Newspapers could lose a painful $40mn in advertising revenue if other state and federal governments follow Daniel Andrews’s decision to pull print advertising.
According to data from the SMI, in 2022 federal governments spent $40m placing government ads in major city newspapers. They also spent $5m in digital advertising including the heraldsun.com.au and theage.com.au.
Earlier this week the Victorian government, led by Daniel Andrews, said it would cease print advertising in Melbourne newspapers from the 1 July due to dwindling print figures.
The move prompted a furious response from the Murdoch-owned Herald Sun which asked for clarification on a series of points such as whether this would include a ban on important public service announcements.
According to The Guardian, the Victorian government spent 9.6 per cent of its advertising budget on print in 2021-2022 – down from 22 per cent in 2014-2015. Meanwhile, its digital ad spend has been growing from 22 per cent a decade ago to 45 per cent.
Andrews said print advertising was no longer providing value for money for taxpayers compared to other mediums.
“We’re not making any apology for focusing our efforts much more acutely on online, digital, television – that’s where the audience is,” Andrews said on Tuesday. “That’s where the return on investment for taxpayers is.”
Michael Miller, executive chairman at News Corp Austalia, said the move showed “disdain” for the people of Victoria.
“The Andrew’s government’s move to deny 2.6m Victorian readers of newspapers important information through public notice advertising shows disdain for the needs of the people it is meant to serve,” he said in a LinkedIn post.
He accused the government of seeking to punish those that challenge it.
“The numbers don’t add up. It is hard to see this directive as anything other than an act of spite against those who dare hold it to account”.
Andrews denied that this was the case, saying it will still advertise on their website.
“This is about where people get their information … and where there is maximum benefit,” Andrews said.