Digital advertising boosts total newspaper spend but print continues its revenue slide

Digital revenue growth is helping newspaper publishers recover from the constant decline in print advertising income, new News Media Index figures show.

According to the NMI data, which is collated by the Standard Media Index, total advertising spend fell by just 3.7% for the second quarter of 2018, compared to a 7.3% for the first quarter.

Print spend continues to decline but digital spend remains healthy

The recovery was, in part, due to spending of $135.1m in digital, up from $122m or 10.8% compared to the corresponding period last year. The biggest growth in digital came from programmatic, climbing 52% to $33.4m.

But print advertising spend continued to suffer, down 8.1% compared to this time last year. Total earnings in print advertising for quarter two was $343.5m.

Newspaper inserted magazines fell by more than 10%, from $17.7m in spend last year to $15.8m this year.

The data collected represents print and digital revenue from both agencies and direct advertisers to NewsMediaWorks’ members – News Corp, West Australian Newspapers, Fairfax Media, and Community Newspaper Group, WA.

According to NMI, 55% of news media advertising now comes from direct ad spend, but the media agency sector has ‘significantly improved’.

For Jane Ractliffe, managing director, Australia and New Zealand at SMI, the latest results suggest stabilisation of media agency spending, noting news media ad spend had the lowest decline since records began in 2014.

“For example, the NMI is reporting a 7.3% increase in agency bookings to Melbourne metropolitan mastheads and static agency spending for the Brisbane and Tasmanian mastheads,’’ she said.

“It’s another positive step in the turnaround we’re seeing in the print sector overall, accompanied by continued growth in digital ad spend.”

Peter Miller, CEO at NewsMediaWorks, said the results were “encouraging to say the least”.

“They indicate a long-awaited review by agencies of media investment priorities. Advertisers have in all likelihood been asking the hard questions about why they are spending big dollars to reach millions of bots on non-news websites,” Miller said.

“I think the sales operations of the news media companies deserve great credit. They are talking to advertisers directly about the power of newspapers and the value of premium websites, whilst investing heavily in their online presence.”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.