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Media Masters with Paul Blanchard
welcome to media Masters series of one-to-one interviews with people at the top of the media game Alan Hunter head of digital at the Times and Sunday Times beginning at the St he went from assistant chief sub-editor to News Review editor leading their coverage of the London Olympics and The Killing of Osama bin Laden from there.
He became executive managing editor of The Times and Sunday times before taking his current role, I want to since introduced changes to the model which has resulted in 20% annual increase in digital subscriptions has also launched the award-winning Redbox newsletter and the walking the dog podcast Alan thank you for joining me Challenge for today's meetings to get people to actually pay for quality journalism me I'm in so much free stuff out there.
How many subscribers does the Times and Sunday Times now have so we tested whether headline number which is print and digital combined which is about 535000.
That's incredible and of course.
I am one of those paying subscribers.
I love the product.
6000 our digital-only about terror Tales in a print and there's a can of portion of the middle who get both print and digital I've read the Sunday Times every Sunday for well over two decades.
I've not picked up a physical copy of the Sunday Times in 4 years not credible actually this weekend or something about the weekends and bringing out the papers over the kitchen table that still still works and I think that's something that can I will be around for quite a long time.
I much prefer the can of curated version on my iPad then I can have while colour sandbox environment.
Thereby the website link and click on anything you like really I like to scroll through it so that someone has decided the importance in the order that I think that's something the people really like about our tablet edition and increasing about a smartphone somewhere.
There's a real hierarchy of stories.
I think that's really difficult in digital 2.
Replicate that experience and print where you in strength instantly know on turning a page which story is the most important on the page and which one might becoming less important and you might can I want to move away from and replicating that on digital is it is very difficult I can't it's it's hard to come see if any side has perfected this.
There's a kind of idea of hierarchy and tell him what's important because you don't have that experience of flicking through a website and I think one of the reasons iPad app was initially so popular and moving people from print to digital was that it really does have replicate a newspaper experience and you as we look to develop it.
That's something we really need to come and be aware of its amazing.
How when you challenge the conventional Wisdom how to so-called experts of the day always you know said that you committing a grave error.
I remember writing an op-ed for somewhere when they times introduced its paywall saying this is ridiculous.
No one's ever going to read it.
You know I got used to be in the times for free I are red.
Maybe once or twice a week then the paywall came in I thought I'm never going to read it ever again and then with insulin three months and subscribed and because I know I read it every day, so I couldn't have been more wrong.
You won't be anyone to be right to be fair so I meant and it must be said that when it was announced that we were going to be getting paid within a safe even got used to the idea that can journalism should be attentive open to all out if it's unhappy internet wanted to be free.
Just call us crazy when you think about it and unsustainable you can you pay for good journal remember someone said that it was a 19th Century to put a 19th Century business, Wallasey 21st century when actually I think are you know Rupert Murdoch deserves great credit for saying look this is costing money to produce people should pay for it and I think people said exactly the same thing when sky was launched.
How much for TV and now of course you know they have 10 million subscribers in the UK we've had Jeremy darroch sitting in that very chatty, so I think people are starting to come round to the idea that you should pay what is particularly notable is that from off spective lot of younger people are starting to come round to paying so I think there's a can of the middle generation perhaps of people in their their 30s to early 40s who had the Golden Years where everything was free and there's a younger generation who grown up with Netflix with Spotify who realised that and I used to paying for things and I know speaking to be when are the countries they have found other digital needs providers that when Netflix comes to their country.
They see a spike in people who are willing to pay because he instinctively people recognise the value of content and then if it's good you need to pay for it.
I think the knowledge is the than marginal cost of a virtually zero because you're in the old.
I would buy Bros CD and then if I wanted an A Level 42 CD that would cost me double cos I have to go to Wolverton by that wears now.
Yes, you do pay for Netflix on Spotify but once you've paid a fee for the month everything else is Ben free just come down to how often you use it and what's the great and a puzzle that all digital news providers are trying to solve is how do you get people to get that ingrained habits that I think all the Generations had with buying the paper everyday on their way to work or a carnivore or when they were going for a dog walk or something that habit of buying the newspaper was there? How do you get the Habit of getting people to far up their apps or can load the website and that habitual use is the key I think they're still need one of these are really liked about the comments on the Times website is because they were registered users.
They were paying actual money.
It seems to be a more orderliness amor Collegiate pleasant discussion that you know you've gone the Guardian on the telly.
Orphanages olivedale the male and the be the most horrendous comments yeah, I think that's definitely something about a comment something we like something for the coach times and sometimes I was equilibrated Bunch but I think the fact that you know people are paying they expect a high standard debate we have in a moderator to go in and talk to people if they are misbehaving if you like and I think the fact that people know that you know we know their names even if they using a screen then we know who they are but they real people and we know that they real people makes a difference and actually recently we started encourage our kind of journalist to get involved and comments which I think it would we know has a massive influence on a country.
That's because the second they get involved with a jealous.
They like their hopes.
They'll I am gonna getting a free icon 11 reader said he was going to free tutorial on cricket from Mike Atherton in a can of one-to-one because of my cats in garden balls and comments on their one of his cricket articles in the times and people love that experience.
