APN NZ ups its digital focus

APN New Zealand Media has launched a digital business development team to boost digital expertise within its advertising sales teams.

The team, which kicked off earlier this month, is headed by former OMD digital business director Michael Te Young alongside Rogan Polkinghorne, who has been promoted from senior account manager at APN to digital business development manager.

APN NZ agency sales director Donna Gurney explained the new team was part of an effort to inject versatility in multimedia across the agency sales team – so rather than specialising in print or digital, every account manager will be skilled across both.

“We really saw a gap in our resources,” she said.

“We were very good at working across particular client portfolios with digital expertise and we’ve got really strong digital products, but we just lacked that real strategic overview of agency digital revenue.

“We’re moving from a model where we’ve had digital and print specialists across our account management team to be more media generalists, and so our digital development team will make sure we’ve got the senior strategic digital expertise to work across the agency team.”

Training and development of account managers is a big part of the role of  Mr Te Young and Mr Polkinghorne, she said, as well as “assisting with responses to briefs to make sure we’ve got the right digital solutions, and working with our digital product team to make sure we’ve got the right digital products on the market.”

While Mr Te Young is on a six month contract, Ms Gurney confirmed the development team is a long term strategy. “Michael’s a great talent and was only available for a short time, so we grabbed him,” Ms Gurney said.

Native, data and programmatic were all in APN’s sights, she said, with video a “high priority”.

One of APN’s latest video developments is In-Read video ads, introduced to the New Zealand Herald website in May. Unlike conventional pre-roll videos, In-Read ads don’t need to be connected to video content and can play any length of video, from a 30-second TV commercial to a movie trailer.

“For us, in-read was really about extending the inventory we had,” Ms Gurney said. “Prior to that, video advertising inventory was mostly around pre-roll, which is quite restrictive in terms of the length – 15 seconds only.

“In-Read allows us to open up to that longer, more engaging piece of video content.”

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