In her email, Stuff executive Lucy Hempseed came straight to the point – the NZ Farmer brand is remaining in print, albeit in Stuff daily mastheads (except the Dom Post) and online, and not as a separate print publication, contrary to the collection of half facts M+AD presented on the topic yesterday.
“We are very much committed to this audience and content,” she said later. “As I mentioned, we sent out the Press release below to agri / national titles and told all our rural advertising customers. We’d love to see an update and accurate article with M+D reflecting this as soon as possible?”
Here’s that release, in full:
As part of Stuff’s rural strategy announced today, it will be investing significantly in rural content across its agri titles including its highly regarded NZ Farmer brand on Stuff, in all major newspapers’ weekly farming sections, as well as its classified agri print product AgTrader.
NZ Farmer is currently read by over 230,000 Kiwis online each month and AgTrader delivered to over 75,000 rural households.
CEO Sinead Boucher says, “We have the largest rural online audience. As Stuff continues to invest in these brands we have high expectations for these audiences to grow, making them worthwhile environments for advertising customers to reach this audience.
“Farming is an important sector to New Zealand and a vital part of our economy. Our focus on the NZ Farmer digital section means Stuff can still provide a daily news and advertising platform for the many rural Kiwis that will continue to look to Stuff for their farming news. It also ensures rural advertisers have strong farming environments to place their ads to a much wider audience through our digital and print portfolio”.
Stuff’s mastheads including The Press, Manawatū Standard, Taranaki Daily News, Waikato Times, Nelson Mail, Marlborough Express, The Timaru Herald and The Southland Times will continue to carry dedicated weekly farming sections. These sections will be enhanced as they will carry the NZ Farmer brand in-paper and online.
The changes to the rural portfolio were initially signalled in February when the rural titles were included in the plan to exit 28 free, smaller titles. As part of that Stuff is progressing with ceasing publication of the following print issues: NZ Farmer (last print issue Monday 18 June), Canterbury Farmer (last issue already published), Central District Farmer (last issue Monday 11 June), Otago Southland Farmer (last issue Friday 8 June), Waikato Farmer (last issue Monday 11 June), NZ Dairy Farmer (last issue Monday 4 June).
Stuff’s print classified title AgTrader is not affected by any of these changes and will continue to operate as usual and be delivered to over 75,000 farming households each month. It is a strong classified publication serving the rural sector and continues to play an important part in Stuff’s rural portfolio.
Ms Boucher says, “It’s become clear that digital properties and our daily papers, coupled with AgTrader, are the most effective and relevant ways to serve the rural audience and advertiser. This refocused strategy will allow us to remain the leading provider of rural content. We will continue to have dedicated farming reporters and a national and local sales force that know their region and customers very well.
M+AD regrets we didn’t get it quite right. Hempseed and her associate Pip Cameron stress that they “are always contactable”.
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