That really does help to elevate the colour standards discussion will always looking to make it better to make a more valuable to people but when people comment on stories they're much more likely to read another story in when people read comments and I know this is our conversation.
I had with my younger brother every time.
I meet him.
He says I just love the comments on the on the Times website are a fantastic canopy do I told you come inside no 9 ever comment? He's a little ok? Just like something.
I would like to characterize my dear brother of that, but they do people like to read the Debate that's going on especially if it's it's not just kind of bile abuse and I know a lot of people have hello publishers have decided they're going to turn off comments or limit comments to a small number of stories, so they can really pleased things and I think it's a great in a benefits of are in a subscription and to our subscribers that we've not had to do that and we've been able to go to keep comments open on on pretty much every story and lesson.
Restrictions, this is leisure activity now where you know if if there's a Daily Mail article where celebrities put on way to people will dive into the comments and knowing that they're going to be horrendous and then they doing it is a kind of sports.
Just to see the depth of human depravity yes, well.
I've been out that's fine for them to I wouldn't the other hearing aid ever.
Do you do have like topics or even individual journalists at play Better digitally does he like Hugo rifkind or Giles Coren someone like that.
Do they? Do they have a primarily online audience tastes like I'm not to despise Matthew Parris is a fine writer but does it hurt his readers the people who engage in any more traditional and would be more print face.
Can you see that in the interaction symbolises know what we have found and it's very gratifying particularly tunnel to print editors who has spent many years can rely on their judgement.
Is that when you transfer it into a digital sphere the same entity.
Expensive choices are proved to be correct so in terms of economist yearly mentioned Matthew Parris Matthew regularly gets huge interactional line.
I mean when you look at the number of comments below his pieces sometimes.
It's up to 3000 now.
Lot of people may say or you're a maniac and so on but he's getting a lot of kind of interactions that disgustingly reasonable Matthew I think I agree with every single thing you've said that and I've ever said well.
You're in one of the things.
That's really working for us digital is that we are a a broad Church in that's very kind of have moved to the left some have moved to the right and we seem to be much more in this the centre ground so we have yet.
We have the likes of David aronovitch and Phillip Collins and Janice Turner Lovell kinds and Janice.
They're really good didn't take him on and he's very respectful but he's very robust you know exactly where you are with David if you talking about now if you think about the the moved additional it allows its participation in the coming public debate by by readers and clearly they relishes.
Yeah, I have 11 good friend who who played by The Sunday Times because of one column isn't particularly outrageous him and it's the first thing he reads everything we've had in the past as well as a genus.
I think she's actually great again agree with southern 95% off of what she says this study was organisations happy to give away their content for free that you are they kidding themselves in the long-term accept.
It was a clever move of Rupert Murdoch to do this but there are other organisations that aren't doing that.
They ultimately doomed advertising surely can support them.
Music a we ought to have the sun which can be free so it provides its content for free it relies on advertising.
It is looking on the back of advertising to make reader revenue from an affiliate sales, so there are there are different models.
I think they will always be 3M out there.
I mean in the UK of course.
I'll mark it is slightly scared by the fact that you have what very scared by the fact you have the BBC which is apparently free although of course everyone pays their licence fee is free at the point of view.
I suggested it feels so you will always I think have free free news, but it's it's it's a week.
Set that's always going to be that I don't think they're killing themselves.
You know there's some of the make very good money and you know digital advertising is a very difficult area.
I think is well documented the number of the mouth of fraud involved in digital advertising.
I think people will look to reputable advertisers reputable.
Publishers in the next 2 years to come as secret audiences, so I wouldn't say they're doing that think it's a different model me have to do different things in that area that and then we do an odd but that's gonna do bears, that's that's one of the exciting things is that there are always different models to to try out and then we just happened to to come to paid earlier than Callum most interest newspapers which is maintained for many years people thought we were we were the crazy Ones and then we were doing to fail and now can have lots of people following US so that's something that's encouraging for us, but it's so it's a good Sam the place to be can you tell us about the evolution of the digital product itself a man with talks about the payroll but there's obviously been many iterations and developments along the way for example.
I recently moved to publishing digital editions of The Times rather than you not being chasing breaking news.
Hope that we can you talk us through the Genesis of it, so I mean I think the auditions on a smartphone a web came originally from archive logs.
Tablet edition which we launched our with the iPad in the UK in 2010 and you know that had a sudden burst of abuses it went, very quickly up £2.50 60000 years of the day and has since grown to about 80000 uses a day and what we noticed from that is that we only published once a day.
We never updated are we still don't and you people keep coming back to it over and over again and the what they really liked was the idea of an edition that was kind of finite and finish table.
So when they read it properly first thing in the morning.
Then we see the DVC the data ownership on a tablet is 6 a.m.
Or 6 to 7 a.m.
On the weekends.
We know our readers have a line because it's an hour later on Saturday or Sunday I want hour later.
I'm opening up about 10:30 11:00 and Australia are you are we can Save Rock and Roll we can see you've been missing my UK preparation.
