What’s the reasoning behind Bauer Media Australia’s decision to buy three home consumer titles from News Corp?
There were more than a handful of media pundits who were surprised when the news recently broke that Bauer Media purchased three titles - Inside Out, Country Style and HomeLife.com.au - from News Corp’s homes portfolio. It was, after all, Bauer's first local acquisition since 2015.
Bauer CEO Paul Dykzeul, who took over Bauer Australia from Nick Chan last year, described the acquisitions as “a key milestone in delivering against our core strategic priorities, our strategic business growth and our commitment to invest in deep category specialisation”. But what does this actually mean in practical terms?
Bauer Australia’s brands focus on nine title categories: entertainment and lifestyle, food, fashion and beauty, homes, health, auto, finance, parenting and adventure. In some of these categories its title offerings are slim but adequate, such as their single titles Australian Geography, Money and GoodHealth in the brand categories adventure, finance and health. For entertainment and lifestyle, food, fashion and auto the title offerings are multiple and adequate with leading brands such as Women’s Weekly, Women’s Day, Empire Women’s Weekly Food, Food to Love, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Dolly, WhichCar, 4X4 Australia, Motor, dealsonwheels and Owner Driver, to name but a few.
It is the homes category that they felt they needed to bolster the “entire home consumer journey" in both digital and print, intimated Bauer Media's GM of publishing, fashion, luxury food and home, Fiorella Di Santo, in an interview with Mumbrella Australia’s Zoe Samios. It is about “end-to-end ownership” of the Australian home journey, she said. “We think that the three additional brands can really coexist with the brands that we already have”.
The three new titles are being added to Bauer's existing homes portfolio, Homes to Love, which includes House & Garden, Belle and Real Living. The acquisitions also says something about the perceived power of News Corp brands in the digital sphere with Di Santo saying the new titles will give them better social coverage and audience reach.
“We’re looking for brands that really support in a compelling way our digital assets and drive a strong social narrative for us. These brands do it in spades.”
Another question that needs to be asked is if advertisers will follow? Di Santo says the connection between consumer and advertiser is stronger than it’s ever been, which means the advertisers will follow where the consumers go. “The acquisition creates an opportunity because, if you know how consumers behave in a specific brand category, you will understand where the commercial opportunities arise.”
Homes to Love is already an impressive digital destination for home inspiration and creative advice in Australia. With uniquely Australia house and home content, including DIY tips and expert advice, Homes to Love has over 142,000 digital monthly visitors and over 1 million monthly social connections.
Di Santo is also confident that there is a good future for printed magazines in the Australian home market. “The magazine channel has a great future and when you put it together with digital and social assets it’s a very compelling offer.”
The first Bauer print issues of Country Style, Inside Out and Home Life will be on sale 12 July 2018, 26 July 2018 and 20 August 2018 respectively.
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