Media buyers on guard as newspaper sales deteriorate

Media buyers on guard as newspaper sales deteriorate
SHARE
THIS



Media buyers and analysts have reacted with concern but little surprise to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) figures that show newspaper and magazine sales in Australia continue to plummet.

The universal opinion is that an accelerated decline in circulations, led by Fairfax, was expected but nonetheless very worrying for the industry.

"This is not a good audit, but pretty much expected,” said Steve Allen, managing director at Fusion Strategy, who added no title is immune from the almost across the board declines.

Allen described the figures as approximately three points worse off those in the December quarter and the poorest since the mergers and closures of the early 1980s, while he hailed the outstanding performance of the Australian Financial Review Weekend edition, which spiked by over 18% on last year.  

"The length of three plus years of really poor retail growth is accelerating a dire outlook for newspapers, from which they will not recover,” said Allen.

Sharb Farjami (pictured), COO at Mindshare Australasia, suggested the results are not quite as dismal as they first appear, due to people understanding that newspapers are going through a period of long term structural change.

“There is a long term consumer shift towards a more multifaceted consumption of news and until this stabilises the larger newspapers will continue to lose audience,” said Farjami.

“This, in and of itself, should not be a concern for media buyers as long as it is factored into their planning and their pricing. It is only when changes exceed expectations that it becomes a problem for media buyers. A good example of this is with the move to compact.”

Farjami added that anyone who was expecting this to lead to long term readership and circulation growth was “deluding themselves” and there is “no magic bullet” solution. He believes this was not Fairfax’s goal; rather it was an exercise in cost reduction in order to create a sustainable business model going forward with a secondary benefit of maybe retaining some readers.

Although Fairfax has yet to comment, News boss Kim Williams today defended ABC results, describing them as encouraging, stating they provide confirmation that consumers will pay for quality journalism on digital platforms.

“Consumers are willing to pay for quality journalism on digital platforms, so long as it suits their needs and lifestyles,” said Williams.

Ivo Kavelj, MediaComs head of implementation planning & investment, said publishers seem to be pinning their hopes that digital subscriptions will continue to rise.

“It looks like publishers are banking on digital uptake improving at some point in the future as people get used to different models being put out to market,” said Kavelj, who added that it will be interesting to see if Fairfax follows a similar route to News Limited’s new offering news+.

“They might sit and wait to see how news+ performs; there is a lot of speculation about what will happen."

Kavelj said newspapers will still get large audiences, but that we’re likely to see more and more push to digital, “to help ensure mastheads remain relevant”.

Maree Cullum, trading director of PHD Melbourne, agrees that were only going to see an increased migration to digital.

“We’ll wait to see the next set of figures which will incorporate the change to compact to see if this decline can be halted,” said Cullum. “But looking at the latest figures, the decline is continuing, with the numbers showing it is migrating to other areas. Publishers still have to introduce their paywalls as well, so we could see further declines across online once they’re introduced.

Nathan Cook, Maxus national trading director, called the deep dive in circulation a concern, but that the ABC Data did not show any abnormalities to the trends forecasted prior to its release.

He argued that Fairfax, despite the figures, enjoyed relatively solid Q1.

"Given the fact we’re seeing a greater diversity of clients engaging with their iPad app, such as the Sydney Morning Herald, it has worked quite well.” He agreed that the real challenge will start when the paywalls goes up. "The key will be trying to monetise those sites, because audiences will decrease, so they will have to try to strike that balance."

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

It’s Back! Naked’s Jon Burden Reveals All In The Return Of Video Series ‘The Ads I Wished I’d Made’
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns
  • Media

It’s Back! Naked’s Jon Burden Reveals All In The Return Of Video Series ‘The Ads I Wished I’d Made’

Welcome to the 2018’s triumphant return of B&T’s ongoing industry video series (partnered with video content superstars Redbikini) and all called the Ads I Wish I’d Made. And what better way to kick of the New Year than probing Naked Communication’s executive creative director Jon Burden on the ads and the media that inspired him and make him […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Macro Meats Urges Aussies To ‘Eat Roo Too’ With Digital Campaign & Rebrand Via Tiny Hunter
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