So there's all sorts of gdpr things about that anyway, so yeah, we noticed that people like the idea of a finite and finish world edition where they can read it and then thing ok? I don't need to worry about I'm done with the news today or what they want to come back for features or some comment later in the day.
They would and we looked at that and frankly we had a website and smartphone app that people didn't really much like the approval ratings were were frankly poor and we were doing what everyone else was doing will putting up stories all the time we were trying to do breaking news without the resources of the BBC and frankly we did it quite poorly and so what we did is we went and talked to our readers we sell it.
What do you what is it you want from us? What can we fit in your work? X is it yes, but also they they said you know that they they said what they like for my city authority of what we do.
They didn't can I want breaking news from us, because they get that from Twitter and if they only if they're under 40 are all the BBC if there are over 40 and he wasn't your story.
Opinion they wanted things that were unique to the times and the Sunday Times and so we we also looked at our usage data and we saw they were big Pig's of the day at certain times.
So there was a pig first thing in the morning people get up.
They want to get it have an idea of what they need to know for the day.
There's another pick up lunch time when they're having a lunch break and they want to look at the apps all their website just catch up with what's new and we also saw a little peek a little bump really at 5 p.m.
And will pumping user users at 5 p.m.
Which is obviously going home time so we we looked at this and we tested sweetest what happens if we just publish are overnight Edition and then we'll updated at 9 a.m.
So we'll get the latest from the Far East and I will get stock market announcements for our business leaders of which we have a lot and will update it at noon when you get the best of what's happened to the morning and will update it 5:00 when you'll get ready.
What's happened in the day and you will you got a briefing on that for the journey home.
And we put this in in March 2016, it's fair to say that like with the payroll and other people said that's crazy why you only publishing you today because you have the inner you can publish all time.
So why aren't you doing it and was in world not as it yet indeed and you know just because you can do something doesn't mean you necessarily should and we found that there.
Was you go to some readers said are you a bit crazy but not many and very quickly they got used to it and very quickly the usage increased so despite the fact we were publishing less.
They started coming to us more often less is more in detail and reading more when they came because I wasn't the feeling of I don't know where I am.
I don't know what I should be reading.
It was pretty kind of it was ok.
Write these of the news remark clearly the news stories devaricid update times and we Mark what's been updated as well and so they got a very good if they've been there in the morning.
They knew what her to look at and they they seem to like it.
You said she's upset.
Factions up subscriber numbers are off as well, so we think it really works with their many many things we want to do to keep improving that experience and we're talking to read us the whole time because they like them happen if we did that happen if we did that and you know that sounds a really kind of positive process but I said I think it was very interesting because the idea of giving up breaking news goes against every journalistic Instincts and I had to come moderate the way I explained to my colleagues that look we're not real pay for wood journalist you in the bubble saying good office balls are not real people don't go down too well, as I said we're not a typical sitting in a Newsroom where you have screens with Sky app with BBC with Al Jazeera with all types of common use 24-hour news channels.
This is not how most people live their lives also will have two screens on one screen is always on Annie
Site and we're always checking for push alerts in homemade.
We will sign up to can I put a lot to everyone loves like our office actually, where is abnormal as you I think but we're not like normal get out of users who are not checking their phones every kind of 5 minutes.
Why women lost I think because he's people icons that didn't vote brexit definitely happen.
If I think it's it's we had to come to terms with the fact that we have a different experience of news from most of our readers, but you're right because most people get their breaking you some Twitter me.
We we have Paul royal sitting in that chat sometime I go steady to the BBC 10 news and he said the problem they have is there before huw Edwards is even open is gob everyone already knows the news they've got to do something different and it's the same when I open the Times old evening as a digital edition.
I already know what the top five stories are but I'm looking for the Times take on it is if you were what I also like he's going deeper into the app where you get to the
Unused pages and then the stuff in there that isn't on the other side just of this happening in the courts and tribunals and things like that this just as important as I do get a lot of my news in from the time that I don't get elsewhere if he's not it's not elsewhere a really interesting area so we recently did a full content review so we we looked into all the data surrounding a 6 months worth of stories from across both newspapers digital course and we we we were looking at what types of stories do well in terms of getting new readers and Tim to satirize existing readers and what we found was that it was the things that only the Times and Sunday Times Could Do by the choices that we made so if we sent her Christina lamb kind of two to Zimbabwe another excellent journalist interior choices, only we really would make and said they would come back with stories if we got Danny Finkelstein from the times to write about something if we got another Mill on the podcast.
When is brilliant if we got Camilla long for the sun is out so I don't think these unique voices the unique stories their unique take on things.
What does the things that is absolutely the best for us in terms of Engagement of Newry does an R rating someone when we did stories that everyone else has they just did nothing so we have a balancing act between being a can of her being a general newspaper if you like me and friends.
Where are the editor of time says he wants to be a desert island newspaper wear if you had to take one newspaper to desert island.
You would choose to have the types of course in digital desert island 6 days.
Will have Wi-Fi so you have many different sources, so most people are getting all these you know I would say vanilla, but run-of-the-mill stories that everyone else has from everywhere and they get them quickly and for free so we have to provide stories that are original and different or give a fresh take on a on a running story so increase.
