Ben Martin is the new head of digital content in Western Australia for one of Australia’s largest media companies, Seven West Media. He just completed a Churchill Fellowship that took him around the world, where he visited the newsrooms and operations of The New York Times, The Washington Post, Mic, NPR and Mashable.

So, what’s the direction of digital content? What’s the view of the major players in the US? What kinds of digital content are they investing in creating? Is sponsored content a part of the future? And how can brands get on board?


Here are some key take-outs:

  • Mainstream media is changing incredibly fast. Even those operating in it are unsure how the industry will look in a year or two. Everyone is second guessing the way forward — what to invest in, what direction to take.
  • There’s still a “rusted on” readership of physical newspapers and its unlikely that will change, so newspapers themselves are likely stay around for a while longer.

“Media right across the board has been struggling to come up with the business model that works, because they’ve created a consumer that was getting it all for free.” — Nic


  • Journalism is expensive. It takes time to bring together information and produce quality journalism. But, Martin says, the results say “it’s worth doing” — the audience still responds to quality content.
  • Most news sites will move towards membership models as they seek to encourage their audiences to pay for content.

“If you are nimble enough in terms of how you get your stories out to people, that’s excellent, but in the end the value of what you do comes down to the storytelling itself. If your stories are compelling enough, people will read them, people will share them.” — Ben Martin, head of digital for WA, Seven West Media.


  • There’s an opportunity for brands to run their own newsrooms and build their own audiences. Instead of spending money on marketing or advertising, they can run their own news service.
  • Traditional media will spin out content for discreet audiences. It’s something it has always done, but digital allows them to find global audiences for their content.

“When you’re catering to an audience as a brand, that’s a good thing. When traditional media starts chasing and audience with content then we get a situation where the audience is getting what they want but not necessarily what they need, and I’m greatly concerned about that. What happens when media starts acting like a brand, rather than a news service.” — Sarah


Here are the links you might need

  • Here’s a link to Ben Martin’s Twitter page.
  • This is The West Australian Newspaper’s website.
  • And if you’d like more information about the fantastic Pledge for Nate campaign, you can read about it here.


Have you heard the one about…

Recently James, Sarah and Nic took a close look at email marketing best practice.


And here’s a discussion with ADMA’s Jodie Sangster about the Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report for Australia, and what it says about the state of content marketing in Australia.


Like what you’ve heard?

Give us a follow on Soundcloud to get the latest episodes.

Or, you can subscribe or leave a review on iTunes.