Last week, Mediaweek announced its Mediaweek 100 Power List at the Mediaweek 100 Power Lunch live event at the Crown Sydney. Over the next few months, Mediaweek will be talking to members of the list and some of the most influential people in the media industry.
This week, Mediaweek caught up with #4 on the Mediaweek 100, Michael Miller, the executive chairman of News Corp Australia.
Miller first joined News Corp in 1992 and has held various roles ever since, with the exception of just over two years running APN News & Media from May 2013.
When asked about his placement at #4 on the Mediaweek 100, Miller said that he appreciated the recognition for the work that News Corp has done.
“It’s always good to be recognised by the industry – we have far more in common than what we don’t. The top 100 is a celebration of an industry where placement is a bit subjective, but I am passionate about our industry and about our country. Lists like this make our industry stronger, which makes the impact we have on our country stronger.”
When asked what has gone into the success of News Corp, Miller said that it begins with strong leadership across the company.
“Leadership has been the key. In the news game, not just breaking the news, but breaking it first. There is a mix in the curation of having journalism with impact, as well as providing people with the key information to make their lives and the nation better. The third component is understanding communities and understanding audiences. We are a company that is prepared to push boundaries and are determined to get it done, but at the same time, be principled and purposeful.”
News Corp’s Editorial Content
Miller said the core of News Corp’s business first and foremost is its content, with its impact being felt deeply through reporting such as its sports coverage – covering events like the appointment and then resignation of the Essendon Football Club president, through to local initiatives like the Daily Telegraph‘s Bush Summit.
One of the company’s biggest accomplishments this year was having the largest team outside of host broadcaster Seven in covering the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, as well as News Corp’s comprehensive coverage of the Queen’s passing. Miller says this is a benchmark of how you can apply the principles of print journalism in a digital environment.
Miller also said that News Corp looks after communities through its content – whether it be with its coverage of the floods at the start of the year, helping readers with the cost of living, or even The Teacher’s Pet podcast which recently helped pass Lynn’s Law.
“I can’t do them all justice because there’s a lot that I could talk about. There is a long list of examples of how we brightly shine on triumphs and things that inspire people, and speak for those without a voice. We do that better than anyone else around the country.”
Miller said that commercially, News Corp has also been able to launch a series of new brands in the last 12 months – including new hyperlocal brands in regional areas.
“We launched The OZ which is a new section of The Australian, digitally. We also launched the Code Sports digital platform and Kommunity TV which has been a great success. We launched some new podcast franchises, as well as The War video series that The Daily Telegraph did about the gangs of Western Sydney.
“We continue to experiment with new channels. Our audience is growing as much offline as it is online, and part of that is utilising TikTok faster than others. We have franchises such as The List 250 – the most successful list publication The Australian has done is done in the past year has been the 100 Green Power List. We’ve also launched seven YouTube channels in the past year.”
News Corp is the biggest digital content factory in the country, and Miller said that this reflects how much ground company truly covers.
“The federal election was a pretty important one. We’ve seen some power shifts in terms of seats that reflects the changing demographics. We have also run our second Indigenous Sports Month. I could continue, but what I am trying to show is that we’re a broad church. The work that Vogue has done has been great, and news.com.au is clearly the biggest news brand in the country. It is well read and well visited every day – the official figure is 14 million people per month.”
News Corp’s Digital Revolution
In May of this year, News Corp announced a series of digital innovations at its annual D_Coded event. These included allowing advertisers to target brand messages to individual customers anonymously, whether or not they are logged in, and Shoppable Video Advertising. In a complementary announcement, the company also revealed a new Customer Data Platform which will be among Australia’s biggest, providing advertisers with unprecedented, privacy-safe insights from across News Corp Australia, including Foxtel Group and REA Group.
• News Corp national sales MD Lou Barrett discusses game-changing innovations at D_Coded
• News Corp Australia’s D_Coded announces innovations in consumer targeting
• News Corp Australia’s D_Coded unveils Shoppable Video Advertising
Miller said that these innovations show consumers that News Corp is no longer just a print publisher.
“The CDP we have built with Foxtel and the REA Group, the content connect insights tool, the shoppable video, the 100% acquisitions of Medium Rare, the investment in Visual Domain, and the acquisition of Storyation added greater capabilities. Also, the native stories suite which we announced at D_Coded last year and the increased investment we’re making in videos – particularly with targeted time in view as a new product – add to those capabilities as well.
“We also have a lot of new data partnerships such as the one with MasterCard. What we’re doing digitally is under the leadership of Pippa Leary, commercialised by Lou Barrett, and built by Julian Delaney – it’s a great team that is ensuring that our reputation amongst our clients is that we’re no longer a print publisher, but we’re a digital news media company.”
The Trust Economy
When asked about the importance of News Corp to the community at a time of debate around information and disinformation, Miller said that it is all about the trust economy.
“The expectation over the past two years is that you need to trust the brands that you work with from a social perspective and from an environmental perspective. These are expectations from both employees and the public, that you’re a good corporate citizen. This expectation has never been higher. We are in the challenging position of sometimes having to cover uncomfortable topics in a balanced but also diverse manner, while at the same time supporting the many communities that we represent. Trusted news, leading news brands, and trusted journalism are more important now than ever during this time of disinformation and questionable behaviours.”
The future of News Corp
With the year almost over, when asked about what 2023 and beyond holds for News Corp, Miller said the plan is to stay the course.
“We have a plan which we presented at D_Coded, quarterly results will come up in a few weeks time in early November. The June 30 results show the company is performing very well. We have a plan and the plan is working. That is the continual growth of our digital audiences and the facilitation of various products – which, commercially, allows clients to reach large numbers of Australians in an engaged manner in a trusted environment.”