The Atlantic of New Zealand? Bauer brings its current affairs titles together in new online hub, aims for quality over quantity

  • Media
  • November 18, 2016
  • Damien Venuto
The Atlantic of New Zealand? Bauer brings its current affairs titles together in new online hub, aims for quality over quantity

Bauer, a company long accused of clinging to its print legacy, has gone a long way to shaking off that tag over the past few years with the launch of its digital hubs strategy. And it has been in serious launch mode over the over the last few months with the release of new brands Nadia and Paperboy. Now the publisher has rounded out is offer and unveiled a new online current affairs content site, dubbed Noted, that features content from its Listener, North & South, Metro and Paperboy brands (as well as a couple of other external partners). And journalists (and readers) lamenting the ongoing quest for the low hanging fruit are sure to like what it stands for.   

In a similar vein to its other content hubs Food to Love and Homes to Love, Noted will bring together content produced through the Bauer portfolio in a single location.

The site will largely be powered by the teams behind NZ Listener, North & South, Metro and Paperboy, but Bauer has also signed content-sharing deals (for audio, video and feature stories) with RNZ and The New York Times.

The launch announcement also coincides with the appointment of Cathy O’Sullivan, who left her role as Auckland editor-in-chief at Fairfax to take the reins as the head of digital strategy at Noted.

The arrival of O’Sullivan is a significant appointment for Bauer. A respected news operator, she has worked in various editorial roles across both Fairfax and APN (now NZME) over the last decade, contributing to biggest news sites in the country.         

Other recent arrivals supporting O’Sullivan are digital editor Victoria Young, digital producers Fay Pearson and Ryan Holder, and audience development manager Michael James.

While O’Sullivan’s career has its foundations in breaking news, she says that Noted will not focus on being first.

“The breaking news aspect is covered really well elsewhere, but what we can do is go behind the headlines and provide a different perspective with more depth,” O’Sullivan says.

O’Sullivan says she was drawn to the initiative because it addresses the need for in-depth journalism in the local market.  

The problem, she says, is not a lack of quality current affairs journalism, but rather that it’s hidden behind the mass of content.

Websites such as Stuff and the NZ Herald publish mountains of content every day, which invariably leads to the gruntier pieces being drowned out and disappearing down the endlessly changing homepage (or, increasingly, the newsfeed). 

“There is definitely depth … [but with] so much so much breaking news going on, the depth and the great journalism is buried,” she says.

O’Sullivan says the aim of Noted will be to create a single online home for the in-depth pieces Bauer journalists already produce for the print publications.

The focus here is definitely on creating a more premium publication that users can come to for analysis after a story has broken.

As a matter of comparison, Noted is more akin to Slate, the Atlantic or Mic.com than the Washington Post or The New York Times. Noted might cover similar news-based topics, but it will offer something unique in terms of the voice and style of the writing.

The Spinoff is perhaps the closest example we have of this approach being applied in the local market so far. It’s a publication that rarely breaks news (after all, breaking news is expensive and, as we've seen in recent years, not anywhere near as profitable as it used to be), but always offers readers something that they can’t find elsewhere. The publication’s publisher Duncan Greive has assembled a team of talented writers adept at offering a fresh perspective on what’s happening in the country (or, when relevant, the world) and has grown a sizeable audience as a result. 

And speaking of writers, O’Sullivan will certainly be spoilt for choice, with the likes of Virginia Larson (who has been asking for a website for the North & South brand for many years, in part because North & South regularly breaks stories that get picked up elsewhere and it's not quite the same having content published on metro.co.nz), Pamela Stirling, Jeremy Hansen, Donna Chisholm and Rebecca Macfie. 

It’s still early days, but O’Sullivan is already thinking about the ways in which the team working at Bauer might be able to extend their current affairs prowess beyond writing into podcasting or video interviews as well. Of course, nothing is set in stone, but O’Sullivan makes the point that one of the major advantages of working with a smaller team is the speed at which things happen. 

“It’s really exciting for me coming from a big organisation and having a massive team to a small, nimble team,” says O’Sullivan. “If I think back on the times that I've enjoyed most [in my career], it’s been working in those smaller teams and rolling up my sleeves and just getting stuck in.”    

International guidance

Bauer head of digital Michael Fuyala says Bauer looked closely at the editorial and business models used at Atlantic Media and Mic.

Over the last ten years, Atlantic Media has shifted from being a print-dominated business to becoming an example of how a legacy publisher could adapt to stay relevant in the digital age.

Speaking at the FIPP World Congress event in Toronto in 2015, Atlantic Media chief operating officer Michael Finnegan pinpointed changes in operational structure as one of the core reasons behind the company’s turnaround.

“In 2005 almost all our revenue was print ad and circulation,” said Finnegan in the speech. “Then we made the decision to rush through new products, rather than save declining print products. We would let them decline gracefully and in a way that would protect the brand, but we made a heady push towards digital from 2007. We doubled down on events and introduced membership models to replace circulation.”

A key difference with Bauer’s strategy, however, is that it isn’t waiting for print numbers to “decline gracefully” and is instead looking for new print audiences by launching products such as Nadia and Paperboy.

