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
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out of date.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
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.’