Macro Meats Urges Aussies To ‘Eat Roo Too’ With Digital Campaign & Rebrand Via Tiny Hunter

South Australia-based Macro Meats has rebranded its kangaroo meat from Gourmet Game to K-ROO in a bid to encourage people to incorporate the uniquely Aussie meat into their diets. The rebrand, by Sydney agency Tiny Hunter, has already resulted in a 20 per cent increase in sales. It includes messaging and a new visual look […]

Bauer’s Cosmo Named Official Mardi Gras Media Partner
  • Marketing
  • Media

Bauer’s Cosmo Named Official Mardi Gras Media Partner

Bauer Media has announced Cosmopolitan magazine as an official media partner of the 2018 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. COSMO’s Mardi Gras sponsorship will deliver a month-long celebration of activities in the Parade’s 40th anniversary year. In addition to the event sponsorship, COSMO is producing its second Pride Issue for March, on sale 5th […]

A Guide To Understanding Your Digital Marketer
  • Opinion

A Guide To Understanding Your Digital Marketer

In this guest column, Logie-nominated journalist, Leisa Goddard (main photo), who is also the managing director of media, PR and digital agency, Adoni Media, offers her personal guide to making your way through digital marketing buzzwords and gobbledygook… Do you feel as though your digital marketer speaks to you in a language you don’t understand? In today’s highly-competitive world […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
SpotX Appoints Gavin Buxton As Asia MD
  • Advertising

SpotX Appoints Gavin Buxton As Asia MD

Video advertising platform SpotX has announced it has appointed Gavin Buxton as managing director of Asia to lead the company’s expansion in the region. Buxton has over 17 years’ global experience in the digital advertising space, having worked in leadership roles at tech and publishing companies, including Microsoft, Turner Broadcasting, and LinkedIn, with the last […]

Big Mobile Doubles Down On Ad Tech & Rebrands
  • Advertising
  • Technology

Big Mobile Doubles Down On Ad Tech & Rebrands

B&T Awards 2017 finalist Big Mobile has unveiled a fresh look to reflect its new ad tech credentials. The company successfully pivoted its business from ad network to mobile ad tech vendor when it announced a joint venture (JV) with Widespace in October last year. As a result of the business changes, Big Mobile wanted […]

March One Appoints New Senior Account Manager
  • Advertising

March One Appoints New Senior Account Manager

Independent ad agency March One has appointed a fresh face to the team, with Melanie Tozer to reinforce its mission to put humans first as a senior account manager. Tozer (pictured above), an up-and-coming talent from New Zealand, will align her extensive experience in FMCG marketing with March One, having worked on accounts for Bunnings […]

What To Expect From The App Economy In 2018
  • Opinion
  • Technology

What To Expect From The App Economy In 2018

Here's an insightful, authoritative synopsis of the app economy. So, you're right, it wasn't written by a B&T journo.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Farm Foods Rebrands To Target Modern Aussie Families Via Tiny Hunter
  • Marketing

Farm Foods Rebrands To Target Modern Aussie Families Via Tiny Hunter

Seasoned meat supplier Farm Foods Butchers has rebranded its selection of sausages, burgers, meatballs and ready-to-cook meat products to appeal to the modern Aussie family. The 100 per cent family-owned and operated business based in Breakwater, Victoria worked with Sydney-based branding and packaging design company Tiny Hunter. Together, they created a brand which connects with […]

Animal Logic Shows Off New Website In Collaboration With Protein One
  • Marketing
  • Media

Animal Logic Shows Off New Website In Collaboration With Protein One

Aussie visual FX and feature animation studio Animal Logic has unveiled its new web experience – a reimagined website – in collaboration with Sydney digital agency Protein One. Animal Logic felt it was important to engage a local digital agency to represent its brand online. The company’s online personality was one that required a team […]

Raunchy Marathon Ad Causes Utter Confusion
  • Campaigns

Raunchy Marathon Ad Causes Utter Confusion

B&T likes to award the "dumbest ad of the day" with a 15-inch devon knob. And this would be a processed meats shoe-in.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine