News media ad spend decline slows but falls under $500m in final quarter

Advertising spend in news media fell below $500m for the final quarter of 2018, but decline is occurring at a much slower rate, the News Media Index figures show.

According to results for the final quarter of 2018, total news media spend fell 6% year on year, to revenue of $487.2m. The final quarter contribution resulted in a 6% year on year decline for calendar year 2018, with total revenue from newspaper advertising spend at $1.89b.

News Media Index results for Q4

In the final quarter of 2017, ad spend had declined 9% year on year, from revenue of $576.8m to $519.8m. From December 2016 to December 2017, total ad spend in news media was $2.02b.

The quarterly News Media Index report accounts for all print and digital advertising revenue for Australia’s news media publishers from both agencies and direct advertisers. It is independently verified by SMI.

According to the latest figures, metro newspapers remained relatively stable, sliding 3.2% for the final quarter to $155.36m. But overall print newspaper spend was down by 10% year on year. Digital spend continued to climb, up 6% from $133.93m to $141.93m. The biggest fall came from the newspaper inserts, with a fall of 16% to $15.76m for the quarter.

The NMI has attributed decline in the December quarter to difficult market conditions in October and November, adding the same time the previous year included the same sex marriage advertising spend.

Newspapers remain the third largest media sector, base on advertising revenue.

NewsMediaWorks CEO, Peter Miller, said the latest figures were “good news” for the industry.

“Once again we have seen low single digit negative growth in news media advertising expenditure of -6.2%, built on the strong performance of the big metropolitan titles, the core of the sector’s business, which were back only -3.2%,” Miller said.

“Digital news media grew by +6% as advertisers seek to support their brands by advertising in trusted, authentic, reliable news environments rather than throwing hard won budgets at the ropey long tail of the web and the even ropier social channels.

“I think what are seeing here is the result of a reappraisal by advertisers and their agencies, and a return flight to quality.”

SMI AU/NZ managing director Jane Ractliffe said the news media industry is a major driver of digital media spend.

“When comparing the agency-only SMI data to the NMI data we can see that advertisers are growing their digital investment to news media websites at a far faster pace than that of the broader digital market.

“For example, digital ad spend in the NMI grew 21.4% in December but SMI’s agency data for the same period shows digital spending back 4.6%. In Q4 NMI digital ad spend was up 6% while in the SMI agency data total digital spend was back 0.8%. For the full calendar year, NMI digital ad spend has grown 8.7% while in the SMI data it’s up a lesser 5.8%.”


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