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News Corp - On deadline in a digital world

James Henderson | June 7, 2017
As challenges impact newspaper businesses, News Corp outlines how the channel can help instigate change through digital technologies.

"We enable the transformation of our business from where it is today to where it needs to be," he said. "And we do it in the background. We're in the background, but we're setting the table.

"With Snapchat, we presented a discoverable platform which we can monetise and gain value from.

"We knew a certain demographic of 14-25 year olds exist here, and we utilised technology to reach them."

Mark Drasutis - Chief Product Officer for Digital, News Corp (Photo - Maria Stefina)
Mark Drasutis, Chief Product Officer for Digital, News Corp. Credit: Maria Stefina

With an arsenal of newspaper titles and lifestyle brands, News Corp's digital sites have a monthly unique audience of 6.7 million, creating multi-platform leaders in food, health, parenting and style and property as a result.

Coupled with new digital products for key mastheads, and more than 2.3 million subscribers viewing Foxtel on their television, computer, mobile phone, Xbox 360 or tablet with the new Foxtel Go app, and News Corp is continuing to remain relevant across an array of platforms.


Digital agenda

In drawing on expertise gleaned in executive roles at AOL and Yahoo, and through moving away from conventional IT approaches, Drasutis is creating a digital agenda based on collaboration, spanning editorial, digital, sales and marketing teams.

Collaboration now comes from the technology division out, incorporating all key stakeholders from the start, instead of the traditional way IT has dictated usage to the business previously.

"Take SuperCoach for example," explained Drasutis, referring to News Corp's sports fantasy game, which encompasses more than 450,000 players across AFL and NRL.

"We make SuperCoach TV, we're on Twitter every Friday afternoon, we're on Facebook, it's all over the website and it's in the newspaper. It's a team effort."

Citing the internal and external success of SuperCoach, Drasutis said that when developing new products and go-to-market strategies, from the outset, technology and the business are on the same page.

But in drawing on over 20 years of media and technology experience, Drasutis acknowledged that key stakeholder buy-in wasn't always as straightforward.

"It hasn't always been that way," he said. "At News Corp, we merged together the digital and technology teams two years ago. Technology was no longer just the IT team and the guys that fix the printers. It's a whole different dynamic."

Under the previous leadership of News Corp chief technology officer Alisa Bowen - who was appointed to the role in January 2016 but departed for Disney in March 2017 - the division has recognised the need to be closer to the business, removing silos and leading the conversation through technology.

"News is news, it's designed that way and it operates well," Drasutis explained. "The Daily Telegraph is The Daily Telegraph, that's it's job and that's the point.


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