Stepping into tomorrow with strong partnerships

Chris Janz December 2018 APAC Region

The Google News Initiative is designed to help news organizations adapt to our changing digital landscape. We sat down with Chris Janz, managing director of Australian Metro Publishing at Fairfax Media, to hear his perspective on the challenges of the modern news era and his strategies for growth.

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Our Australian publications have seen significant change over the past decade. Our brands, journalism and audiences are the strongest they’ve been in our 187-year history — but our operating model needed to evolve to take full advantage of the opportunities available in 2018. While we were one of the first publishers to embrace the internet, we’ve only recently fully capitalized on all digital can offer our business.

The great thing is we continue to shape the nation’s future. Our journalism celebrates our society and holds political, business, and community leaders to account.

At the end of 2017, we kicked off a partnership with Google that allows us to each focus on our strengths: us on quality, trusted journalism and Google on its leadership in the ad-tech and programmatic space. By being open, honest and transparent, we've been able to work in genuine partnership to grow each other's businesses.

At its core, it’s a digital advertising partnership. Rather than prescribe how to do business with Fairfax, we’re working with Google to offer clients greater choice that is shifting the way they do business with us. The revenue we generate from our partnership supports the quality journalism we produce and allows us to invest greater resources in our newsrooms.

We come from a traditional advertising world that’s manual, hand-sold, and highly transactional. Our sales team didn't have the time to understand every advertiser’s business issues. Our partnership with Google gives that team more time for genuine conversations. Instead of sending spreadsheets back and forth, they are deepening their understanding of advertisers’ needs. This results in better solutions that increase revenue, which we can then invest back into quality content.

As we look forward, our job is to inform and entertain, and by growing our digital advertising base we can invest more in journalism. We can think about what’s next for us, beyond the advertising market.

What words of wisdom do you have for your younger self who’s just starting out in this career?

It’s important to achieve pace over perfection. We must keep moving forward rather than getting everything absolutely perfect. Sometimes it’s better to test and learn and iterate. To try is the only sure way to innovate.

The new news industry