Submitted by: Tasneem Mahbub 19/05/2017
Tammy Willson, Sales Director for The Times and The Sunday Times, argues that people trust print newsbrands for their authoritative insight
When you consider how many data points people now have for getting news, trusted news sources are more relevant today than they have ever been. You can see how people value that from our print circulation for The Times, which is bucking the downward trend seen elsewhere in the newspaper market, and the way our online subscriptions have also grown.
We’ve found that it’s often around the time of the really big news stories that people come to trusted newsbrands. In the last nine months we’ve seen Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. These events saw a spike in our readership and audited circulation.
However, we’re not primarily about breaking news. We’re also about the authority, insight and analysis. People come to us just after the event to find out the different scenarios this big news story means for them, to consume all the different opinions on it and make their own judgement based on trusted professional journalism, rather than the myriad of untested sources vying for their attention.
The success of our online paywall means that we’ve been able to keep investing in journalism in both our print and digital editions rather than cut costs. We still have a very strong team of foreign and political correspondents who are out there doing the job, unearthing the stories that we otherwise wouldn’t hear about. This offers a very clear benefit to advertisers.
We do a lot of research about our readers and we know they come to us for that trusted environment. The danger with the way that some digital advertising is traded is that it’s random, so you don’t know where your ad might end up. As an advertising team we make sure that we curate the advertising that goes into each edition, whether in print or digital, working very hard with advertisers to ensure they’re in the right place in the right part of the newspaper or magazine, talking to people at the right point, rather than just allowing people to decide where they place the advertising. It’s important that we are the guardians of the advertising that has the privilege of sitting alongside the editorial that our journalists produce.
People often say that print newspapers make for an immersive experience, and that’s certainly true. But we are edition-led across all platforms, and that means people also read The Times from cover to cover on the mobile or tablet. They are spending a significant amount of time with the product in a number of different formats.
As regards advertising, with our print product, readers often say to us in focus groups that they view the advertising as part of the reading experience. We also carried out some neuroscience research, which found that when you look at how people consume the news on the page, they spend as much time looking at the adverts as they do the printed word.
We recently relaunched Luxx, our luxury high-end glossy magazine, as a four-times-a-year product, and we’ve found that within that environment, the advertising is as much a part of the product for the consumer as the advertising. And they have to fit together well for that experience to be at its best.