Media: Double Standards - 'We're not dinosaurs, and we're not dead yet'

Despite dwindling circulations, press is still an integral part of the media and advertising landscapes, two experienced newspaper ad directors argue.

JOHN TEAL - ADVERTISEMENT DIRECTOR, DAILY MAIL

- What's the best aspect of your job?

The interaction with the people I work with. They are the best sales people in the national press. They are decent, professional and bring a lot of fun into the job. I have great support from my fellow directors (and my managing director is not a bad bloke, either).

- How worried are you about the general decline in national newspaper circulations?

The trend is worrying. Newspapers need to address falling circulations with the paid-for editions. The freesheets are encouraging younger readers and keeping them interested in press, but that doesn't mean they will then progress to buying newspapers.

- How friendly are you with rival newspaper ad directors?

I don't see any of them socially. However, there isn't one ad director with whom I wouldn't have a beer.

- What would you say is the most interesting opportunity that you've created for an advertiser in the past year?

The best opportunity we have created used a multimedia platform of newspaper, magazine, online, mobile and point of sale. Unfortunately, it was Sod's Law that the client decided not to go with it. That was our best idea ever.

- Describe the culture among your sales team and anything you've done to help create it?

We have a team who enjoy their work and want to do the best for the paper they work on. The sales team are trusted to do their jobs efficiently, and are empowered to make their own decisions. The only thing I've done to help create the culture is to bring the right people together.

- Everyone is talking about newspapers online, but are the revenues there yet?

Revenues achieved by digital media are greatly increasing and, as a company, we have seen significant growth year on year. Cross-media opportunities are contributing more and more to digital's overall success.

- Has the creation of the big media trading units, such as Group M, etc, changed the way press is bought and sold?

They have commoditised the buying of press to such an extent that a large number of media owners seem to have little choice other than to give into their buying demands. It's not just about buying press any more; it's what other media platforms can be thrown into the mix.

- What content in your paper(s) excites you the most?

The news coverage in the Daily Mail is second to none. There are no sacred cows, and the editorial department is not frightened to voice opinions that other newspapers are afraid to. The excellence of the journalism is at the heart of its success.

- What do you most like about working in the newspaper business?

Predominantly, it's the people, but I still love press for its resolve and stamina in an ever-changing media world. We're not dinosaurs, and we're not dead yet!

- Do you share any similarities with John Teal/David Emin?

We're both short and fat, but mostly, we're fans of The Sopranos. I'd like to say that I'm Tony Soprano to his Johnny "Sack" Sacramoni; however, it's more likely I'm Paulie Walnuts to his Vito Spatafore.

- How do you unwind after a busy day?

I'd love to say I go to the gym or run, but most people who know me know that I'm a fat bastard, so I can't really get away with that one.

- If you weren't an ad director, what would you like to be?

When I'm a proper grown-up, I'll let you know.

DAVID EMIN - DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING, MIRROR GROUP NEWSPAPERS

- What's the best aspect of your job?

Right now, it's the satisfaction of improving our current position.

- How worried are you about the general decline in national newspaper circulations?

The declines are obviously a worry to us all, but we must not forget that press is still one of the last mass-market media. In one day, an ad in the Daily Mirror/Daily Record reaches 5.1 million adults - very few TV programmes come close to that. Our challenge going forward is to meet our readers' changing needs and deliver their news and entertainment in the formats they want.

- How friendly are you with rival newspaper ad directors?

On a professional level, we all get on well because we've all been around a long time. Obviously, Tealy has been around slightly longer than most. On a more personal level, I can take them or leave them (... just kidding).

- What would you say is the most interesting opportunity that you've created for an advertiser in the past year?

It was a cross-media campaign for John Smith's, where we found ten Daily Mirror readers to ride in the People's Race at Aintree on Grand National Day.

- Describe the culture among your sales team and anything you've done to help create it?

It is changing and rapidly evolving into a more "can-do", challenger culture ... but there's still plenty more to do.

- Everyone is talking about newspapers online, but are the revenues there yet?

I don't think that everyone is talking about newspapers online. Rather, they're talking about newspaper brands online. There is a difference. As for the revenues, we make a healthy profit from our digital business. The challenge is growing the volume of revenue.

- Has the creation of the big media trading units, such as Group M, etc, changed the way press is bought and sold?

It depends on the group in question, since they are all evolving differently, but there is definitely a trend towards more commoditisation and to far more aggressive deal-making. However, I see this as an opportunity.

- What content in your paper(s) excites you the most?

Anything above a 40 per cent ad content excites me.

- What do you most like about working in the newspaper business?

The passion. The people. The pace.

- Do you share any similarities with John Teal/David Emin?

Not really. I'm tall, fit and good looking and John isn't. The only similarity we seem to have is that we are compared to characters from The Sopranos. I'm normally seen as Tony (Soprano) and John is obviously Vito (Spatafore).

- How do you unwind after a busy day?

I stalk John Teal.

- If you weren't an ad director, what would you like to be?

Is there anything else?

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