Time Inc’s vice president EMEA Rupert Turnbull tells M&M Global why he believes brands are returning to a conversation about context.
Content is everywhere; it is the buzzword at the heart of discussions around global media. With the right levels of investment, views and impressions can be secured on platforms like Facebook and YouTube. But is that enough to make an impact with consumers?
Traditional publishers are hopeful that the winds of change are set to drive advertisers away from an addiction to big numbers and towards a recognition of the importance of context.
That is the key message being shared by Rupert Turnbull, vice president EMEA of Time Inc and president of the World Media Group. Speaking to M&M Global at the launch of this year’s World Media Awards, Turnbull argues that a context of original journalism can help advertisers to improve reader engagement and preference.
“In a world where content is commoditised, where there are a lot of players in the market aggregating content from others, [the World Media Group] is a group in which every single one of the brands creates original journalism on an hourly basis. That is the differentiator,” says Turnbull.
“As content becomes commoditised, it becomes packaged up in terms of impressions. And the focus, rightly, has been on the capabilities of targeting. There’s just huge interest and money flowing into the players and media owners who can best target and use data to do that.
“Until recently, there has been very little sign of a return to a conversation about context. But context for us is incredibly important in articulating the value of original journalism,” he adds.
The World Media Group – whose members include The Washington Post, Quartz, National Geographic and The Economist – has partnered with measurement firm Moat to begin to prove that there is an “uptick” in engagement when ads are seen within the context of original, “quality” content.
Turnbull, who earlier this year succeeded The Economist’s chief revenue officer Nicolas Sennegon as president of the publisher group, is keen to use to migration towards brand content as a means of raising awareness of the unique benefits of collaborating with international publishers.
Acknowledging the “significant” investment made by the World Media Group’s members in content creation studios, he says it is vital that marketers become aware of the advantages of entering into deeper partnerships with publishers.
“Quality is in the eye of the beholder, but I think when you look down the list of the brands in the alliance, it is hard to argue that, individually, they don’t produce quality content,” says Turnbull.
“That’s the one thing I don’t think media owners have done particularly well to date: giving the advertiser the tools”
“In a world where the buzzword of the day is native, we are the masters of storytelling, so why would you not work with us to tell the stories of your brand? Every single one of us has invested significant money in creating specialist units and people and social listening tools, and that is because there is a demand.
“That is a trend we want to continue to capitalise on, and that is part of the World Media Group’s job to continually remind people, ‘We are the storytellers’,” he says.
Making life easier
Turnbull is also determined to push World Media Group members to make life “easier” for advertising partners, to help stem the “enormous flow” of advertising dollars towards platforms such as Facebook and Google.
The media industry can only win back share from those digital giants by replicating the advertiser experience, he argues: “The one thing we know about Facebook is that, even if you’ve got £1000-worth spend on an advertising campaign, you as an individual can go and create an audience. They make it very easy to spend money with them.
“That’s the one thing I don’t think media owners have done particularly well to date: giving the advertiser the tools. That should be recognised. That is something we’re working on at Time Inc, and I know others are working on.
“We have everything else. We all have fantastic data, we’ve got great context, we’re the masters of storytelling. What we haven’t done is made it easy for advertisers to access that. That’s the biggest next challenge for our industry,” says Turnbull.
World Media Awards
Earlier this week, the World Media Group announced the return of the World Media Awards (WMAs) for a second year, with M&M Global joining as official partner.
Established to reward effectiveness of “cross-platform, cross-border, content-driven advertising”, Turnbull insists that the awards are “completely independent” and not limited to entries which involve the World Media Group’s brands.
“We were delighted, and it proved the point that we filled an important gap in the market”
“We were really pleased last year, in a crowded awards space, there was concern that we wouldn’t get the breadth, depth and quality that we actually did get. We were delighted, and it proved the point that we filled an important gap in the market,” he says.
“The work across the board was excellent, and I know the judges found it difficult to pick the winners. We just want more this year, like everyone.”