Tingley we're starting to promote those kind of stories at the expense of just doing the stories everyone else has now this is coming again sometimes.
It's really difficult so we should leave the site with an analysis of Theresa May's resignation rather than the fact of her reservation made of the story of anyone else have again this goes against journalistic Instincts but when we look at the data emphatically those other stories of people read and engage with and share and comment on there as well.
We know she's resigned.
We already know the basics of how she did it end etc etc.
So we don't like you so we don't need you to retailers that we've got that from Twitter or a breaking news alert absolutely think about internally with a view to our readers.
We have different leadership groups were coming to us in different ways, so you have readers of the print product who will expect the come of the stories that everyone knows still to be there because that's what they've been used for many years you have a digital audience and which is very different because they go.
Stories from everywhere and they expect something slightly different so as unusual now coping with many different audiences and I think it is a can of a fundamental shift where were undergoing at the moment.
I think everyone else's as well where you're looking at different audiences rather than different products and has the digital audience help shape the print product in any way.
Is there have you made any changes to the print products as a result of any insights that you've gained from this digital journey that you been on.
I think it's happening, but slowly I think the most obvious thing is we having stories that originated in digital.
I'm moving to print or something's we see have worked really well and digital that the move over to the print side, but I think that will happen over time.
I'm in one one of the things that always started to occur to me and this is quite common technical but if you think about print headlines.
They are often quite played for their quite a bleak and away because they rely on the fact that you have a picture.
On the page and you can get the contents the what the stories about in digital.
Obviously you have a headlines of optimised for search engines as the headlines as we call them of course and 13 different beast and I wonder whether kind of audiences will start to get used to the fact that you have headlines of explain kilo.to the Robin just anime Theresa May the prime minister, etc.
You name every bit of it.
I think that will happen over time is SEO optimised I think you might have SEO optimise print headlines over time because people got used to them as cbse optimise optimise a scratch the future of the product.
I mean if you brought your crystal ball with you now.
What's going to what are you working on at the moment? Are you not allowed to say just tell us anyway, so I think we have made the auditions work really well for us anything will continue with that but we'll I think we feel there are lots of different.
Types of products we can offer to different audiences whether that be in lifestyle areas, where is not so much based on the day today cadence of news of delivery process younger audiences, so we're already experimenting with how we can reach talk to audiences in a different way, so I think one of the interesting lessons we've learnt in the last 30 years from talking to people is that actually younger audiences and not some can I create mythical collection of creatures who want something completely different they often want exactly the same things that we deliver but we're just not delivering them in the right way, so we taking back to slightly different tone.
We we recently launched a newsletter which is called.
X t which is aimed at younger readers which is cold tea, because of their are spilling the tea, which is the talking about gossiping about subjects as I'm sure you know book of course.
We're all very down with Millennium speak actually premillennial spee.
I'm not down with post Malone it's my fault for miserable years old, but you can we have presented the same stories but in a slightly different way bully at different aspects of the story that might be interesting to the younger audience and I know this is a trick that a lot of tricks that this is a mess of the other publishers.
Have you swear? I've took some about their their new products.
I said what where are your journalists you see you talking to having designers on their son product people and Engineers we don't talk about jealousy sale.
No, we use their kind of the journalism of the core product.
We just packaged in a different way and sellers are the different ways.
I think there's something going to see you lot more from us in the next Next sale as well as a moving.
Can a more towards if you like her a multimedia products which brings me to my next question really in terms of the different ways you can interact with it.
So I mean I have they digital at the app so I read it in that way but sometimes.
I'm too busy to read it.
I actually do I subscribe to?
All of the newsletters I get the general one in the business one is on and sometimes.
I just skin that and see if there's anything that speaking my interests and I find the email itself quite useful obviously times red box podcast in so you're obviously trying to expand the different ways through that you feel which you connect with your audience know I'm a subscriber side.
I don't know the answer to this but can you get the red box podcast like on iTunes can you just listen to 30 season 3 product to anyone and yes at the moment or all are podcasts are free.
We are clearly.
I think I many people many publishers looking at somehow you monetise podcasts.
I think it advertised it won't even find out where you let me know when I think there's there is an ambition to be able to put some podcast commander Powerline disable.
Not unreasonably so but I think it is all about trying to reach people in different ways in ways that are suitable for them when I went out to just cannabutter broadcast Media anymore.
We want to work on and interact with people in the way they live their lives.
So yeah, I know that when I'm finished my work.
Dave on the way home.
I will listen to a podcast because frankly I've had enough of Reading so I will listen.
I want to listen rather than read enough of Life by the idea that is not an uncommon experience and we should be tech we should be that mean we are talking to people about their what fits them at certain times of the day tell us about Redbox tell us about walking the dog Redbox was interesting I came out of a and experiments really in 2014 for the Scottish referendum when the editor of The Times on whether a case of Hedley we got the Scottish referendum next year we got the general election year after these of the biggest tea as a politics were ever going to have a little did we know any day we need to have a promoter political coverage? What can we do and at that time? I was lazy talk about sa doing our separate app for politics in a set of website which band was a bit with separate website, but I'm finishing came down to doing an email which was.