However, like Atlantic Media, Bauer has also been investing heavily in digital. Over the last 18 months, Fuyala has had his hands full launching a number of digital products.

It started with FQ.co.nz in April last year, then came Food to Love and Homes to Love in May, followed by Women’s Weekly in November and now Noted has also been added to the mix. The old sites have already been switched off, and Bauer stopped offering paid-for digital subscriptions in the lead-up to this launch (as Paul Dykzeul, Bauer's CEO, said in his inimitable style in an earlier interview: “[The Listener paywall] was done very badly, incredibly poorly. It was a disaster. It just didn't work, and it was never going to work. That doesn't mean it won't ever work. But we basically got rid of it."). 

"It's not just the Atlantic.com but the broader group. They've launched a lot of really interesting products off the back of their premium content as well as a lot of digital-only products [like qz.com]. What we liked about them was they were a legacy or a heritage publisher that were also really innovating in the online space and they managed to get the best of both worlds.

Fuyala says Bauer’s digital portfolio already reaches over 1.3 million readers per month, and he expects Noted to give this a decent upward nudge—especially given these publications still command strong print circulation numbers. 

The Listener has a circulation of 47,500 copies, North & South is at 23,8000 and Metro sits further back at 7,500.

“In a year, these publications reach one in four New Zealanders in terms of cumulative readership, and two out of three of these readers sit in the top three socio-economic brackets, so we’ll so we'll definitely be looking to engage that audience and use it as a key selling point for advertisers,” says Fuyala.

The reason why the readers are sitting in the top socio-economic brackets has a lot to with their age, which skews to the older side. So an advantage of the online title lies in its potential to reach a younger audience in addition to the loyal, older readers.        

“This product is for enhancing the experience of existing readers and taking the content to an entirely new batch of readers and new generation,” says Fuyala.

“We'll be really looking for everyone from students all the way to retired people, and from urban to rural mindsets, because we’ve got a really broad content offering and diverse channels through which we can build those audiences.”

Fuyala says the aim is really to reach “curious New Zealanders” regardless of their age or location.

The strategic decision to target a broad spectrum of readers based on interest rather than arbitrary age brackets is line with the approach used by many of the most successful digital media companies.

Netflix vice president of product innovation Todd Yellin has told Warc that demographic data was not nearly as important as individual viewer interests, while Vice Media’s Hosi Simon has attributed much of the success of his organisation to the fact that young people are desperate for news.    

The point here is that just because young people aren’t buying Bauer's print titles week in and week out doesn’t mean that they’re not interested in hard-hitting news and well-written current affairs. 

And readers aren’t the only ones who Bauer is attracting to the new site. As whispers about the new publication spread across the troubled news media industry, Fuyala says numerous—some high profile—journalists expressed interest about being involved.

“The only thing we're scratching our heads about is what shape or form all those partnerships will take,” says Fuyala.   

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

The Psychology of Sound: Selling the sizzle
Sponsored content

The Psychology of Sound: Selling the sizzle

It’s one of our most sensitive senses - but also one capable of producing the most sweeping of emotional responses. So it goes without saying that for brands looking to strike a chord with audiences, the strategic use of audio is something not to be overlooked. But when you’re measuring something as nebulous as ‘emotion’, how does the marketer actually go about extending brand identity beyond the visual in a strategic way?

Ads of the Week: 25 June

  • TVC of the Week
  • June 25, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Ads of the Week: 25 June

A round of applause to Tower Insurance, Lotto NZ and AA Smartfuel.

Read more
Super Trial – The future of audience measurement
Sponsored content

Super Trial – The future of audience measurement

What a difference a decade and a half makes. With the announcement that Apple will shut down iTunes, its loved/loathed music platform, media commentators are doing something of a stocktake.

topics
Up-and-Comers
Up-and-Comers
We give the mic to the industry's future leaders to hear their thoughts on media, ...
Insight Creative
Insight Creative
Insight Creative specialises in shaping business stories out the core insights that often lie under ...
The Stoppies 2018
The Stoppies 2018
In February (Valentine's Day to be exact), StopPress gathered the industry for an evening of ...
Follow The Money
Follow The Money
Follow the money. It’s an axiom that journalists have believed in for years and a ...
Regional Rundown
Regional Rundown
StopPress takes a trip down the country to see who the audiences and agencies are ...
Beyond the Page 2018
Beyond the Page 2018
In conjunction with the MPA, the Beyond the Page series shows how some of the ...
Beneath the Surface
Beneath the Surface
In this series, brought to you by Microsoft, we talk to a conceptual photographer, illustrator ...
20/20 (tele)vision
20/20 (tele)vision
Media consumption is changing. But by how much?
The Hot List
The Hot List
Our rundown of the hottest shows, brands and creators in New Zealand media. 1. magazine ...
Cannes Lions 2017
Cannes Lions 2017
All the winners, the shortlists and the drama from this year's edition of advertising biggest ...
Merger Mania
Merger Mania
All our stories on the nation's two failed mergers in one place
Bauer Beyond the Page
Bauer Beyond the Page
When it comes to creating branded content, there are few better in the Kiwi market ...
The Indies
The Indies
Over the course of this series of articles, we look at how always-nimble indy agencies ...
AdRoll on automation
AdRoll on automation
Marketing automation is tipped to eventually become the only way advertising is traded in the ...
Game Changers
Game Changers
It’s all about PEOPLE. Join us as we discuss global insights, ideas and innovations from ...
TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2015
TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2015
Celebrating all the winners of the 2015 TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards.
Future Tense
Future Tense
In a new series, StopPress talks to a range of newsmakers currently trying to shine ...
Beyond the Page
Beyond the Page
In conjunction with the MPA, the Beyond the Page series shows how some of the ...
Up Country
Up Country
In conjunction with News Works, the Up Country series talks with some of New Zealand's ...
Sounding off
Sounding off
As part of a content partnership with MediaWorks, we've asked a few of the company's ...
StopPress Podcasts
StopPress Podcasts
We sit down for a chat with industry leaders to find out what they're up ...

