APN regionals to offer personalised digital editions

APN News and Media’s Australian Regional Media will publish personalised editions using digital print laser technology for the first time on an ongoing basis.

ARM launched the advertising solution, Brand Extra, last night at a function at Pier One in Sydney, to a room full of advertisers.

Published as an insert, Brand Extra will allow companies to target audiences more specifically through personalised editorial and advertising content.

Brand Extra will be available across all of ARM’s titles, depending on what areas the client wants to target.

Bespoke editions of newspapers have been discussed for many years, said editorial director of ARM Bryce Johns, but were not feasible because of cost or availability of technology.

“It’s sort of nirvana for print journalism to give consumers exactly what they want in their letterboxes, but it’s always been very difficult because of technology,” he said.

However, as a regional publisher with smaller circulation sizes, Mr Johns believes it is easier for ARM to accomplish this.

“It’s good, in some ways, that we are a regional publisher with sizes of circulations in the thousands and not the tens or hundreds of thousands, and it means that we’ve found ways to make this thing work,” he said.

“Print continues to be fantastically well-read and supported, and financially it’s still one of the major contributors to all of the newspaper companies’ bottom lines,” he said.

Mr Johns said personalised content was easy to achieve online. “But we think the technology and our understanding of things now is such that we can deliver it to print, so it’s just a matter of things catching up.”

ARM has had two trial runs with this technology, partnering with Flight Centre to create the Daily Mercury Travel Extra with personalised travel research for readers, and also with the Warwick Daily News.

An example of ARM's Brand Extra custom newspaper, produced in partnership with Flight Centre.

An example of ARM’s Brand Extra custom newspaper, produced in partnership with Flight Centre.

To create these papers, the team sits down with clients, discusses their aims, and examines the data between them.

Each copy comes with the reader’s name on the front cover, along with targeted adverts and unique codes for competitions.

“We’re at the stage now where we could put different ads for different people, and it’s understanding how important it is for a client to have different copy for each paper,” said Mr Johns.

The delivery of these papers is done through traditional methods. For the Warwick Daily News, the paper was delivered by the team that regularly delivers the paper.

However, the process took longer than normal, said Mr Johns. “We took an hour longer because you have to make sure you’re putting the right paper in the right letterbox, and bundling them in the right order for people, so that was a learning experience for us,” he said.

The next step for ARM is furthering this personalised technology to specifically target readers with the stories they want to read.

“The next challenge is working out how you can personalise something – can I get a paper with a whole lot of British football because I’m not interested in rugby league?” said Mr Johns.

“We could do a whole bunch of stuff for anyone, but it’s got to be stuff that people are prepared to pay for, so there’s got to be some reward for the sort of investment for us.”

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