National newspapers including the Sun, Guardian, Daily Mail and Daily Express are putting aside their differences to investigate how they might be able to work together to take on declines in the advertising market.
Project Juno, a “feasibility study”, is being chaired by Steve Booth, a former advertising chief executive.
The publishers of the Guardian, Sun, Times, Mirror, Express, Star, Telegraph and Mail newspapers are all involved in the “well-resourced” project. Booth told City A.M. Project Juno has a headquarters, but declined to say where it is based.
The project has been launched during a year in which the publishers have reported large falls in advertising revenue, with online growth failing to offset print decline. Online giants such as Google and Facebook, meanwhile, have been heading in the opposite direction.
The Advertising Association/ Warc Expenditure Report has forecast adspend in the national newsbrands space to shrink by 10.1 per cent this year, while internet adspend is expected to grow by 12.3 per cent.
“The newspaper industry has been overly competitive within itself,” Booth told City A.M. “And it would more likely be able to face its more obvious competition if it were united in its approach.”
Booth said the project is “well resourced” – “there’s a lot at stake” – with representatives from each newspaper group involved, along with external help on the economic, legal and research side.
“Print has fallen out of fashion with advertisers to an extent,” Booth said. “And the view is that were we to come together, were the newsbrands to come together, could we better present the opportunities for advertisers afforded by the assets of those news brands?”
He added: “Our view is we have highly valuable, quality, engaged audiences that in many respects are superior to other media types.
“It’s our belief that were we able to come together, speak as one voice, and actually be able to deliver as a one-stop shop then the commercial fortunes of the news brands would be better served, and those of advertisers as well.”