The Fishbowl: Andrew Morley, The Independent

The Fishbowl: Andrew Morley, The Independent
The Fishbowl

The Media Leader’s interview series asks the media industry’s top salespeople 10 revealing questions, drawn from our fishbowl. The questions will be drawn at random and contain some tricky posers set by the commercial chiefs themselves.

This week, it’s Andrew Morley, chief revenue officer at The Independent.

Andrew Morley started his career as a sales executive at ITV and later joined Capital Radio, before becoming commercial director at Emap Advertising.

He was agency sales director at Telegraph Media Group for three years and also held leadership roles at Grapeshot, Telaria and Amobee.

Morley joined The Independent as chief revenue officer in 2019.

How did you end up working in media?

My favourite university lecturer was an ex-journalist. Once I’d completed my finals, I met up with him and told him about dreams of being a TV producer. He looked unconvinced and in a broad Scouse accent said: “Andy, mate, you’d be better off in media sales, lad.”

I obviously ignored his advice, but after six months of rejections from the BBC and every other production company in town, I realised he was right and I managed to blag myself a sales job at TSMS (ITV). The rest is history!

Why are you passionate about media?

It’s a tremendous industry and I’ve worked for and with some amazing and inspiring people along the way. Although there has been such a big shift towards automation since 2010, this is still a sector that is driven by smart, creative individuals.

I had a 10-year stint working in adtech, which was completely life-changing. But when the chance arose to get back into media, it was an easy decision for me to make, especially given it was an opportunity to join the number-one quality digital news brand in the UK.

What are clients talking about this year that they weren’t last year?

The power of BuzzFeed, Seasoned, Tasty and HuffPost. They’re fantastic brands and we’re proud to be superpowering them, alongside The Independent, IndyBest, Indy100 and Independent TV as part of the new Independent Media group.

I’m delighted to say that we have a ton of interest in our new multi-brand portfolio, the brands’ significance and uniqueness individually, and their unrivalled strength collectively.

What is particularly pleasing is that our most significant agency and advertiser partners have already committed to supporting us because they appreciate the uniqueness and scale of our brands and audiences.

Name all the streaming platforms you subscribe (pay money) to.

Sky, Netflix, TNT, Amazon, Spotify.

Which advertiser would you love to work with (but don’t already) and how would you sell The Independent to them?

Not an advertiser per se but a category. Print news businesses see huge investment from supermarkets in the UK.

As a fully digital news brand, we don’t compete proportionately with our print competitors for those budgets. Changing that is one of our most important commercial objectives.

Peer question: What advice would you give yourself at the start of your career with the hindsight you have now?

Wow, where to start — I would have a lot of advice to give my younger self.

I guess the key message would be that I was a bit too confrontational in my early years. Fighting your corner is important, but getting to consensus is easier when you’re not always on a war footing.

Question from Ben Walmsley, managing director, The Sun

Peer question: Who would you say had the most influence in your media sales career? And why?

I benefited from working for fantastic companies with amazing leaders (at all levels of those businesses). So it would be a long list. But if I had to pick one individual, I’d have to say Dave King.

I worked for Dave at Emap and The Telegraph, and I learned so much through his leadership. To be fair, though, it probably didn’t help with the “always being on a war footing” thing!

Question from Duncan Chater, managing director, Bloomberg Media

Peer question: If you won £10m in the lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?

I’m fortunate enough to have a really big, brilliant family. So I’d treat them to a huge holiday — or buy a family home in Italy, my favourite place in the world and my partner’s ancestral home.

As a lifelong Queens Park Rangers fan, I’d probably try to get my feet under the table there.

At The Independent, we work with incredible charities every day and it’s impossible not to be moved. So I’d probably make a large donation to organisations like Refuge (our charity partner) or Zarach, which does incredible work when it comes to helping the 1m children in the UK who are shockingly forced to sleep on floors due to not having their own beds.

Question from Ryan Rummery, commercial Dax director, Global

Peer question: What do you enjoy most about working in the industry?

It’s more about working at The Independent rather than the industry. Three years ago, we developed a mission: making change happen. Although it was a commercial statement of intent, it’s a source of great pride that it has been adopted by our friends in editorial.

Since then, we have supported countless causes and built commercial and editorial campaigns around International Women’s Day, Black History Month, Pride, Refugee Week and Earth Day. Supporting diverse communities and generating cash and awareness for our charity partners is absolutely the best thing about my job.

Question from Samera Mohmoud, commercial agency director for outdoor, Global

Peer question: What is it like to work with you?

I’d like to think that I encourage a “work hard, celebrate hard” mentality in the team. We love it when we win and we hate it when we don’t.

There is a real competitiveness and entrepreneurial spirit in the commercial team, but that is not at the cost of us always being collaborative.

We invest time and resources into doing things together as a team and, as a result, we’ve built a really strong and exciting culture at The Independent.

Question from Seth Hart, SVP sales, Footballco

Read more Fishbowl interviews here and see what media’s top salespeople say about working in the industry and what concerns their clients. To suggest an interviewee, contact ella.sagar@uk.adwanted.com.

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