The Spinoff launches NZ's first media membership programme

  • Media
  • June 25, 2019
  • StopPress Team
The Spinoff launches NZ's first media membership programme

The Spinoff has announced the launch of The Spinoff Members, a new venture for the company and a first for a New Zealand media brand.

Read more
The Radio Connection
features

The Radio Connection

What does voice technology, smart speakers, 5G and the connected car mean for audio and radio?

voices

Complicated is out, simple is in: Tower launches new campaign with BC&F Dentsu

  • Advertising
  • June 24, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Complicated is out, simple is in: Tower launches new campaign with BC&F Dentsu

Reading your insurance policy shouldn't be like reading another language filled with jargon, according to the latest campaign from Tower Insurance by BC&F Dentsu.

Read more

Little Giant rebrands to Isobar NZ

  • Advertising
  • June 24, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Little Giant rebrands to Isobar NZ
Aaron Turk, Stevie Mayhew, Ian Howard, Danica Paki, Matt Van Tiel

Little Giant has today become Isobar New Zealand, completing its transition into the global agency network.

Read more

Lotto launches latest 'Imagine' instalment with DDB

  • Advertising
  • June 24, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Lotto launches latest 'Imagine' instalment with DDB

Lotto New Zealand has released 'Lost', the fourth instalment of its 'Imagine' series with DDB. The series began in 2015 with 'Pirate Ship' and was followed by 'Mum's Wish' in 2016 and the award-winning 'Armoured Truck' last year.

Read more

Winning the Rising Star Award was the culmination of four years of mistakes

  • Voices
  • June 24, 2019
  • Katia Ducker
Winning the Rising Star Award was the culmination of four years of mistakes

It probably seems weird to publish a piece titled like this after such a successful Beacons recently, but I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the last four years. Some of them were unavoidable (but taught me a lesson), some should have been avoided. Almost without exception, these happen because of rushing, or lack of process. Hopefully, this article will help you to avoid making the same mistakes – and remind me to repeat them a little less often too.

Read more

Cannes Lions 2019: Colenso BBDO ends festival with three Bronze

  • Awards
  • June 24, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Cannes Lions 2019: Colenso BBDO ends festival with three Bronze

This year, local agencies have been seeing Bronze at Cannes and that trend continued over the weekend as Colenso BBDO took home three Bronze Lions.

Read more

Cannes Lions 2019: Clemenger BBDO scores Bronze

  • Advertising
  • June 21, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Cannes Lions 2019: Clemenger BBDO scores Bronze

Clemenger BBDO has taken home a Bronze Lion overnight at Cannes.

Read more

Mystery solved: Hnry and FCB behind 'Lost Receipt' campaign

  • Advertising
  • June 21, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Mystery solved: Hnry and FCB behind 'Lost Receipt' campaign

Tax and payment services company Hnry has revealed itself to be the company behind 'The Lost Receipt' campaign, which has popped up on billboards, radio ads and Instagram posts in the last week.

Read more

Movings/Shakings: 21 June

  • Movings/Shakings, brought to you by Marsden Inch
  • June 21, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Movings/Shakings: 21 June

Industry happenings at MBM, Socialites and Scroll Media.

Read more

Radio Awards 2019: ZM and Mike Hosking celebrate success

  • Awards
  • June 21, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Radio Awards 2019: ZM and Mike Hosking celebrate success

Last night, New Zealand’s radio talent stepped out from behind the microphones for the 2019 NZ Radio Awards. The big winners on the night were ZM, judged the Station of the Year – Network, and Mike Hosking, of Newstalk ZB, who once again took home the Best Talk Presenter – Breakfast or Drive.

Read more
Smart speakers and radio – the perfect combination
features

Smart speakers and radio – the perfect combination

At the start of radio week, it is pertinent to ask, “what opportunities for radio are there in the context of how other industries are embracing voice to create new opportunities for customers and clients?”

Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About

StopPress provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2019 ICG Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise

Contact Vernene Medcalf at +64 21 628 200 to advertise in StopPress.

View Media Kit