Newspapers unite for RAB-style marketing blitz

The UK's national newspaper publishers are to follow the example of their counterparts in radio and the regional press and launch an organisation dedicated to marketing the sale of advertising space in their pages.

The Newspaper Marketing Agency, which will run independently from the Newspaper Publishers Association, is to be funded by every national newspaper group with one exception - the Financial Times has declined to support the organisation, despite the fall in ad revenues suffered by the FT group recently.

However, an FT spokeswoman said: "We fully support the NMA and we will be demonstrating this in ways beyond cash contributions."

The Newspaper Marketing Association will be handed the task of increasing national papers' share of advertising revenue, in much the same way as the Radio Advertising Bureau and the regional press association, The Newspaper Society, have been credited with doing in their respective fields.

Richard Webb, the general manager of News International's News Group, will head an eight-man board as the non-executive chairman. It will include members from outside the newspaper industry as well as representatives from publishers themselves.

A working council comprising Webb, Trinity Mirror's managing director, Mark Haysom, and the former chief executive of Associated Newspapers, Bert Hardy, will lead the search for a chief executive for the NMA.

"This is an idea that's been around for a long time, Hardy said. "It was resurrected a year ago and it has taken that length of time to mature. The fact that this was a whole new start was what persuaded people to come in."

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