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    Lou Barrett: D_Coded all about creating better outcomes for News Australia clients

    News Corp Australia’s annual sales upfront event visits Sydney and Melbourne this week. Like most events in the past few years, it was hosted by News Australia’s managing director of client partnerships, Lou Barrett.

    Barrett’s skill in a progressively more complicated digital advertising world is focussing on keeping things simple for clients. After close to two hours of at times intricate detail about data and its benefits, Barrett finished the event with an offer to slash the ad rate for clients willing to take advantage of News Australia’s data capabilities.

    Barrett shared the stage with colleagues and special guests. Other speakers at this year’s D_Coded event:

    Managing Director Client Product Pippa Leary
    Director Commercial Data, Video and Product Paul Blackburn
    General Manager Digital Revenue Mark Brownie
    National Head of Digital Jess Gilby
    LiveRamp Senior Vice President Daniella Harkins
    Omnicom Media Group Australia Chief Investment Officer Kristiaan Kroon
    AdFixus Head of Sales Roland Irwin
    Journey Beyond Group Manager Digital & Loyalty Wade Stokes

    Mediaweek spoke to Lou Barrett about D_Coded 2024. She also spoke about the ad strategy and the state of the market.

    See also:
    News Corp D_Coded 2024: Shoppable ScrollX and Targeted Time in View
    News Corp D_Coded 2024: AI technologies added to Intent Connect
    News Corp D_Coded 2024: In-article News Shorts and LiveRamp’s Safe Haven agreement
    News Corp D_Coded 2024: Google PAIR and LiveRamp ATS Direct


    State of the market: ‘Unreadable’

    Barrett: “In my close to 40 years in this business this is the most volatile I have ever seen the market.” When asked about a potential recovery, Barrett replied: “The visibility we used to have we are not having anymore. I am seeing a stronger end to the financial year with June being positive. It is too tough to call it. It can change on a whim which makes it totally unreadable.”

    Even for those who are spending, Barrett noted they are being very cautious.

    Any prediction about H2 2024?

    When asked if any advertisers are saving some budget for the second half of the calendar year, Barrett replied: “I hope so. Interest rates being put on hold last week are a positive. Auction clearance rates have been strong too.

    “There is positivity in the market for June. What worries me about that is when you see a strong June, you often see a poor July. But there does in general seem more positivity about July to December 2024.

    “Normally a sales director could be able to track and monitor what is happening in the market, but it’s really hard to do that now.”

    Lou Barrett: D_Coded all about creating better outcomes for News Australia clients

    Lou Barrett and Pippa Leary

    Annual ad deals

    News Australia customers on annual deals are not abandoning them for short-term spends. But Barrett noted: “I’m hearing that is rife in television. That doesn’t surprise me as some were even doing that back when I was working in TV [at 10].”

    Would News Australia eventually sell airtime for Foxtel Group?

    Unlikely, according to Barrett. “We are separate companies, with separate corporate structures and shareholdings. Foxtel is a JV with News Corp (65%) and Telstra (35%). We do collaborate and support each other when it makes sense. Have a look at what we did around Hubbl, launching that together.”

    Plenty of people ask that question though. “It happens all the time,” she admitted.

    Sharing News Corp learnings

    Particularly during challenging markets, Barrett said there is plenty of sharing of ideas from different News Corp divisions around the globe.

    “From a sales perspective I talk to people in the US all the time. My counterpart in the UK is Dom Carter [group chief commercial Officer for News UK]. He and I talk all the time. Also to our global head of strategy Norm Johnson. He used to run Unruly. I also talk regularly with Josh Stinchcomb [global chief revenue officer at Dow Jones for Media and Marketing], my counterpart at The Wall Street Journal.

    “We all share market nuances together. Also similar things that impact us together. We try and share as much as we can. Having Norm Johnson in that global strategy role helps facilitate that.”

    D_Coded 2024: Kristiaan Kroon, Daniella Harkins, Pippa Leary, Wade Stokes, Roland Irwin

    D_Coded 2024

    Barrett said the message this year to News Corp Australia commercial partners is all about the way News identifies, targets and measures.

    “We have a very deep understanding of who our audience is and what they want. We are attempting, and doing it successfully, to create ways to connect those audiences with client’s messages. In a way that delivers them return on investment.

    “Our attribution data lets them accurately measure that return on investment for their ad spend.

    “The days of relying on old methods of audience targeting are behind us.

    “It demands a fresh approach from everyone. What News Corp is doing is leading the charge. We are not just reacting. What we are doing at D_Coded is showing clients signal gain so they have better insights, targeting, personalisation and measurement.

    “Intent Connect has been supercharged and that now offers advanced data collaboration capabilities around planning, booking and measurement.

    “What we are demonstrating is the ease of using what we have at Intent Connect for customers. It’s just so easy to use and clients will love it.”

    D_Coded 2024: News Australia’s Mark Brownie, Jess Gilby, and Paul Blackburn

    Another tool for marketers is Shoppable ScrollX. “It’s a full-screen mobile experience that allows customers to explore and buy products, seamlessly within editorial content. It works seamlessly with Intent Connect.”

    A product that has been enhanced is Targeted Time in View. “It was launched a few years ago. It elevates video and display advertising. Brands’ messages are placed in more relevant or highly trusted environments. It lets clients maximise their message impact.”

    Barrett said a key message to clients is that News Australia can target better than many other options available. “We can do things better than anyone else. Everything News is launching enhances our commitment to being a technology-agnostic partner. We are working with LiveRamp and AdFixus. We were one of the first publishers in the country to integrate Google PAIR into our customer match capabilities.”

    Barrett said News is going after advertisers who might be underweight with News Corp properties. “We have 5,000 customer segments now. A year ago we had 3,000. We keep building on that. We now have a level of precision that hasn’t been possible before. It makes News Corp hard to look past.”

    Restructuring the team

    “For the last eight years, I have kept refining the sales structure to ensure I keep up with the market. We have been continually making sure that capability and skills sit within frontline sales. We are always looking for ways to create better outcomes for our clients. I will keep on doing it and that’s where my focus is.”

    The post Lou Barrett: D_Coded all about creating better outcomes for News Australia clients appeared first on Mediaweek.

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