Immediately well received by the colour of their Westminster kobler centre, they they they instantly like the phone that has someone in the Super Bowl full of Webster who knew what they were talking about and he was writing a Daily Mail loved it and very quickly we decided that we would need to expand red box with or it immediately became a good brand and politics became crazier and crazier into a podcast and I think I'm actually who does both email and the podcast now.
It is become we say it but is required reading Westminster is the second best podcast out there that the metre was it was ok as I'd like saying and digital scales it sort of product Development so we had one thing and then we can slowly feel like it will try this and see if it works.
I'm trying to think but the the email still works red.
Glasgow negrito play the podcast is great.
He's been doing fantastic interviews with the leadership contenders for the Tory vote for Prime Minister as it turns out in the last few weeks.
I'm next weekend running with Jeremy Hunt the other day and having ice cream with Andrea leadsom, so that's read books walking the dog really came out of the fact that my family got a puppy and I noticed that when I took Parker are Tibetan Terrier for a walk people would talk to me in a way that if I was just walking around people would never talk to me and him something about the dog would do some people and you talk to me different way and I spoke to Emily Dean who we know the times well and about this end.
She can pick it up.
She she also I was about to buy a dog and I said she she come over 10 listen to series where she interviews Pete Donnelly comedians and
It's a different kind of into I think because there's the full of the dog and it goes is one of my best for you podcast it continues to attract interest and great name J Ricky Gervais was on a very recently.
We've had other big names on throughout.
It's it's run and then he does a great job when it is it different kind of interview so I think I think that's wanted things about podcast is there a reward uniqueness as he approaches podcast This podcast unlike any other thank you for your kind words.
Would you consider your competitors to because it and it's a deliberately vague question because it might not necessarily be you know other media Brands like the New York Times or whenever it could be Netflix it could be that you know Angry Birds 2.
I mean you know the Times app icon is just one of a number of icons app icons on my phone each of which is clamoring for my attention to how do you stand out? How do you cut through the noise as they say so yeah, I think you can.
Your question you won't answer the question.
I think is a very good one.
We often can a reflexive Lee think of the likes of the Guardian the Telegraph the mail and so on as our competitors now.
I think they really are competitors for stories.
We want to beat them to get the best stories going to across both papers are in every section so I think our competitors for stories but in terms of attention as he say there are apps everywhere that I've just calling out to you saying your Netflix is saying when are you just catch up with that that last episode and people nearest Spotify as well and there's iTunes with podcast so we're competing for a in that area where people have their leisure time and they want to get some ballet outfit and so we can be to get every subscription business out there everything that occupies people freestyle like you said where you know Angry Birds or Candy Crush or whatever people are playing now.
We can beat against them as much as we compete against the Telegraph
In terms of the time they have so I think people used to set aside time to read the papers.
I don't think they do that so much anymore and we have to make sure that when they come to us.
I get real value from it and feel it's worthwhile, and it's a worthwhile way of spending his time other than listen to a podcast as I'm watching a show on Netflix Ivan just listen to music and someone how will you extend the monetization of vitamin that the Mum you've got the paywall I pay my 20 quid a month or whatever it is, but other websites.
Have a smart paywalled others have micropayment where you pay £20 per article you know might you offer other payment solutions are what we always have the candover you pay the money and then that's it.
You got the key.
We've already looked at relaxing but she can you can get two free articles a week by giving your email address, so they're not really free because there's a there's an exchange their way you give us your email address and obviously we market your subscription to that.
Point of view that sociology is a way of getting people to look at the Times content become familiar with it and really see what they're buying because I think I was a tricky thing you're asking people to I would the way or payable was previously constructed that you're asking people to buy a subscription without having looked at the content which is you think about it's got a difficult thing to do if they're there wanting to plan a pay for 26 you wanting to charge a £26 a month ago.
It was rushing all the time because he wanted everyone who was paying to see they were getting value for Italy gym Wallasey people been free but I think people more sophisticated now about what her subscription entails so I think they've been a couple of days in a trend in the the news business where you had someone subscription models where they were giving too much free too much away free.
I know there was so there was some people at various conferences.
He was saying that we have 23 articles a month and no one ever pays and so the solution was obvious is that you cut you down number?
I don't know number of people have done that the Neil times has famously gone from I think it's 15 or 20 minutes now down to 5 or 3 even free articles about so they moved to become locked up.
Where is we were completely locked up and we're moving to becoming a little more little bit more free and I think over time we will become more, flexible and what we offer to people and Howie Howie me to the papal the Times obviously is a commercial operation, but I mean there are many ways to monetize these things we had David pencil sitting there are many many moons ago this chief executive of the Guardian and they give everything away for free but we have a supporters network and that was another thing that I scoffed at the time thinking more.
Why would you give everything with a free and then say the bottom but can we have 8 quid a month as a donation and frankly again? I've been proved wrong.
It's been an incredible success.
Very windy the kind of first couple of years.
