Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s News UK, says the company must learn from Google and Facebook if it is to compete for the attentions of advertisers.
In one of her first interviews since returning to the publisher of The Sun and the Times after the News of the World phone hacking scandal in 2011, Brooks told UK trade magazine Campaign that the company needs to be more sophisticated to unlock revenue.
“Advertisers want a much deeper engagement with their media partners now than ever before,” she said. “We’re competing with some impressive competitors — Facebook and Google — in terms of how they sell their advertising to clients, so we’ve taken a leaf out of their book. We need a more holistic approach.”
Campaign has previously reported on News UK renaming its commercial division The Bridge as part of plans to get its advertising sales team working more closely with data, insight, measurement, and its creative content division.
Advertising revenues at UK newspapers The Sun and The Times were down 7% last year, according to News Corp’s 2015 annual report, and chief financial officer Bedi Singh said on a conference call that improving the performance of the former title is a “key focus”.
Brooks has removed The Sun’s online paywall and relaunched the website since she rejoined the company. Furthermore, she told Campaign that News Corp’s £220 million ($286 million) acquisition of radio company Wireless Group last week will help provide advertisers with a “cross-platform sell”.
Wireless owns TalkSport, a UK national sports radio station, which has a very similar audience to The Sun. It also has broadcasting rights to The Premier League, which The Sun trades off through revenue generators including fantasy football game, Dream Team and Sun Bets.