Next Fifteen plans to build around first content marketing acquisition

PR group Next Fifteen is planning to push further into content marketing after acquiring Republic Publishing, according to chief executive Tim Dyson.

Nokia blog NokNok: produced by Next Fifteen's new acquisition Republic Publishing
Nokia blog NokNok: produced by Next Fifteen's new acquisition Republic Publishing

"Republic is the first content marketing agency we have bought but will not be the only one we have," Dyson told PRWeek.
"I think long-term we will build some pretty nice content marketing businesses across the group. Some of them will be spin-offs from our current businesses and some will simply stay within our current businesses."
Republic Publishing produces mainly digital content for clients including Nokia, Sharp and Red Bull, such as the mobile handset maker's official UK blog NokNok.
Next Fifteen bought 51 per cent of the company in January in a performance-related deal, worth a maximum of £5m, that includes the option to purchase the remainder over the next two to six years.
Dyson admitted there was an argument that Next Fifteen did not need to buy in expertise given that it already had a lot of good content people.
But he said he had been convinced of the value of buying in specialists by Next Fifteen’s experience four years ago of acquiring pure digital business Type 3 as part of creating Beyond.

"It was the combination that made Beyond as successful as it was as quickly as it was," Dyson said.
"We benefit from buying a business that does something well and learning a ton from that company so that when we do it ourselves we do it in the best possible way."

According to Dyson, Republic Publishing’s specialist skills are bringing together experts across a broad range of content – writing, photojournalism and video; understanding how to publish that content in the right kind of vehicle; and how to use content to build communities.

He believes this is useful to Next Fifteen because its clients are starting to put more thought into content, having used social channels to become publishers themselves.

"The big change for us is getting our clients to build a community around a digital content channel," he said.

"If they want to do online engagement properly they have to have a constant dialogue with their customers and that has to be a meaningful dialogue."
Dyson said in cases where clients were doing this well Next Fifteen benefitted from steadier revenue streams from content production and analytics and insight provision.

He was speaking after Next Fifteen revealed its revenues for the six months to 31 January had increased by 6 per cent to £49.3 million.

For the first time more than half of its revenues were produced by digital activity.

Dyson claimed that financial analysts were now optimistic about the company again after its profits warning and the resignation of its finance chief in October.

Its share price, which dropped from 92 pence to 70 pence at the time, is now at around the 110 pence level.

"The underlying performance of the business has come back into focus," Dyson said. "The analysts were waiting to make sure of that case before backing the stock."

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