I guess you are from an outside perspective the challenge will be asking people to meet again next year but I think you know we we want news can of companies are competitors if you wait to thrive because it helps us as a group and any helps to have lots of different ideas as to how you can sustain jealous and which I think is it's fundamentally good thing that people say 20-somethings won't pay for news at then get for free.
Elsewhere you mentioned the BBC earlier.
How do you get that demographic to sign up because they are used to things being free at the point of use and they know that they can get quality journalism on the Guardians website of the BBC and there must be quite difficult market to target chilli well, so I mean I'm sorry I think the the the younger generation 20-somethings are now getting used to paying for things when I think they will pay for things if they see the the worth in it for them and for office.
Do we have to provide something with different so different from what they can get for free because you know that's the whole basis of what we're doing is that we would I want to be just the same as the free site.
We have to give you something more something is more worthwhile, and I think we need to market that to them and reach them where they are and encourage them to subscribe on that basis and frankly we had quite a bit of success through a tractor cannon through targeting on different social networks, you know the obvious 1st Facebook Twitter is also very good for us.
I think it's off another lot of other publishers.
Don't get a lot of referral traffic the we do.
I think probably has a lot of our political coverage and also we're starting to target the younger groups on Instagram which is I think more lifestyle focused.
It's not Bromley News Channel bragan.net sitting sitting at the journalist on the time in courage to write differently to engage and online readership know we offer advice on a can of how.
Telephone stories to cut at work best digitally is that advice with you can a stud over the Menace post publication so we're looking at her how we can write the best headlines for search engines and so on the sofa.
Love and how we promote things on social networks, but I think over time we started to explain how a writing stories about things that we know there is it a need for because we've seen the search data.
So people reveal what they are interested in what they search for on Google and we see that they they like everyone else does and I think we're starting to say look you can have you might want to angle your story this way is still the same subject matter and you're still kind of looking at it in the same girl rigorous way that you always would but you might want to look at her kind of answering this question that people are focusing on is using news UK's radio stations like Virgin Radio on Talksport
In promoting the times has content is there an editorial partnership there, so yes, I mean where we are encouraged to talk to my colleagues.
Talk radio Virgin Radio and Talks porn someone and providing Talent as well to go on and promote know what they're doing and also provide the expertise which really helps on on those patients to and I think you know but it's a real signal intended buying radio stations within Israel growth in radio as a as a company clearly and you had in the same physical building of corporation recently on various events between the newspapers and radio stations and I think there's only going to become closer.
We've already started working with colleagues at wireless, which is the the parent company for those radio station Ireland podcast because clearly they have great expertise great Studios as well, but when we working with them on how we can develop up podcast offerings because clearly this is a great way of reaching New Orleans
Does and that are experts in it and so will be working with them on can a new strands and developing our existing podcast so are we seeing great kind of Groton them over the last year just for a basis of using their expertise expanding some coming back on others to be fair.
So we will definitely working with the Willow colleagues are mean.
You're the Times and Sunday Times his digital Guru but you come to this rule for my mouth while we're gonna proper professional journalist background.
You know you're not some kind of way out there Silicon Valley digital type.
How important is stantons of shipping your order to their priorities.
I know that you edited the news review in the Sunday Times in the features.
I mean for me.
They were the best rates frankly.
Thank you very much.
So yes, it is true.
I came to digital about 5 years ago and I acknowledge that when I started in digital.
I didn't know that much about this when I said to the Editors I said look I don't know how free.
I would like that can't tell my team what to do in digital because they know more than me and I said that we were putting it because you know about journalist and I think that's a keeping we want to keep journalism at the heart of what we do everywhere and even on digital.
I think it was actually quite useful for me to come to somewhere where I knew less than people because I think one of the things about running dish operations as you you have to delegate because it is so multi multifaceted.
You have hundreds of tweets going out every day you have dozens of Facebook posts.
You have podcast you have videos you have more content on the smartphone and weapons the tablet app that he doing the print newspaper and one person can't possibly keep on top of that as well as all the other things for doing in data journalism and development and interactive zone one person can't keep on top of that so you have to delegate and it was actually quite useful though.
When I came in I wasn't able to go and say you do this.
You do that im micromanage this on microwaves that because they need more than me so I said look in my role.
Here is that act as your bridge to the newsrooms because I don't need roads are 230 year old institutions and at that time they were very much focused on print.
Do you know more than them now in your womb? You could try since you are up against the dollar today.
So I've learnt about this of the final technical aspects sometimes.
I still need to go to my team and say look when we talking about this.
What exactly is this mean and what is a render engine and then how exactly does it work is rendering.
I won't tell me after what happened the big learning is not have the technical side but in terms of like operation in the whole approach one of the bin the big eyebrow razors in your 5 years doing digital so I think the main thing is that you really can learn very quickly what your customers want and that the data it can be really empowering if you like cos you're not guessing at that point you actually know you're not going you are you still going to have your incident but I have dated the back of that which makes it much more powerful because in the olden days you literally just have the new standing there and you have no idea.
