Digital minds: 60 seconds with Reuters’ Tim Faircliff

23/04/2010

By: Danny Meadows-Klue

Tim FaircliffReuters is the grandfather in the news business. For over 150 years its correspondents have fed media and markets with the essential raw news and data. Over 2500 reporters (and many more stringers and freelancers) ensure whatever happens and whenever it happens, Reuters is there. On the eve of the launch of the new consumer facing Reuters UK website, Danny Meadows-Klue caught up with Tim Faircliff – driver of the Thomson Reuters consumer media brand - to find out what’s driving him.

Your elevator pitch - what does your team do?
Reuters has been providing news to the world's media outlets for more than 150 years and is part of the media industry’s DNA. We are at the forefront of a number of different media offerings. My EMEA Consumer Media role, leads the sales, marketing and development of the company’s multimedia news and information products available on digital media platforms including Reuters.com, mobile applications, and outdoor in Canary Wharf. These products are targeted at consumers in the areas of news, business information and financial investments and were launched to meet the demands of affluent business professionals seeking a direct and immediate source for our content

My digital starting point
I fell out of accountancy and into media more through luck than judgement – or to put it another way my then girlfriend, now wife, pushed me...!

What’s impressed me; why?
The rate of change and the exponential growth of digital. We are seeing a new communication platform develop daily and existing technologies evolving at a pace that makes traditional media look pedestrian in comparison.

Current digital bookmarks
Loving Spotify.

Digital pet hates
The temptation to get carried away with fads. The question I always ask my team: Is there a sensible P&L long term?

Digital pulse: What’s over hyped and under hyped right now?
Mobile on both counts – it’s been the year of the mobile now for some time, and yet nothing I am seeing leads me to believe that the construct is effective and that the business model is distinct enough for advertisers to really crank up their engagement. That being said it is definitely the future. We at Thomson Reuters have been more consultative than most, investing substantially, building the right framework internally, and listening to our customers, which will also allow us to engage more coherently going forward.

Digital discovery: My ah! moment
Working at the Telegraph in the late 90's was formative. Electronic Telegraph was a pathfinder of digital publishing and seeing the potential at an early stage was addictive. I knew then from the negative reaction of "old timers" that this was going to be seismic in the shift of business focus and behavior.

Your wining digital argument: How do you persuade senior directors who still don’t get it?
By being consultative and engaging. Media is mostly about listening and learning in essence. More often than not we forget to educate and inform, scale is relative you need to personalise the message and find common ground.

Digital success: what’s your formula?
Not being afraid to fail, and keeping pace with the rate of change.

Digital watchouts
The numbers do not lie! Accountability is king. Often the numbers are ignored which tends to come back and bite you.

Digital time machine: what’s your destination?
In the garage with Sergei et al…

Browser history: Where you’ll find me online
Reuters.com, Telegraph.co.uk (you can take the man out....), every trade site I can think of and of course anything relating to Crystal Palace.

What are the big changes yet to come?
It’s all to play for. We have only just started to join up the dots . The consumer is changing rapidly and the demand for flexible consumption is the driver. Think how obvious Sky+ now seems and the on demand iplayer concepts. This will only increase and add challenges to content providers, advertising etc… For digital, change is constant and once you get your head around that...you realise it’s all to play for.

What’s the role for consumers in creating content and value in your sector?
The role is potentially significant, but the worry is SM’s regulation and accountability. The waters are becoming more and more muddied. The monetisation of Social Media is fascinating to me, we’re all complicit here, we either get it together or create a beast of burden which will become terribly difficult to control….

Digital leadership: Who should drive?
Everyone. The vision and strategy should be established and well-communicated so everyone in the business is able to feed into the execution. Let the leaders lead and the managers manage, but everyone needs to feed into the process.

What’s tipping now?
Mobile! Seriously I wouldn’t rule anything out, but my hope is that we’ll have a better definition of mobile’s role in the lives of our consumers, and the opportunity it presents for publishers long-term.

Make the most of the digital opportunities by…Be brave, brilliant and brief. Embrace change, listen and learn, and don’t be afraid to fail. And back to my earlier point, know your numbers.

My Digital Journey

Tim Faircliff

General Manager Consumer Media, EMEAM, Thomson Reuters
Chairman of the AOP UK

Tim Faircliff is the general manager for the consumer media business at Thomson Reuters. Prior to joining Reuters in 2005, Tim worked as the general manger for the online operations at the Telegraph overseeing programming, development and marketing. Tim graduated with honours from the London School of Economics.

Community organisations

- Chairman and member of the Association of Online publishers
- Board member, IDM/IAB Digital Marketing Council.

www.reuters.co.uk

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