News & Opinion

Shift 2013 live blog

Live coverage of Shift 2013 by Alistair Owen and Hayley Sivner, planners at digital agency Dare.  


Well, that's it from us. We hope we've given you a flavour of Shift 2013. The full presentations from this morning will be available on the website.

Thanks, Alistair and Hayley.


David Pattison, chairman of Newsworks rounds off what has been a hugely interesting day. He reflects on the decades of investment that have gone into making newsbrands the instantly recognisable brands they are today. There are challenges in the future as part of that transition from newspaper to newsbrand but he remains hopeful that a very exciting future lies ahead.


With the Mail Online, a UK product, successfully launching in the US, Lord Rothermere says at the heart of global success is testing and learning from experimenting with new ways to engage with consumers, rather than worrying about the competitor set.


Amidst an industry that is constantly changing, the rate of change continues to grow exponentially, and Lord Rothermere earmarks perceptive media - being able to serve up the most prescient messages to consumers at the right time -as a key opportunity. Building presumption and context together is the holy grail. 


Turning attentions to Twitter, he describes the relationship as "frenemies" with the fact that the Mail Online is the most shared site on Facebook evidencing this co-dependence 


On the matter of paywalls, Lord Rothermere affirms that there are no plans to monetise the Daily Mail site, with global growth ambitions as they head to take on the likes of Yahoo News. Meanwhile, exploring opportunities for a   "freemium" model isn't outruled, but he confesses this is dependant on the right, premium content.


With content changing according the medium it's in, Lord Rothermere stresses the importance of iterative development, being flexible to adapting the audience want to be taken.

Timeliness is at the heart if this iteration- citing that Daily Mail journalists aim to turn around Twitter stories in an astonishing 3 minutes.


The biggest change facing the industry? For Lord Rothermere, it's undeniably the growth of tablet and mobile - it is the sense of innovation running through the industry which makes it such an exciting place to be.


Hayley here and now it's time to talk paywalls, mobile, monetising – as Newsworks’ CEO Rufus Olins and The Daily Mail and General Trust Chairman, Lord Rothermere to discuss the hottest topics of the moment.


To wrap up, one word answers. Print or Screen: Who Cares? A mixture of answers, I count 2 yes, 2 no, and a "depends".


Vanessa suggests a preoccupation with monetising the measurement of audiences could be detracting from real progress in how to measure those audiences, particularly in regards to newsbrand audiences.


Jon points out that newsbrands have their own objectives and is there greater opportunity for newsbrands and the commercial world to work together to achieve both parties goals and see this as more of a 2-way relationship? Simeon feels that in some respects the commercial world is innovating much faster than their editorial counterparts.


Jan reflects that CMOs have wider responsibilities across the business than 10 years ago and with greater responsibilities they have come to know the people behind newsbrands less. Liz suggests newsbrands could get closer to clients.


Broad consensus amongst the panel on the need to take a holistic view of communications channels and select the most appropriate ones based on the desired audience behaviour rather than the features of the format.


Angela reflects Liz's point that it's vitally important we talk to customers in the right place, in the right way. What you might want to say to a customer outside a Tesco Metro versus in their Sunday papers is obviously very different.


Jon asks the single most important challenge to each of the speakers businesses? Vanessa things out that quite simply the audience aren't where they used to be and we need to learn how to tracquiches audiences quickly. A similar theme for Liz, how do you ensure you're communicating with your audience in the right way? For Jan, the widespread perception amongst consumers that the odds are always rigged in favour of the business in the financial services sector.


Alistair here, I'll be trying to keep up as our speakers take to the stage to begin their debate. Jon O'Donnell from the Evening Standard will be moderating.


No conference would be complete without a good argument. Next up we’ve got five speakers taking to the stage, Simeon Adams¸Partner at Goodstuff, Vanessa Clifford, Client Services and Strategy Director at Newsworks, Liz Fagan, Marketing Director at Boots UK, Jan Gooding, Global Marketing Director at Aviva, and Angela Porter, Head of Food Advertising at Tesco. They’re be debating the impact of the internet and social networking on news content in Print of Screen: Who Cares?


Excitingly, Joanna is now revealing the first look at Guardian Witness - a new platform to link up journalists working on ongoing stories, alongside readers to cocreate stories like never before. This appears to be a significant extension of the Guardian's approach to open journalism to allow editorially driven, crowd-sourced stories to come to light. 