What was making it work and what was undermining at news phone number ad Revenue and this idea of the Post back and I remembered can of talking to people many years ago sing all you know we have we had to wear a massive post back on this and you do you kind of enquire further as
Yellow doesn't letters and anything well we get 3000 comments on this story.
We really know that resonated with people.
Don't think learning to colors understand the data is usually important will be like to think about being data informed Robin data-led because I think there's a lead Canon canoscan brunchi journalistic Instincts which are really important still there are some stories the data would never tell you to do such as well.
I think you the time does investigation or into Oxfam took a long time it wasn't clear that stories about charities particularly well, but but it's been unless you can have you might not follow that unless you had a journalistic hunting the date of my not show you to do that, but so you that you should do that, but I think nonetheless it is incredibly interesting to follow that and it does cumming make you realise that the customers are often telling you different things and what you thought quite often.
You confirm what you thought which is Which is great, but it is there a very kind of teachers an element of humility which I think it's quite a useful thing and also I think another thing fundamentally is that and this is something I found my team that my security compared to them doesn't not necessary mean.
I think you've got that wrong and you just stand over there menacingly is what I do, but I think it's really important for not just needs relief organisations generate to realise that they have a lot of Talent there a lot of people who maybe junior but he may know an awful.
Lot more than you'll ever know about the rendering chance.
It's what I call the Ben Cooper problem cause Benz a great guy the control of Radio 1.
What is a 49 year old white guy.
What does he know what you know 19-year-old is it is watching we had Debbie rhymes on recently the editor of BBC Newsbeat and you don't always it was an interesting question.
Cos he's been done every job in use be over 15 years.
Does that mean that she's more qualified than everted to know what a Newsbeat stories on actually, does it mean that she's done it for so long.
She is now an old giffer and shouldn't be editing a news from 4up was a fascinating discussion.
I'm not sure what the right answer is she is genuinely doing an excellent.
We should just inform Alice's that were wise and it but none can you empathize with your customers can understand what their needs are want to come to and end that doesn't not dependent on your age stats depending on.
Can you think yourself into their needs and there's a whole train of Silicon Valley based thinking around the school design thinking which is really about getting a deep into your colour of your the the both implicit and explicit needs of your your customers by talking to them and
Triton customer centricity dicolatin insolvency practitioners are now business recovery specialist litigators dispute resolution rebranding of the complete you mention about the demographics about us been told her mid forties guide what is the demographics of the the typical x reader now whenever you've got these hundreds of thousands of readers now on a pie chart.
How does it actually look well actually now we have her if you look at the totality of print and digital in obviously different audiences skewed to be kind of older the digital audiences.
You roughly in the middle roughly the typical age of one of our digital only subscribers and then you have a younger audience who coming so we have got a good fun all the pee.
I'm coming in so it's a fairly reasonable this reason.
We have some who are candid teenagers should we say how we have some people who are over 100.
So you know there is a very wide range of people so I think of you know I go home and I'm my son who's 13 reads the times on his smart phone.
I hope you don't make him pay full price that would be a terrible father because my dad.
He's in his late.
He also he also commission £1.50 for family sign up so I think we need to work to broaden their Range and two countries with more heavily at the top end and we need to work harder to bring younger people come to the times and the Sunday Times but I think is very much within our grasp and
Phoenix workwear very much going to focus on an external to tell us what your personal journey if we met in terms of how you got started out in German did you always want to be a germiston and tells before you did the digital sign? Are you involved in some of the cut the newspapers coverage of like the 2012 Olympics The Killing of Osama bin Laden some huge stories always want to be a jealous of anyone do anything and university stuff is get drunk auntie under increasingly.
We see graduate trainees who have done an awful.
Lot of journalism of people play granny green character.
This was a different time when I was the universe and I didn't do much indeed anything but after that but after I left I can apply for although the various trainee schemes and someone but I think my lack of experience did where can I get a good very lucky? I chance to across a job in a niche financial publishers in North London to Guy season.
Chance on me and I think I said she has got the job because they said why you want to be a financial journalist and I said I don't wanna be a financial journalist and it turned out the Laden really want to be fine as endless anyway, but that was a job at so you take a chance on me and I went there for a few years and learnt how to write about things that perhaps weren't kind of the things.
I was most influential research into the subject of banking in reinsurance.
I got to know a little bit more about that.
I ever imagined but I knew that wasn't as I said in my interview what I really wanted to do so after a few years.
I took took a chance when freelance I ended up with a sports magazine called inside support with glasses for 9 months now forwarded and I had a good fortune and I think cannabis and luck plays a role in this is one of my friends was due to do some shifts at Tatler of all places and he couldn't do them because he got the job is the editor of mixmag which?
Dance music back in the days and and they took me on to do that and I stay there for a couple of years working as a sub-editor and from there.
I was had a weird we tonight because my sports experience.
I thought this is a way to get into the national papers which always wanted to do and I applied to the Sunday Times to be a Saturday sports up and so I was working on Tatler the Society Magazine on the week's southern.
Copy about can a posh restaurants in Knightsbridge and doing captions on watch supplements and also as weekends writing something football.
Copy from match reports from the premiership and rugby reports and someone's got a strange experience.
