Australia’s news media sector has reported a double-digit drop in ad revenue for the last financial year, with premium news media websites continuing to struggle in the programmatic sector.
According to the latest News Media Index (NMI), the news media sector posted $2.1 billion in advertising revenue for the last financial year – down 10.9 per cent on the 12 months prior.
Print saw the biggest decline during the 2016-17 fiscal year, down 14.5 per cent to $1.56 billion, while digital news media revenue was up 7.5 per cent during the 2016-17 fiscal year to $463 million, while direct advertisers’ support of national titles grew 4.5 per cent.
Revenue from direct advertisers now accounts for 53.8 per cent (up from 51.1 per cent), while print represents 77 per cent of total sector revenue.
The data – collated by Standard Media Index (SMI) – shows that news remains the third largest media sector based on advertising revenue.
The latest NMI data shows that premium news media websites attracted less than 11 per cent of the total programmatic ad market’s revenue in the latest quarter, despite reaching 70 per cent of Aussies aged 14 years and over each month.
Newly-appointed NewsMediaWorks CEO Peter Miller said the NMI shows a trend that premium websites are underrepresented in programmatic revenue as advertisers chase quantity over quality and safety of ad placement.
“Branding has never simply been a numbers game,” he said. “Too often, the impression you buy via third-party ad networks is not the impression you leave your customer.
“The reputational risk that automated placement of ads on third-party networks and alongside user-generated content needs to be addressed. Unlike premium news brands, these sites offer little or no editorial standards or quality control.
“We need to push the reset button on perceptions of news media and ask advertisers and their advisers take a fresh and objective look at the sector.
“News media continues to deliver large, highly-engaged audiences who trust their preferred news source. Digital readership continues to grow, and in a number of cases, print readership has also bucked the trend.”
SMI AU/NZ managing director Jane Schulze said: “Given the ongoing concerns around brand safety, it was surprising to see no marked difference in the level of programmatic advertising being directed towards premium news media.”
Unlike the monthly SMI data which reports agency only revenue, the quarterly NMI
reports all print and digital ad revenue to Australia’s largest news media publishers* from both
agencies and direct advertisers, and is independently verified by SMI.
*The revenue data is taken from NewsMediaWorks’ foundation members, News Corp Australia,
Fairfax Media and West Australian Newspapers, who represent around 90 per cent of the news media