Taking D_Coded initiatives to market: Shoppable Video taking off


News Corp’s Lou Barrett on advertiser feedback from new sales products

In May 2022 News Corp Australia unveiled a series of new and potentially game-changing innovations at its annual D_Coded event, held in Sydney.

At the time Lou Barrett, managing director of national sales of News Corp (above), spoke to Mediaweek’s Alisha Buaya about what these innovations bring to brands and News Corp’s future in the digital space.

Just last week Mediaweek again caught up with Barrett who was just off the plane from New York after attending a News Corp global ad sales directors gathering.

Anybody who has worked with Barrett knows she sets a cracking pace and doesn’t waste a minute. That applied to her New York visit too. With a couple of hours available in her schedule she managed to squeeze in a visit to Adweek New York too.

In the US there are similar concerns about the future that marketers ponder here too. “Everyone’s talking about the macroeconomic headwinds,” Barrett told Mediaweek.

“It’s certainly not like 2008 when we went through a recession. Back then Australia was fairly isolated. We’re far less isolated these days and much more part of a global economy.”

As to the immediate market outlook, Barrett said: “I don’t want to say cautiously optimistic, but I’m always cautiously optimistic. The market is still very short ride. Interestingly, when the agencies are briefing their big partners for next year, they’re all talking about having fewer partners.”

news corp

D_Coded: Return on investment a key message

While News Corp’s D_Coded was earlier this year, many marketers have recently attended four FTA TV and one Foxtel Upfront events.

Barrett noted that not all of them were talking about customer return on investment or outcomes.

The big narrative that we’ve gone to market with is talking about effective outcomes. We’re talking about how we can deliver for you and how working with News Corp as you do right through the funnel, will get you an outcome and a return on your investment. I just don’t feel anyone’s talking that narrative other than us.

“It’s all very well to say, I’ve got all this great programming, and I’ve got all this wonderful product, but what about the returns?”

News Corp was also promoting its shoppable video and customer data platform opportunities among the news at D_Coded.

Speaking to customers about e-commerce solutions struck a chord, explained Barrett. “We have been inundated with people asking around shoppable video. I’ve got close to 100 customers in the pipeline for shoppable video.

Helping with the e-commerce solutions, explained Barrett, is the investment in Visual Domain, a deal that News Corp Australia revealed 12 months ago to take control of the video ad production company.

Without wanting to give away too much, Barrett explained that the results from their first shoppable video campaign with Chandon will be shared at D_Coded next year. “The results that we’re seeing have been phenomenal.”

Another milestone this year for News Corp as a group was customer data.

“Finally, we’ve got our act together with Foxtel and REA and, and that’s exciting and very much needed. Also content connect that we launched as well. Giving people the tools to have a look at audience consumption to help them inform their content strategies is really important and it has been extremely well received in the market.”

While shoppable video will become a popular offering, Barrett reminded us that print and print/digital packages are still key for many advertisers.

“The reason why is because it gives you the opportunity to take people through the sales funnel. At the top of funnel is the brand awareness piece that we can drive and do so well with in print and with digital. With the e-commerce shoppable piece you take them right through the funnel.”

Escape & Taste

Barrett noted how well print is working for travel advertisers at present with tourism back big time. “Customers get such good results out of things like Escape. When Michael Miller put Kerrie McCallum and Fiona Nilsson in to do the revamp it was very successful. What Kerrie has done with Escape is just awesome.

“Everyone was very appreciative that when the pandemic was on we put our arms around the travel industry and tried to help them as best we possibly could. We shared insights with them and talked to them about how we could help, in particular the cruising sector.”

Taste is another News Corp Australia success story and one again that has befitted from the brush of McCallum and Nilsson.

“Look at what we’ve done with extending the Taste brand onto other platforms. We are the largest food publisher on TikTok.”

Barrett explained how Taste had become the default place where Australians search for recipes because they are simple and tried and trusted. “One thing that was key to success there was continual innovation – we have never sat back and rested on our laurels.

“We keep coming to market with things that are innovative and customers love it, and they want to partner with us on it. They want to be the first partner. We’ve got some great customers who love to test and learn with us as well. That’s a relationship people have with us because they trust us.”

When talk turned to critical categories for the publisher, Barrett highlighted retail.

“Retail really relies on us in all its forms. So many of them are in the e-commerce space too now and we have a very solid offering for them.

“We are also doing some good work in the auto space. We are the only media owner who is on the electric vehicle council.”

In addition to Escape, Taste, the metro dailies and The Australian, Barrett also wanted to highlight how important Vogue Australia was to many of the publisher’s clients.

“People love that brand because you’ve got an editor-in-chief in Edwina McCann who understands implicitly the commercial side of the business and what clients want. She understands also what young women want and she is able to articulate that to customers.”

Barrett also made mention of the recent Vogue Fashion’s Night Out and the brand’s long-term relationship with naming rights partner American Express.

“They keep coming back because the partnership works and it is such a trusted brand.”

Vogue Australia

Vogue Australia

News Corp has been a long-term partner on the Boomtown initiative with Barrett confirming the commitment to regional Australia.

“More and more people are moving into regional Australia because they’ve realised they don’t have to be in cities anymore. The regional part of our business is extremely important.”

The pre-Christmas retail activity offers advertisers Black Friday/Cyber Monday packages. “When you talk to customers now they are starting their campaigns for this a lot earlier. It’s not just about the day or the week of those two days, they are introducing special offers much earlier. This will give us a really good indication of what Christmas is going to be like.”

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