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Publishers unite in fight against digital giants

As traditional commercial mediums struggle to compete against the detailed data sets of Facebook and Google, a new media alliance between two publishers and a free-to-air TV network has emerged to fight back.

Fairfax Media, News Corp Australia and Nine Entertainment have entered into the newly created anonymised digital identity co-operative. The co-op will give the publishers the benefit of enhanced data through the sharing of anonymous customer information, appealing to marketers as mediums with scale.

The three member organisations will share anonymous subscriber data, focused on the devices used to access the companies’ sites. To ensure the market remains competitive and the privacy of subscribers, no information regarding demographics (age, gender, and so on) will be shared.

“Collaboration between publishers aimed at providing advertisers the opportunity to move beyond cookies and target identities just makes sense” said News Corp Australia chief digital officer Nicole Sheffield.

“As Australian content creators, it’s incumbent on us more than ever to ensure our audiences, data, content, and now identity, are being properly harnessed for marketers by Australians.”

Google and Facebook have long had a monopoly on the audience data, farming information from their extensive number of users.

While the digital giants have impressive scale, the unsafe online environments make brand safety an important issue – an important point of difference for traditional mediums.

“Fairfax is pleased to be supporting this initiative, which we believe will streamline the way marketers can leverage a depth of quality data from content publishers to maximise results from advertising” said Fairfax managing director of Australian Metro Publishing Chris Janz.

Nine chief sales officer Michael Stephenson added: “This co-operative will allow Fairfax, News and Nine to deliver addressable advertising to consumers with even greater scale using our combined identity in brand safe environments.

“This combination of Australian publishers will offer a real alternative to the global players for our advertisers and agency partners.”

The co-op will not necessarily remain exclusive to the three member publications. There are multiple opportunities for organisations to join, whether they are other publishers or large subscription-based services (such as Qantas Frequent Flyers or Woolworths Rewards).

NewsMediaWorks chief executive Peter Miller said the co-op was a strong example of innovation.

“This alliance gives those three very successful organisations an opportunity to start new conversations with advertisers about how they are spending their money and what their expectations are surrounding results,” he said.

“They are all very reputable media players who can guarantee outcomes, so all they need is new conversations and new ways of doing things.

“I think this deal could potentially shake the market up in terms business wins and share considerations.

“On top of that, brand safety is a huge concern. The co-op can offer plenty of advertisers greater protections on their content, knowing that they can reach audiences at scale when shown in reputable places like news media.”

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