had returned to the sector to save the industry.

“This is not a rescue mission,” Miller told Mediaweek.

“The news media these days is both traditional media and new channels. I have spent my last 13 years in digital transformation and that process is well under way in the news media sector.

“My job is to have a stake in every organisation’s success and profit. It might be a high wire act, but it is exciting. They are all dynamic big businesses with a lot of creativity, much like the agency world I have been inhabiting.

“I am very commercially orientated and NewsMediaWorks is about driving commercial messages. We have some great people at [member publishers] News, Fairfax and The West and we are mapping out a plan for the future.”

Miller said when he has been visiting both News Corp and Fairfax offices it has felt like a homecoming. “I have been greeted by people I know in both offices.”

Some of the buzzwords being used by Miller in his new role are reach, trust, relevance, cross-media performance, credibility and integrity.

He noted it was too early to have detail about the future course of NewsMediaWorks, but Miller did say: “I will be hitting the accelerator on a few things. Part of my role is to find new opportunities for publishers, finding areas where publishers can be aligned. There is recognition the news media industry has a common foe and common opportunity.

“While both publisher CEOs Michael Miller and Greg Hywood are fiercely competitive they both face big challenges.”

Miller has good relationships with many of the people now running media agencies from his days running ad sales operations. When asked if media agencies had beat up too much on traditional news media brands, he said: “Some people think perhaps our message to agencies hasn’t been loud enough. I will investigate if that is right. I can certainly turn up the volume if that is required.

“I will be asking lots of questions. Our job is to start conversations with advertisers. There are a lot of eyeballs being chased by automation and we need to explain how news media is the safe haven from doubt and risk. We are the rolled gold choice [for advertisers] and it is our job to make sure people understand that. It is our job to make sure that people realise the value we offer.

“For me to have a credible contribution to make I have to understand what is the Fairfax narrative, what is the News Corp narrative and what is The West Australian narrative. I need to make sure I am not cutting across any of those, but adding value to them.”

The 2017 NewsMediaWorks INFORM News Media Summit on September 6 will feature an expanded CEO panel.

This is an excerpt of the full article, which appears in the latest issue of Mediaweek magazine. 

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