Rival media organisations need to unite to overcome common industry challenges, according to News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller.
In a speech to the Melbourne Press Club on Tuesday, Mr Miller, who is also the chairman of NewsMediaWorks, said that news media organisations needed to “actively and publicly support each other” to create a better media environment.
“By definition, the media industry is competitive. That is healthy. The race for the scoop is the adrenalin that drives a newsroom and news organisation. But here and now we need co-operation and competition.
“Old demarcation lines should be redrawn. Not just for publishers, but for television and radio.
“The future of journalism will be determined by those who work together, work smarter, put their customers first and continue to invest in the craft that is of the utmost importance to this country – journalism.”
Mr Miller used the New Zealand media market as an example of co-operative media, demonstrated through the establishment of KPEX. The Kiwi Premium Advertising Exchange is a joint venture between New Zealand publishers, which offers advertisers programmatic space across a
multitude of titles and audiences. The decision slowed Facebook and Google’s growth in the country
Data collection and revenue building was another key aspect. With the plethora of data available to editors, Mr Miller said that while “gut instinct was once all you needed to know”, content should now be driven by more informed decisions based on numbers and audience knowledge.
“We need to operate smarter by making better use of the data. The power of data is what is propelling Google and Facebook to our detriment,” he said.
Quality content leads to subscriptions. Using News Corp Australia masthead, The Australian, as an example, Mr Miller demonstrated that the hard digital subscription model used at the paper helped to drive readers. Subscription revenue now eclipses that of advertising.
He also said that more pressure needed to be put on the Australian government to approve legislation which would strengthen media in the long term. If these laws do not pass, Mr Miller fears the loss of cross-platform news media in areas such as the Northern Territory.
“We need to be our own champions and change the conversation about the value, and the contribution, of the media in this country and its communities. This is what sets us apart, this is our differentiator.
“Our ability to tell unique local stories, to cover local councils, to report on courts, to give a voice to those who are so often without one,” he said
Media reform has been debated in the parliament since May this year, with the Nick Xenophon team and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation yet to make key decisions on the legislation.
Mr Miller also renewed calls for the protection of copyright law.
For more news from NewsMediaWorks, click here.