Traditional industry measurement tools are not evolving fast enough for The Times and Sunday Times’ cross-platform business model, according to the newspapers’ head of strategy Dylan Wyn Pugh.
The News UK-owned newspapers, which were the first to adopt a paywall strategy in 2010, have rapidly evolved their smartphone and tablet propositions, but in doing so have outpaced existing measurement methods.
“Traditional industry measurement tools very effectively measure readership within print, but we are now four platforms, and they certainly don’t have the expertise to measure mobile or tablet.
“The reason we had to seek PwC to measure our reach is because the traditional industry tools aren’t evolving quick enough for our business model which is expanding fast and which is an edition-led sell across all platforms,” he told The Drum.
Wyn Pugh believes The Times and Sunday Times’ proposition is becoming “increasingly complex”, as it continues to launch on new platforms, which in turn increases its competitor set and makes effective digital measurement paramount.
Traditionally media owners try to sell “everything to everyone”, and to the clients that spend the most today, but this isn’t necessarily the most sustainable option, according to Wyn Pugh.
“The people who buy the most aren’t necessarily the ones who can spend more in the future, and they may not want to change the way they behave, as they may be a direct-response client or a grocer so will have a very formulaic way of doing things,” he said.
As a result it is focusing on segmenting its 8,000-strong customer base with the view to better understanding and meeting the bespoke needs of a particular client.
“Our key challenge is how to sell our whole audience [330,000 subscribers] on any one given day. We need to segment them [advertisers] based on their behaviour, and identify the leaders for growth then spend your time targeting them, rather than the 8,000 clients we have across News UK.
“So our customer segmentation looks at everything from their platform behaviour to their booking and brand behaviour and we layer in Neilson market data,” he said.
As part of its ongoing strategy to provide “premium” advertising across its portfolio, the publisher is focusing on “enriched ad formats”, not just on tablet and digital platforms but also in print, which remains its “bread and butter”, according to Wyn Pugh. It is currently looking at ways to evolve its coverage of London Fashion Week, to provide a more rich content and advertising experience.
His comments coincide with the launch of Sunday Times’ Style magazine's first fashion-season special edition (pictured) since its relaunch in March this year. The new edition, which features four different front covers, and the highest pagination and print display revenue in several years, launched yesterday (15 September) for London Fashion Week.
News International was rebranded to News UK this summer after the split between News Corp and 20th Century Fox.