Interview With Emma Winchurch-Beale, President, World Media Group & International Sales Director at The Washington Post

Why are the WMAs important?

The World Media Awards are hosted by the World Media Group, a strategic alliance of the world’s leading international media brands, and together we represent a strong quality environment for advertising going forward. Our role is to be the champion of high quality and trusted journalism. With the back drop of fake news, and the likely impact GDPR will have on personal information access, it feels as though our remit is more important than ever. The World Media Awards are important as they bring together agencies, clients and publishers to celebrate success and provide a platform to share great work. All industries have awards, and awards that recognize great branded content campaigns are like the Oscars of the media business.

How have the awards evolved since its launch?
They have grown in popularity with entries continuing to increase year on year. Over time we have amended some of the categories to better represent the business. We also recognise the importance of acknowledging the publisher so in 2018 there will be recognition of the media that the winning campaigns have run in.

How important is content and how are media owners adapting to it?

Brands are turning to media owners to create content that resonates with readers, and as publishers know what their readers like, this makes great sense. Brand studios have evolved and include teams that stretch across journalism, film, social, art design and ad ops. Content and amplification can be delivered seamlessly by the media owner. In a world of fake news the importance of trusted sources has become invaluable.

Who should enter the WMAs and why?

We encourage advertisers who have created content campaigns that have deliberately targeted audiences in at least four countries to enter any of the categories; media owners can enter two categories (Media & Entertainment and Brand/Media Partnership). It’s important to celebrate the richness and quality that can be achieved when content is used effectively to tell a brand’s story across multiple channels and borders. The awards are free to enter and they offer a fantastic opportunity for advertisers and media owners to showcase their best work.

As President of the World Media Group for two years, what are the goals and ambitions for the organisation?

The WMG was set up to raise the profile of international quality publishers in a world of local media choices. 2020 will be our 22nd anniversary and in a landscape that has changed considerably in that time, the importance of good quality journalism is more important than ever, to support our industry, hosting events throughout the year that address the core issues facing it.

What do you think you’ve achieved whilst in the post and what was your biggest challenge?

We produced 12 events, including two highlights for me: a panel on fake news and a workshop on GDPR. We had fantastic speakers for both, and the events were highly successful with record attendance. These are an essential element in what we do to support our industry and address the big issues facing it.

The challenge is to stay ahead of the curve, and I’m proud to say that we held our panel on the topic of fake news long before it became a major theme for many others. We are constantly looking forward to see what is likely to be the next issue to impact the media industry and see how we can help support the sector as it navigates change.

The World Media Awards are the pinnacle of the year for the World Media Group. A huge amount of work goes into running the Awards but it is fantastic to both celebrate the best content-driven advertising from around the world, and also to help benchmark what the best looks like.

What do you hope to see from entries?

Innovative work that helps to solve a genuine business problem through a unique creative hook, smart insight and deep audience understanding – all whilst proving a demonstrable shift in the KPIs set by the client.

You’re also International Sales Director at the Washington Post. How has content evolved for the Washington Post?

Amplification of the content is equally as important as the creation of the content. It is important to ensure that the great content created is seen, and engagement rates are an important KPI. Jeff Bezos has allowed for an investment in technology at The Washington Post and the innovation that has taken place ensures that speed of delivery and relevant editorial context are at the forefront. With ad tech solutions such as Clavis (contextual targeting technology) built into our content programmes, we provide both great ideas and great delivery of those ideas.