Initiative boss attacks regional papers for antiquated methods

Roy Jeans, the managing director of Initiative Media, has lashed out at regional newspapers, claiming the sector needs to be radically overhauled in order to become an effective medium which could maintain national advertising growth.

Roy Jeans, the managing director of Initiative Media, has lashed

out at regional newspapers, claiming the sector needs to be radically

overhauled in order to become an effective medium which could maintain

national advertising growth.



Jeans, a former managing director of the regional sales house, AMRA,

said the number of sales houses should be cut to two, dailies should be

sold collectively, regionals should build better client dialogue and

invest more in generic advertising.



He told delegates at the Newspaper Society Senior Management Forum - who

mainly consisted of managers and directors of regional newspapers - that

despite an upturn in national advertising in the regional press, this

growth was fragile.



’The current sales structure has not worked. There is no after-sales

care or geographic cohesion. There is still ignorance about the benefits

of regional press,’ Jeans said.



He argued there were between ten and 15 sales houses selling individual

titles, whereas the selling of media collectively should be

addressed.



Newspapers needed to shift their focus to clients and newspaper groups

should look to sell collectively, he added.



Jeans’ speech provoked mixed reactions in the newspaper industry. Mike

McCormack, managing director of AMRA, said: ’Much of what Roy says is

out of date. Roy knows how hard we have worked to move from agencies to

work directly with clients. You can’t have two sales houses because

there is so much overlap you will create a monopoly and there will be

price cartels.’



Robert Ray, deputy managing director of MediaVest, said the suggestion

of cutting down sales houses to two was ’a bit extreme’, but agreed the

industry had to reform. ’It needs a rocket up its backside. It is

ineffectual to plan and buy and it’s too parochial.’



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