I work 6 days a week and ended but eventually the Sunday Times decided that they keep me on for a while and fireworks festival in sport which was always my my first love which is why I got the gig of looking after the 2012 Olympics across the paper so I was working very closely with.
Sports editor Alex Butler who was still sports editor and yeah, we had to kind of argue about which pictures were going on a front of which sections and what stories were getting news on which choices stay and support, but it was a great couple of weeks very very enjoyable indeed quite chaotic at times, but yeah, it was a fantastic experience and and you know I also did one of the jobs.
Are there was this Focus editor which is essentially looking after the big stories that every section of the week in the Sunday Times and obviously the killing of Osama bin, Laden was one of those sent a New York it was on a Monday morning.
I think very early the news broke in the in in the UK and as soon as I heard I thought well.
I know what will my week scan involve and involve working with the fantastic dad Christina lamb and we were very close together that we can she produced some amazing 3000 word piece on Incredible journalist and she's been on This podcast.
Yeah, that's great destruction from the the editor of the time.
He's done with her who's navigate to the x was you know this is going to be the first draught of history and I think you like Christians is some amazing work and I was really proud of that, but you have lots of other stories that we we didn't huge investment of time and effort to really trying to tell that first draught on the on a Sunday which is a great day to do that as Tim Shipman does every week with his political team seems like in her about popping out of the mountains and John so if you can get me so I did my first shift in 1998 so21.
I'm sorry, I was very young when I started man and boy and then you know what's next for you then if you don't mind me asking will you VW Finchley become editor? How does it how does it work? What's the career path will be another question that you definitely of course.
That's not up to me, but I think there is such an amazing landscape and such a challenge and it's different every day and every year we have different things to think about and if I think about what people were talking about when I first started on this deliver talking about having a different app for every subject and it was saying or it's all about putting all your content on Facebook and that's what publishing is going to be in the future and now it's completely different and has what makes digital colour so exciting so if I think digitas there are so many challenges in this area and I think they're becoming the challenges that the
Both both museums are facing you know we're all looking at how we become digital publishers reboot shift towards digital publishing at the same time as making sure we have the best print products in the country.
So that is a fundamental and very interesting kind of subject to get our heads around it's amazing how we do you change and evolve your relationships with digital platforms.
I mean when Facebook first came out and thousands of friends and would you was on it all the time and miss you know years later as he closed it down.
Where's now I mean what I call my zombie relationship with Facebook I've only liked every page.
I've gone from having thousands of Friends are like 60 and yes, I am on it and I do gonna couple times a week, but it's you not have my relationship is complete chess is one of more of a necessary evil now.
I think well.
I mean I think people generally have had a similar relationship with FaceTime you still absolutely huge in terms of number of users and active users as well, but I think you know individuals have.
There there different options now.
I think it is telling that Facebook is shifting towards can a person to person messaging as they're gonna Focus now and then give Instagram was a stroke of genius and WhatsApp to so it's fascinating that one company owns.
You're worried about cannibal well Facebook is going to happen in a little bit of decline in there in the Western world, but I know what's coming up in his Playboy Instagram and WhatsApp which are owned by Facebook so there in a very very nice position last question then into parts and will end on a high note so part 1, what's been the worst day of your career so far and any gonna hang up part 2? What's been the best day, so I think I think the worst day is is quite an easy one to say so I was working as nutrients from the Sunday Times in 2012 when Marie Colvin was killed in homs and you know Mary was deliberately murdered.
Assad's forces and you know that she was accused character in Anniesland she was in regularly.
I had worked with her on and other stories when I was Focus editor.
I would love to just WhatsApp are such a brave figure and to know that she had been murdered in that way was to just a terrible day and you can EU country can imagine.
What would it was like an illusion still it incredibly heartbreakingly tragic thing to think about even now.
There are pictures of Amery in The Newsroom and we still cannot see her and remember her and yeah.
It's a real reminder of colours in a watt journalist do and particularly brave ones going to cut conflict areas like like Marie did servants live moving to Cove a good day and Lennie interviewer who was made it asking questions that
We mentioned earlier the the the 2012 Olympics of the Olympics was the most chaotic day of my working life and I just remember the gold medals with flooding and we we heard about halfway through the day and it was this was very much a printer operation.
We had we we suddenly went out from I think it was 24 to 28 pages.
We had suddenly for more pages to fill and I was sitting with the editor watching watching I think of rowing finals and we won another gold medal names like taking up another two and it was a kind of plastic old-school journalistic day when you're running around left and right and didn't know what you doing in.
There was pictures here and everyone was kind of copy flying in and support journalist writing thousands and thousands of words but it was exhilarating and that was kind of it and I don't be nervous in sport.
I'd always been interested in the Olympic sport and it was a
Exhilarating day and I think I slept for 3 days afterwards, but that's the kind of thing I think that really gets you guess you're going as a jealous when events are happening and he have to respond to them so yeah that was probably my most hello positive memorable day, but they get every many others and I hope will be many more many more to come out when you've been a hugely interesting guess.
Thank you ever so much for your time at right angles podcast in association with big things Media
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