Rupert Murdoch’s News UK has joined the Telegraph Media Group and Trinity Mirror in talks aimed at finding a solution to the problem of declining advertising revenue, according to the Financial Times.
Senior Fleet Street executives are said to be exploring the idea of a single advertising sales operation that could see the news rivals join together to offer advertising package options across all titles, the paper has revealed.
The move comes off the back off a sharp national press digital display advertising revenues over the last year.
A single advertising sales team would potentially make it easier for agencies to buy display advertising space as they would not have to negotiate multiple deals with publishers. Those in favour argue it would help newspapers compete with broadcasters and digital media companies.
“We will always fight each other at the newsstands and for the best stories,” Simon Fox, chief executive of Trinity Mirror, told the FT. “But in the background there are many ways we can come together to present a more powerful voice to the advertising industry.”
David Dinsmore, chief operating officer for News UK, added: “No stone should be left unturned to find solutions to the problems that afflict our industry.
“We would be derelict in our duty if we didn’t try to make it work.”
While there may be legal and regulatory scrutiny of any attempt to form a single newspaper advertising operation, advertisers seem to welcome the idea.
Steve Goodman, managing director of print trading for WPP owned agency groups, told the FT: “Potentially this could be a valuable way forward for both sides.
“If the newspapers are able to come together and offer attractive packages across all titles that would give us an advantage over buying it piecemeal then we would be very interested.”
A white paper by Juniper Research has shown that global digital advertising spend is set to double by 2020, rising to an excess of $285bn from an estimated $160bn this year.
It is thought the boost will be driven by mobile consumer engagement and that, despite the rise of ad blockers, better audience targeting will drive higher click through rates that will increase publisher revenues.
Research author Sam Barker said: “Publishers, such as Facebook, are utilising their unprecedented audience knowledge to offer advertisers highly accurate targeting, thereby increasing the click through rates that advertisers are witnessing now.”