News UK vies to break ‘artificial divide’ between platforms with identical ad approach for print and tablet

News UK is allowing advertisers to create a single piece of ad copy that is then replicated in size and position across both print and tablet editions of the Times and The Sunday Times as it looks to bolster advertising revenues from its subscription-based online offering.

The “Access One” proposition is touted as a “single point of access” to print and tablet readers of both broadsheets by the publisher, which is looking for alternatives to mass reach to sell its online ad space. It stems from News UK’s refusal to deviate from its pay-wall strategy, while many of its rivals explore freemium models, in the belief that audience value not mass online reach is key to unlocking publishing revenues.

In replicating how print ads appear on tablets, the publisher is offering additional reach to print advertisers while also sharpening the audience propositions for each platform. Paul Hayes, managing director for News UK’s commercial arm, described these benefits as “moving beyond the artificial divide between different readership platforms” and instead “looking at editions and the audiences that they can deliver”.

“In addition, The Times and The Sunday Times seven day tablet app is the most downloaded quality news title in the market and we believe that every print advertiser should benefit from being able to reach this premium tablet audience in a single purchase. The incremental audience that this proposition delivers is going to add significant value for our advertisers,” he added.

The statement is given credence by the publisher’s neuroscience study, which found that not only are tablet editions of its newspapers read in the same way as their print counterparts, but that memory encoding for editorial and advertising is almost identical on each channel.

“Digital news products and websites have an average of 5-10 minutes dwell time, our curated print and tablet editions deliver longer as well as deeper engagement metrics,” Hayes added.

News UK’s hopes for bigger and more integrated advertising between its print and tablet titles were stoked by the latest subscription figures for its two broadsheets, highlighting the growing number of people willing to pay for its content.

As reported last week, membership of The Times and The Sunday Times is at 401,000 customers taking out a subscription to print and/or digital packages, a 22,000 jump on the previous year.

News UK’s director of strategy Abba Newbery is speaking at The Drum’s Media Slap on April 23rd.

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Seb Joseph

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