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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.

"If I have a start-up in one corner that specialises in a technology and is more targeted and focused on what the outcome I'm looking for, compared to a big deal in the other corner that means I'm unable to switch because I've signed a contract that prohibits me from changing - the choice is obvious."

In migrating "almost 100 per cent" to the cloud through Amazon Web Services, Drasutis said News Corp sought a no lock-in agreement, which subsequently lends itself to increased innovation in the future.

"We don't just want one solution because one size never fits all," he said. "That might have been the case in the past but I believe a niche or specialist provider is more likely to gain traction today."

Currently, Drasutis is locked in conversations around extending New Corp's video capabilities, as he navigates ways to monetise the platform in new ways.

In looking over the Pacific at Silicon Valley, Drasutis has a meticulous approach to choosing a technology provider.

"They are series A and series B kind of guys and the technology is super smart," he explained. "If News Corp can shape their roadmap somewhat then we can get a better outcome as opposed to 'this is what you get, take it or leave it'.

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

"A small vendor will have a better chance of having that conversation if they are pluggable and swappable because the world of being locked in for 5-10 years is over."

For Drasutis, providers that can add unique layers of value will gain greater prominence across an Australian entertainment and media market that is forecast to grow to $43.4 billion by 2019, a compound annual growth rate of 4.2 per cent.

According to PwC findings, consumer spending on entertainment and media products is also forecast to grow 3.8 per cent to reach $27.1 billion by 2019, illustrating end-user appetite for innovation.

"Niche markets are big enough now in Australia," Drasutis said. "I'm attracted to agility and the ability to help drive a roadmap and plug technologies together to create new capabilities."

At the big end of town however, News Corp works with tech giants such as IBM, Google, Salesforce and AWS among others, as large vendors divide solutions and offerings to cater for niche end-user needs.

"IBM is a great example," Drasutis added. "The IBM Bluemix Garage model allows me to play with a series of IBM technologies without having to buy the entire Watson engine. At this stage, I just want a bit of it."


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