The news media sector faces a big challenge and so do the news brands of De Persgroep. Associations with newspapers are: old-fashioned, totally not sexy, expensive, and often not suitable for out-of-the-box advertising.

The market focuses extremely on reach and costs, and doesn’t realise that newspapers are no longer just made of paper. They have grown into news brands, feeding people with news 24/7, cross device on desktop, mobile, tablet, and of course paper. The digital reach is enormous, but for years we have been way too modest in telling the world this.

So, time to change this and time to reposition our news brands.

Attention is what all marketers are looking for. And it’s damn hard to find, and hold on to. When people consume “their” news brand, that’s all they’re doing. They aren’t checking their phone or driving to work. Reading the news is one of the few things that we still literally sit down and really take our time for.

Because we consciously choose, and pay for, a news brand that we love. That’s the power of news media for advertising: the power of undivided attention. In news media, and especially ours, advertising gets the attention it deserves.

Advertisers use all sorts of media to get the attention of the consumer, usually those screaming the loudest about their enormous reach. But there is another much more important factor to consider, which is often forgotten: attention.

Because, let’s face it: without attention, reach is useless. Brands pay a fortune to advertise on TV during the World Cup finals. And why? That’s your money literally down the drain. Because break time is the ideal moment for a toilet break, to grab a drink, or take the dog for a walk.

Campaign: We started a marketing campaign to reposition ourselves as a company with news brands that matter — that make a difference in the lives of our readers and advertisers. Our advertising agency created a campaign with a humorous undertone to grab the attention of our target audience. Our own news brands, trade media, PR, radio, internal activation, and our own account managers were used to grab the attention of our target audience.

Target audience: Decision makers of top 250 advertisers, media- and advertising agencies in the Netherlands. Because that’s where the big bucks are. Many of them read (our) news media.  

Three goals and our results:

Goal: Control revenue loss in 2014 at max -5%. It might not sound very ambitious to some, but trust me: it is. Our competitors are at -12 and -14%.

Result: No revenue loss: advertising targets were met for the first time in 15 years.

Goal: Double the amount of creative partnerships from 2% to 4% of total revenue. For example with Nespresso and BMW; these partnerships often include cross device branded content. It shows that advertisers experience us as a flexible, creative partner in advertising.

Result: Creative partnerships were tripled from 2% to 6% of total advertising revenue.

Goal: Increase appreciation that advertisers and media agencies have for us in the Netherlands’ most popular, yearly ranking. Jump 10 spots from No. 33 to No. 23 in 2014.

Result: We jumped 22 spots in popular appreciation ranking, from spot 33 to 11.

We’ve only just begun! It’s not easy to change perception and that takes time. We made an important first step, but we need to keep doing what we’re doing. We need research to scientifically show how attention works, so we’ve collaborated with an independent research company. Together with them we are now building an attention knowledge center!