WeThinkMedia at five: Peter Wiltshire on portfolio and growth potential


Key to success for indie sales agency was collection of premium media assets and having a great head of sales

Five years ago, not long after he stepped down from his role as chief revenue officer at Nine Entertainment Co, Peter Wiltshire founded WeThinkMedia.

He dabbled in a number of things concurrently including consulting and investing. One of the companies he was consulting for, MediaWorks in New Zealand, asked if he would be interested in growing their revenue out of Australia.

“That was the seed that launched WeThinkMedia. I felt I knew the space as well as anyone,” Wiltshire told Mediaweek.


Peter Wiltshire

To help him launch the sales agency he called on a former colleague, Jane Stucci, who was with SCA for two decades in a number of roles including group sales director and national television sales director.

“The two of us had a cup of coffee in Sydney and before you know it we started a business on April 12, 2017.”

Stucci, WeThinkMedia’s head of sales, noted to Mediaweek she’d worked with Wiltshire at what was Southern Cross Broadcasting and stayed on after he departed. “I get lost amongst all the name changes over the years during the different iterations. We worked together in sales for a number of years.”

Jane Stucci

Both worked across several divisions at Southern Cross including TV, radio and developing digital assets. “From both our perspectives the skill base we both had couldn’t have been a better fit. I’d been consulting for Mediaworks for six months and I knew the business inside out and it was all very familiar territory to me.

“For someone to take control of the sales and lead the business where it needed to go, Jane came from a background that couldn’t have been a bit fit either. She had FTA TV, radio and digital in her remit at Southern Cross.”

WeThinkMedia portfolio

After initially launching with the MediaWorks representation, WeThinkMedia quickly built a portfolio of international news brands it also represents.

“New Zealand remains a large portion of what we do, including the QMS New Zealand assets that now sit inside the Mediaworks business. In addition, Mediaworks also continues to have a very large television asset and a very large radio asset.

“Over a period we felt very privileged to have been approached by some of the world’s biggest premium media publishers to look after their interests in Australia. That now forms a distinct division which we label international premium publishers which sits aside from the New Zealand business.”

Stucci explained the publishing division: “We monetise their substantial Australian and New Zealand local audiences. There is also an opportunity with the global reach they all have and the partnership we have with them is against the full remit of their inventory from digital to podcasting to events. The publishers all have very high net worth audiences and all have slightly different unique selling points. In market we can articulate each of them in a slightly different way.”

When it comes to advertisers using those assets, she explained it was largely programmatically driven. “We also speak to specific clients including banks, government, tourism and luxury brands. None of the international groups are looking to compete with local publishers as what they offer is a different and complementary audience. Much of the business is client direct, or at least the starting conversations often are.”

The most active publisher in this market in terms of having a presence is The New York Times which has a busy bureau in Australia and has also licensed its T Magazine to a local publisher.

New Zealand marketplace

Wiltshire noted the market in New Zealand was very much like Australia with a little less competition in each of the media verticals. “For example, while in radio in Australia you have multiple players in the sector, New Zealand has one or two less. Similar in television and out-of-home. Culturally and politically, there are differences, but they are not huge.

“One thing that stands out in media that is distinctly different, is the public ownership of the main TV operation TVNZ. While it is government-funded, it operates as a commercially driven organisation with advertising. That changes the competitive nature of the market.

“The mandate for TVNZ is not to be overly profitable but to make a small margin and reinvest in the business. That is the climate MediaWorks is competing in with TV3 and it is quite a financial beast it is up against.”

Wiltshire said the expansion of Discovery into New Zealand with the acquisition of the MediaWorks assets and merging them with the STV channels and streaming platform changed the landscape.

How WeThinkMedia might grow

Regarding ambition for the future, Wiltshire noted there are limited opportunities for them to get a little bit bigger. “In New Zealand, we are not actively pursuing [an obvious] growth opportunity, but I think the parties know that we would like it if it was available.

We have a team of four people who when they wake up every day all they think about is New Zealand. With that dedicated focus, we think we are well versed in the interest out of Australia in New Zealand. We want to make it well known that in Australia WeThinkMedia is the one-stop-shop for New Zealand.

“Internationally there are some territories we could open up to.” Wiltshire mentioned areas where they could be more active include the US, Asia and the UK. “Then depending on how Jane feels about it, do we think about some form of domestic representation for media here that might look to outsource their sales efforts?”

Both Wiltshire and Stucci are looking forward to markets opening post covid. Wiltshire mentions three Covid lockdowns they have endured. “The original bit deeply for many. We are a relatively linear business when it comes to ad revenue as our business is a direct reflection of that activity. We then also survived the second Covid and had a nice bounce-back in the last quarter of calendar 2021. But then because of the unknown nature of the activity in the New Zealand market, with the Government stalling on the reopening and keeping the borders closed, the first quarter of 2022 has been really tough.

“There is now a significant resurgence coming through June and July and we expect that to continue as the world reopens.”

Both WeThinkMedia executives will be on the ground in New Zealand this month now that it is open. Wiltshire has also talked about making the bigger trip to visit all their partners sooner rather than later.

A final thought from the company founder: “I am fiercely proud that WeThinkMedia is a private business that has turned five which is an achievement for any small business. Full credit to Jane for driving the business as hard as she has over that period and for managing the team as well as she has.”

Track the growth of WeThinkMedia in its first five years here.

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