Following on from murmurings in the marcomms rumour mill—and a merging of the print and digital editorial teams last year—APN New Zealand has confirmed it's also combined the different marketing teams across print and digital and hired a new chief marketing officer.
This news comes only a few short months after APN announced the restructuring of editorial teams in its content business, resulting in the loss of eight jobs.
Kursten Shalfoon, previously the business development director at APN, and prior to that, the general manager of consumer marketing at Vodafone, will lead a combined marketing team which includes product, digital, circulation, brand, comms and business development.
Updated 12:40pm: Shalfoon says there will be no job losses as a result of the restructuring.
He says the new structure is designed to streamline and consolidate APN's marketing across digital and online, gearing it towards its stable of news and lifestyle brands, including the NZ Herald, and recently launched foodhub.co.nz.
"The Herald online was started initially as a separate entity, when we moved into digital it had a different audience. Now is the right time to say as a brand we need to consolidate. As one brand experience, just on different channels to market," says Shalfoon.
"This is quite a big step for the business, we've always been at the forefront of these things. There's been buy in from right across the company."
New management roles have been created to oversee the restructured marketing team, including a general manager of brand and communications, taken up by the previous marketing manager for APN online, Sarah Kenny. It's thought the architect of these changes, chief operating officer Todd McLeay, actually disestablished his own position in the restructure. And trade marketing manager Stephanie Gray has left to take up a role as marketing manager for Hewlett Packard.
Elsewhere in APN land, New Zealand’s most popular virtual sports tipping site, Jimungo.com, has been integrated into NZ Herald Digital. The move enables New Zealanders to play their favourite sports-based games with easy access to relevant editorial content including match updates, reviews and news.
As well as virtual games, Kiwis can now play the new NZ Herald Fantasy Super Rugby at nzherald.co.nz/sport-games, which allows game players to pick their dream teams and earn points based on the performances of the Super Rugby players.
For advertisers, APN says the change presents a great opportunity to reach a highly engaged, passionate, male-skewed audience within a quality, respected environment.
“By combining the popular Jimungo games, with the new, engaging fantasy games alongside NZ Herald content, we’re providing advertisers with a highly-targeted, sports audience," says Spencer Bailey, general manager of APN Digital.
As part of NZ Herald, advertisers can have their brands appear on the new platform through run of site and run of sport activity, as well as various targeting across games.
Currently Virtual & Fantasy Super Rugby, Virtual Basketball and Virtual English Premier League are available at nzherald.co.nz/sport-games. Virtual & Fantasy NRL kick off in early February and more games are scheduled throughout the year.
APN shares have lost 63 percent of their value in the past year, it announced in August that another 100 jobs were likely to be cut on top of "the 400 eliminated in the past three years" and, after what Australasian chief executive Brett Chenoweth called a tough first half of the year for the New Zealand publishing business, it wrote its Kiwi assets down by almost A$500 million, leaving the carrying value of intangible assets in New Zealand at $200 million.