News UK and Unruly set sights on integrated pitches

News UK will position itself as a more joined-up digital advertising proposition by bringing its technology start-up acquisitions, Unruly and Storyful, into joint pitches for the first time.

Carter: plans integration of data from News UK and Unruly
Carter: plans integration of data from News UK and Unruly

Dominic Carter, chief commercial officer at News UK, admitted an integrated offering "maybe hasn’t been felt" by agencies and brands over the past 12 months. He promised a more holistic approach in 2017 through News UK’s restructured commercial arm, The Bridge Studios.

Carter made the comments on the first anniversary of News Corp’s £58m acquisition of Unruly and ahead of Unruly’s move to bigger premises in London’s Whitechapel. 

He told Campaign: "What you will see more of as we build out the data segment is that we work closer together. You’ll see a lot more joint pitches."

Unruly has spent its first year as part of News Corp integrating its video advertising technology into News UK properties including The Sun, Sunday Times Driving, Sun Bets and Dream Team.

The focus over the coming 12 months will be to combine Unruly’s consumer-behaviour data with News UK’s audience data. 

"The next stage is to leverage the data that both companies have for more powerful segmentation," Unruly chief executive Sarah Wood said. "The issue isn’t [having] enough data; the issue is there’s so much data. It’s making sure we segment it in the most valuable way."

Wood is now the sole chief executive of Unruly. Her husband and previous co-chief executive, Scott Button, has become chief strategy officer.

Carter and Wood declined to disclose details of the integration, promising more information once Button has settled into the new role. Button is tasked with joining up and then effectively deploying the companies’ data, potentially through techniques such as artificial intelligence.

Wood dismissed suggestions that rival publishers would shy away from a platform owned by News Corp, News UK’s parent, pointing out that Unruly is "media-agnostic" and based in a different location to News UK’s office.

Unruly’s Wood on…

Facebook’s inflated video views: "This shows the need for third-party validation. You can’t have a walled garden. This will be making brands and agencies think more carefully."

Brexit: "What’s key is that we maintain our confidence and actually see Brexit as an opportunity to go beyond Europe and be more outward-facing."

Ad-blocking: "I think we will see politer ads. The Coalition for Better Ads and the Internet Advertising Bureau’s Lean initiatives are both examples of the industry coming together to take action."

Brand video: "Agility is critical to success. In this age of uncertainty, this is the moment to be bold, to be trying new formats. Follow consumers faster – we’re still seeing mobile spend catching up with consumer behaviour."

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