Media: Double Standards - 'Most editors are full of their own self-importance'

Find out what two heads of press feel about the London freesheet war, and what they believe publishers can do to safeguard their brands from the digital onslaught.

DOMINIC WILLIAMS - head of press, Carat

- Can the London freesheet market sustain the current number of titles, and given that there are so many, do you expect one or more to bite the dust?

The London war has just got going. The winners will be who has the biggest pockets and best marketing strategies! What the freesheets have to make sure is that they do not put off the consumer with aggressive distributors. There is enough room for the freesheets currently in London, but it can't sustain any more.

- What is the best launch of the year so far?

It only launched a few weeks ago, but Sport gets my vote. The editorial content is very good, and I believe the 320k it has guaranteed is achievable. Can't also forget Love it! - a successful launch in a cluttered market.

- Are publishers doing enough to counter the online threat? What could they be doing to safeguard their print brands?

I think all major publications are now taking digital seriously. Some publishers have embraced the opportunities created by mobile and digital technology and are creating valuable brand extensions. Those that still see it as a threat have probably already missed the boat.

- Should magazines be audited on a monthly basis?

No. Publishing monthly figures alongside the six-monthly averages would maybe give us more insight into the exposure particular ads received, but the six-monthly averages should remain the benchmark.

- As publishers continue to develop cross-platform sales teams, is the role of the press director under threat?

My role has changed over the past 12 months as print and online need to be better harnessed to deliver communications solutions. Every meeting I have with clients, teams and media owners will always discuss digital, but press is still an important communications channel and one which is hugely important in the overall mix.

- How are media agencies responding to this challenge?

The challenge is always to meet the demands of clients rather than the media itself. The integrated structure we now have at Carat is the best way of providing clients with comprehensive solutions to their communications needs. If this means media owners have to adapt to our way of thinking, planning and trading, then so be it.

- Which magazine or newspaper editor are you most impressed by?

Simon Kelner at The Independent. It's not just about formats. The innovative and engaging front covers, fresh and unusual content, and the overall feel and layout of the paper are all testaments to a very good newspaper editor. (Let's hope this doesn't affect your circulation, Simon!)

- What magazines do you read for personal enjoyment?

As you might expect, I read as many magazines as possible, so I'm ready to answer any tricky questions responding to the week's gossip from the celeb titles. My favourites are The Week, Rugby World and Arena.

- Who is your favourite columnist?

Stephen Jones, The Sunday Times' rugby correspondent. What he doesn't know about rugby is not worth knowing. Jeremy Clarkson is a close second!

- What is your all-time favourite ad campaign for a print title?

Has to be Mini. The "Mini adventure" campaign used all types of sizes, shapes and environments to create great stand-out.

- What did you read while you were growing up?

Loaded, FHM, FourFourTwo and The Independent.

- Have you got a favourite hobby?

Skiing, waterskiing, rugby and watching Ipswich play.

CLAUDINE COLLINS - head of press, MediaCom

- Can the London freesheet market sustain the current number of titles, and given that there are so many, do you expect one or more to bite the dust?

The morning titles (Metro, CityAM, and now Sport) all offer something different to distinct audiences. Regarding the evening papers, I think the figures will plateau out, but in the foreseeable future, I don't expect any of them to disappear.

- What is the best launch of the year so far?

So far, thelondonpaper has been the best launch. It has brought something new to the party. It was researched for a long time, is well thought out, is modern, upbeat and, most importantly, it is London-centric.

- Are publishers doing enough to counter the online threat? What could they be doing to safeguard their print brands?

I don't think it is a case of countering the threat. It's about embracing the new age of dialogue and strengthening their brands by conversing and interacting with their readers/audience. Online product should complement their printed edition, not be a replacement for it.

- Should magazines be audited on a monthly basis?

Yes. Six-monthly averages can hide huge fluctuations. There is a need for more accountability today.

- As publishers continue to develop cross-platform sales teams, is the role of the press director under threat?

Not at all. Let's not forget the number of magazines sold is still increasing, and with the launch of three new titles in the newspaper arena this year, press is a hugely dynamic and vibrant medium. Press directors need to be forward-thinking and embrace the different means by which readers can access their print content.

- How are media agencies responding to this challenge?

I can only talk about MediaCom. The press department doesn't just plan and buy space in press titles. It is about delivering the best solutions for our clients. That comes about by having close relationships with the media owners and working closely with our planners and other departments in our agency.

- Which magazine or newspaper editor are you most impressed by?

Dylan Jones at GQ. Most editors are full of their own self-importance, but Dylan, while having a huge amount of editorial integrity, understands the importance of the commercial side. I also admire Rebekah Wade, the editor of The Sun, for being a strong woman in a man's world.

- What magazines do you read for personal enjoyment?

I love magazines, but if I had to pick my favourites, they would be Eve, Livingetc, Conde Nast Traveller and GQ. My weekly fixes come from Heat, Now, OK! and The Sunday Times' Style and You in The Mail on Sunday.

- Who is your favourite columnist?

Piers Morgan. He says it how it is, and he makes me laugh. In his GQ interviews, he asks all the questions I want him to ask. I am looking forward to his weekly column in The Mail on Sunday's Live Magazine, which is coming soon!

- What is your all-time favourite ad campaign for a print title?

From years ago, it was The Guardian's "points of view" campaign. It was about looking at things from a different perspective - very clever.

- What did you read while you were growing up?

I'm showing my age now, but it was Jackie and Blue Jeans.

- Have you got a favourite hobby?

I love cooking and travelling. Every year I try something new. This year, I've tried unsuccessfully to learn to play golf.

Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content