Advertisers meet die their regular meeting next Wednesday with a big focus on the impact of the merger of NZME and Fairfax New Zealand. The big concern for them is that ad rates should not go up. Another question: Will Stuff.co.nz and nzherald.co.nz be more distinct and make it easier for advertisers to target audiences, and revive the idea of a paywall?
Association of New Zealand Advertisers chief executive Lindsay Mouat said it was early days. But he did not see any major roadblocks to Commerce Commission clearance for the merger to go ahead. “Newspapers are not really an issue- the only place where there is competition is in Sundays. We will be looking at the effect online” Mouat told Zagzigger.com. He said one option might be bring one news site or both under a pay wall. “The more differences the better for targeting customers,” said the ANZA chief executive. One suggestion doing the rounds is that a new merged company might refine content as Stuff and nzherald.co.nz aimed at distinct audiences, rather than competing with one another on everything. Stuff has a reputation for giving a higher profile for light tabloid stories and entertainment,nzherald.co.nz, less so. NZME had been heavily developing plans for a paywall on nzherald,co.nz. But it pulled back from planning the paywall after Stuff shelved its own plans. It suggested that it might be a bolthole for readers turning for free content. There was a risk of losinga substantial audience if it had paywall and your competitor does not. As one advertising source told me: “That would be more easily managed if you had the same owners.”