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Upfronts and an unkind seagull
Welcome to Best of the Week, written on Saturday morning in brisk Evandale, Tasmania.
Today: The indies get the spotlight; Are Media (re)embraces magazines and Google is everywhere.
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Publishers talk trust, but does it matter?
Tim Burrowes writes:
That was a big week, involving a lot of people on a lot of stages. And also a bird pooping on my head during a breakfast meeting. That’s life in the big smoke.
My Sydney trip kicked off with 119 minutes of total boredom and 60 seconds of high engagement. Yes, I went to a high school graduation ceremony. Unless it’s your loved one on stage, it’s hard to get invested.
The IAB’s MeasureUp conference also returned, dedicated to all things audience related. One of my most intriguing takeouts was the work Google has been doing around the behavioural economics of consumers’ online purchase choices.
And this week marked peak Upfronts season. YouTube offered Brandcast, the Digital Publishers Alliance put the spotlight on more than 20 of its members; Pinterest ran its own upfronts (although I didn’t make the guest list for that one) and on Friday, Are Media waved the flag for women’s magazines.
As we covered yesterday, the biggest event of the week was YouTube’s Brandcast.
I gather Brandcast created some ripples among the TV networks, not least because of the onscreen claims about the marketing effectiveness and declining audiences of linear TV. We may hear more about that in the coming days.
Indeed, the influence of Google was everywhere. As well as Brandcast and the IAB conference, Google News Initiative was one of the two major sponsors for the Digital Publishers Alliance’s Independents Day, held at The Grounds of Alexandria.
DPA was initially funded by both the Google News Initiative and the Facebook Journalism Project. Take it as one more sign of Facebook’s declining interest in journalism that it was nowhere to be seen on the day. Instead, Canva has come on board alongside Google as a DPA financial supporter.
One of the themes covered by several of the media brands during their six minute pitches was audience trust.
The trust factor may be overstated. It’s often taken as a given that audiences trust the publications they read. But how is that measured, and what is the tangible effect for advertisers, I wonder. Not least when many publications inadequately disclose commercial arrangements. I wonder whether everyone is as trusted as they believe.
Meanwhile, Mark Ritson argued in the The Australian this week that trust is a poor proxy for brand health anyway. Despite the likes of Optus and Facebook faring badly on Roy Morgan Research’s trust surveys, business was fine.
At yesterday’s Are Media event Ignite, the word trust was bandied around too. When every publisher leans into trust as an attribute, it ceases to be a point of difference.
Are Media’s event yesterday wasn’t what I was expecting. I’d been anticipating that the main story would be of a former magazine company transforming itself into an ecommerce and social commerce business. That’s been the narrative since private equity firm Mercury Capital bought the business from Bauer Media
Instead, the story was a magazines-first one. It was about print as a luxury product, and the connections readers have with individual mastheads. We were hearing mainly from a publishing business, not a commerce company.
Much of it was around rational, but late, moves. Australian Women’s Weekly once again has its own website, escaping the Now To Love consolidated content platform which was always a terrible strategy.
But most notably, it felt like Are Media, the last big magazine player left standing, is finally embracing its medium rather than trying to escape it.
Unmade Index flips upward
Seja Al Zaidi writes:
The Unmade Index followed world markets upwards yesterday, rising rose 0.7% to end the week at 623.8 points.
Seven had a good day, rising 4.84%, while Domain scored a 3.66% increase in share price. Enero also performed well, lifting 6.31% while the Craig Hutchison-led Sports Entertainment Group climbed up by 8.11% taking it back above a $50 market cap.
The only two stragglers were Ooh Media - falling 1.07% - and Nine, dropping 0.99%.
Campaign of The Week: Get Almost, Almost Anything
In each edition of BOTW, our friends at Little Black Book Online highlight their most interesting advertising campaign of the week.
LBB’s ANZ reporter Casey Martin writes:
“As the Uber Eats lead agency, Special Group continues to have its finger right on the pulse. This time around, the team have created two narrative spots that follow actors Tom Felton and Nicola Coughlan as their Uber Eats orders turn into pure chaos in their everyday lives. The various spots and OOH displays showcase the brand’s dry sense of humour and gets the "get almost, almost anything" message across effectively.”
In case you missed it this week:
On Tuesday Seja Al Zaidi explored the subscription streaming battleground in our members-only Tuesdata anaysis. There may be some unlikely winners
On Wednesday we explored marketing to small businesses and asked why it so rarely hits the mark
On Thursday we examined the native advertising scene:
On Friday we reported from YouTube’s Brandcast pitch for advertisers to shift their budgets away from television:
Time to leave you to your Saturday.
If you’re intrigued by the buzz around retail media, check out the program for next month’s REmade conference. It’s designed both for those already inside the space, and those trying to understand it.
And if you’re already working in retail media, don’t forget to enter The REmade Awards, our celebration of the best work in this new discipline. The first entry deadline is just a week away now.
And we’ll be back on Monday with Start the Week.
Have a great weekend. Toodlepip…
Publisher - Unmade