Fairfax Media, News Corp Australia and Nine are working together to create authenticated audience IDs which will allow advertisers to target audiences based on identity, not cookies.

The three publishers have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the development of an anonymised digital identity co-operative. After an initial planning and consultation stage, the new co-operative plans to launch in the first half of 2018.

By combining their audience data, which has a combined reach of 15 million Australians, the co-op says advertisers will be able to better target audiences across their digital media properties.

“Collaboration between publishers aimed at providing advertisers the opportunity to move beyond cookies and target identities just makes sense,” said Nicole Sheffield News Corp Australia’s Chief Digital Officer.

“As Australian content creators it’s incumbent on us more than ever to ensure our audiences, data, content and now identity are being properly harnessed for marketers by Australians.”

The partnership will allow the publishers to mount a challenge to the global ad giants. Facebook’s big selling point has long been its ad targeting capabilities based on user IDs. Facebook says its targeting is getting better, driving the cost of its ads up as the available inventory in its Newsfeed plateaus.

Michael Stephenson Nine’s Chief Sales Officer said the partnership would deliver addressable advertising at scale in brand safe environments.

“This combination of Australian publishers will offer a real alternative to the global players for our advertisers and agency partners,” Stephenson said.

Chris Janz, Fairfax Media Managing Director of Australian Metro Publishing, said the initiative will streamline the way marketers can leverage a depth of quality data from content publishers.

Earlier this week Fairfax announced it plans to work with Google on digital advertising, technology and product development.

“We are bringing the very best that Fairfax has to offer together with the smarts and capability of Google. The result will be a stronger Fairfax Media and continued investment in journalism,” Janz said.

News Corp has also been busy this week, signing a data sharing deal with Realestate.com to help advertisers better target audiences across the two sites.

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