With last week’s announcement that Jane Hastings would take on the newly created chief executive role, APN centralised control of its offering across its publishing, radio and digital properties. And now, in continuing this trend of cross-channel collaboration, APN has launched an initiative called Collaborative Media Solutions (CMS), which will provide media agnostic advertising services to clients across the available platforms.
A release from APN says that the rationale underpinning the integration of CMS is “to provide major national and agency clients with a seamless group-wide solution.”
“No-one knows our audiences like we do. We create content that informs and entertains people every day. This new entity will enable clients to generate innovative and effective content ideas that solve business problems across the right media channels via a single contact,” says Hastings.
According to Hastings, APN, TRN and GrabOne will continue to operate their existing sales, planning and marketing teams in addition to this joint initiative.
APN says that its media assets deliver an unduplicated reach of 3.15 million Kiwis, while GrabOne also holds a client database of 1.5 million users. And with the emergence of this initiative, APN hopes to give advertisers access to all those eyes and ears via its platforms.
Prior to the emergence of CMS, APN’s various media properties existed in siloes, acting discretely and rarely collaborating to offer multi-channel—or omni-channel—advertising options to clients.
Although the relatively recent inclusion of a ‘Daily Deal’ sidebar dedicated to GrabOne specials on the Herald website indicated that APN was shifting toward a more integrated approach, there was no structure or team in place to manage a collaborative effort across the business.
This lacuna has now been filled with the appointment of Nina Bialostocki, who will from 1 June take on the role of general manager of CMS.
The move sees Bialostocki end her three-year tenure as the director of Oxygen Media Group, and she brings over 20 years of media management experience with her, having previously served as the general manager of media at Ogilvy (for six years), as a media director at Singleton Ogilvy & Mather (for seven years) and as a media director at Walkers Advertising (for six years).
Bialostocki says that the evolution of the industry means that media owners can no longer speak to “customers or potential customers through isolated mediums” and adds “the approach must be integrated”.
“The opportunities available through working cleverly across the APN group are huge particularly when you look at the high profile talent TRN has on offer as an example. When you combine this talent with our creative teams and layer that across the different mediums on offer, the possibilities are huge. I’m thrilled to be leading this initiative,” she says.
Given that TRN has recently invested significantly in a new studio capable of live-streaming content, its role in CMS will likely extend beyond radio to include video elements as well.
It is also significant that earlier this year the Herald appointed Paul Lewis as the director of editorial innovation, a position in which he is required to incorporate and manage native advertising on APN’s publications.
During the Content Marketing Conference held in Auckland in April, Lewis spoke about how the Herald had already started working with several clients to provide advertising on the website, in print and within newspaper inserts.
During his speech, he drew a line between advertorials and native advertising, saying that the former rarely inspires the reader to engage with the content.
“If it’s sitting on the Herald website, it has to be content that readers would engage with anyway. It has to be content that interests them, informs them, compels them to read, and compels them to return … The cleverest use [of content marketing]is not to push your products or services. It’s to support your brand through clever and credible content,” he says.
At the Herald, content-production has thus far been placed in the hands of the editorial team, and the material produced has largely been limited to the written from.
But through the CMS initiative, APN has now created a means by which branded content can be delivered on radio, in print, on YouTube and via live streams. However, in order for this approach to work, the in-house talent available at both TRN and at APN’s publications will be required to produce branded content that doesn’t alienate the audience.