Sometimes one person doesn't have the "big story" but the collected influence of social conversation can help shift the perception of a nation. Joanna takes us through one journalist's tale of investigating the economic fallout in Greece, harnessing the medium of Twitter. Opening up to the crowd a Twitter plea for stories about hardship and self sustainance, was met with swathes of responses from locals at the heart of community initatives. A level of response described as "like putting your fingers in a socket and feeling the energy surge".

Whilst it goes without saying that not everyone is on Twitter, as a journalistic tool, it is an extraordinary asset: offering a two way collabaration to tell stories that would never have otherwise been told.


Journalists are critical in applying a filter of truth and authority; Joanna shares the increasing focus on photo and video verification techniques that Guardian journalists are applying to aid the authenticity of stories sourced through social.


Joanna Geary affirms that social media plays an integral role in not just promoting journalists' work, but in fundamentally changing how they "do" journalism.

But how do we really know what is news vs. hearsay?

The Vauxhall helicopter crash is used as an example where one individual's tweet and photo of the moment of the crash, sparked a flurry of journalists reaching out to him as the source of their own, national news.


A sign of the significance of Twitter's role of a distribution network for news is revealed through research which shows that of a panel of journalists questioned, all of them agreed that Twitter was effective in promoting their work.


Lyse Doucet of the BBC sums this up simply that "There is no question, if you're not on Facebook and Twitter, you're not getting the full story". A powerful support for the case that contemporary journalism is both fuelled by and distributed through social presences.

Daisley candidly admits that whilst Twitter can spectate, capture a moment, it doesn't do the investigation - supporting that Twitter and traditional journalism need to work hand in hand to tell the most compelling stories.


Bruce kicks off with the perspective that Twitter is the shortest distance between you and what interests you most. Tellingly the default setting for twitter is consumption - it is increasingly becoming a source for discovering and digesting news


With Twitter becoming the go-to destination for breaking news stories, should Newsbrands be worried? Far from stealing newspapers’ crowns, newspaper content is firmly at the heart of and fuelling these social conversations. Twitter’s UK Director Bruce Daisley and The Guardian’s social & communities editor, Joanna Geary are now here on stage to talk more about this beautiful relationship.


Hayley back now and after a quick refreshment pit stop, the crowd are tearing away from their chatter and filing back into the room, excited to hear the rest of the day's sessions.


Tony now gives us a brief insight into the sheer volume of content a definitive piece of news requires. In this case the death of Margaret Thatcher which drove 3.5 million visitors to the website to read over 75 multimedia articles.

To quote Charles Darwin, it's not the strongest who survive, it's the most willing to change.


Digital has given the Newsbrands the ability to use content they wouldn't have been able to before. The Telegraph realised they cone ore than enough content to fill an evening paper and with an e-edition they have the opportunity to publish it in the evening. Interestingly though, this content often doesn't make it into the next morning's paper, so this isn't just journalism rolled out early.


Date is increasingly driving business decisions at The Telegraph. They now have data on how individual journalists are performing and how engaged readers are with their work, even to the extent of being able to track how far into an article a reader has progressed. 


Tony, talks about this being a new era in media. Premier league football is used as an example of the proliferation of content over the last decade or so. 25% of the  digital traffic on football games comes from live blogs, a long way from twisting for the backpages on a Sunday.

Increasingly engagement with Newsbrands readers is in real time, and most interestingly readers are increasingly having a conversations with each other in a way that simply wasn't possible previously. Nowadays a benchmark of 3000 comments is considered indicative of a popular and well writtpiece of of journalism.


Alistair back. It's appropriate we're discussing multi-platform as a power issue forces us to switch devices! Fingers crossed there isn't to much of an interruption in service.

Legend has it that editors of national newspapers never sleep. Which is just as well as Tony Gallagher, editor of The Daily Telegraph is about to take us through 24 hours in the life of... an explanation of the journey news content takes, to arrive in our morning papers, laptops and mobile screens.


Summising how brands can start to think about practical applications for harnessing cultural clout, Gibbons leaves us 5 core questions to think about

What are the cultural ideals my brand should support?

What stories does my brand have to tell to support these ideals?

In media where do these cultural stories exist?

Which media have the most cultural clout?

Are there ways of working with newsbrands to leveage to the cultural story?


If you want stimulate thought, open up a brand, have something provocative to debate, Newsbrands are integral to cherry picking cultural issues of the day and exploding them out. 


Cultural clout has great potential as an economic leveller for brands - it isn't about how big you are, it's about how interesting and relevant you are to consumers.


A well trodden, and accepted path is that the medium and the message are intertwined. But in an age of increasing fragmentation, Newsbrands are becoming a much more dominant force as "cultural intermediaries" due to their trust and authority. 

So in turn, advertising prospers when it is surrounding by cultural meaning. 


A common source of energy for marketing is the role of culture in consumer decision making.

Showcasing the latest thinking from the world of academia - Gibbons sets up the central tenant of the study which is that purchasing is driven by culture: people buy in order to fit in with cultural ideals. 

But the question remains: if we buy the idea that purchasing is driven by a need to fit in with cultural ideals - how do we start to actively steer that?

Gibbons posits that cultural texts impact decision making. Cultural texts live in everything from trends to celebrities; referring back to the stories tell about themselves.


Following on from Simon's Fox's candid reflections on Trinity Mirror, Hayley here to take you through the next session

In an era of increasingly fragmented media, could Newsbrands offer the most compelling way to truly impact the culture of the nation? Justin Gibbons joins us on stage, to share the first look at the latest study from Media School at Bournemouth University and Work Research which suggests so...


E-Editions are a means of increasing incremental reach, and thus incremental reach of their advertising. Nearly half of readers have clicked an ad on an e-edition app. Infact mobile usage accounts for nearly 25% of their digital traffic.

Simon is quick to point out though, that there are no right answers. Newsbrands need to be prepared to change and in doing so will be able to continue to offer value for advertisers.


We need to tackle inefficiencies in ad booking to make the process more streamlined and efficient. To address that Trinity Mirror now offer national advertising packages that run across multiple local papers and online. We also need better and more robust language to describe our audience figures. To get on top of the data they're putting forward an industry standard to track readership across print and online.


Simon begins with a magic trick as he illustrates how the predictions of the death of newspapers are premature. I can't give you the full picture but it involved ripping up a newspaper only to magically put it back together. The advantage of Newsbrands, Simon argues, is that they have differentiated audiences, beyond almost any other form of media, and crucially, an unmatched level of insight of those audiences.


Simon Fox, CEO of Trinity Mirror and former Chief Executive of HMV is next up. He’ll be taking us through his First reflections on the newspaper industry.


Alistair here. Next we have Rufus Olins, CEO of Newsworks who takes to the stage to give us a brief welcome to the day ahead. Why call the conference "Shift"? Well, because it represents the shift in perspective we need to take in an increasingly digital world. Print might be in decline, but that's only the platform. The content is as in demand as ever. Hence the shift from Newspaper to Newsbrands, as the personality of the paper begins to evolve beyond the physical print.


"What newspapers provide, people will always want" - David Mitchell discussing the enduring qualities of newsbrands amidst a shifting media landscape.


"I wake up every morning to about 100 tweets, talking about what I've written", Gordon Smart discussing in the video about the impact of social media on modern day newsbrands.


"For opinions, for elaboration, for theory, for exploration - there is no better place to find than in a newspaper", one of the video's contributors, Mariella Frostrup.


Showcasing the belief that the British press is arguably the best in the world, Lloyd now shows the crowd a video montage entitled "No news is bad news".


A self confessed news addict, Lloyd urges the crowd to "Never make assumptions until you have the full information".


Founder and editor-in-chief of QI, and probably best known for producing Blackadder, Not The Nine O’Clock News and Spitting Image, who better than the inimitable John Lloyd to kick start proceedings here today. 


Good morning from Shift 2013, the first-ever Newsworks conference!

We’re currently sat amongst the great and the good of the newsbrand industry in the imposing surroundings of the British Library. Audience members are taking their seats and we’ll be kicking off shortly as speakers gathered from a range of disciplines take us through their thinking on newsbrands in 2013. Over the next few hours Alistair and myself, Hayley, will be taking it in turns and updating this blog every few minutes to give you a flavour of each of the talks. 

Alistair Owen

Alistair is a planner at Dare, where he helps a range of clients find strategically interesting ideas that can inform everything from positionings, to TV ads and mobile apps. Prior to joining Dare, Alistair began his career at creative shop Newhaven, where he worked on some of Scotland’s most famous brands.

Hayley Sivner

Hayley is a planner at Dare, working with a range of clients, including Diageo, BMW, Gocompare and Sainsbury's to create creative and effective campaigns that connect with consumers. Prior to joining Dare in 2010, she was a playwright at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.


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