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Newspaper Works rebrands to NewsMediaWorks, partners with SMI to launch ad revenue index

The industry body for Australia’s major newspaper groups, The Newspaper Works has officially ditched the newspaper title, rebranding as NewsMediaWorks as the body launches its own index to report industry advertising revenue.

NEWS MEDIA WORKS_STACKED LOGOThe newly-named News Media Works has partnered with Standard Media Index (SMI) in an effort to “enhance commercial transparency for advertisers and investors”. The deal means publishers will now reveal details of direct ad bookings to SMI, which accounts for the major media agency spend, which publishers claim has undervalued their commercial performance.

Michael Miller, chairman of NewsMediaWorks and chairman of News Corp Australia, told a media briefing today: “The News Media Index addresses requests from advertisers and investors that the Australian news media sector has been significantly undervalued by independent analysts.

“The results reinforce the health of the industry and reinforces our confidence in its future as we grow digital revenues.”

According to the first figures from the quarterly News Media Index, the news media industry accounted for $2.4b in advertising revenue last year, down 6.7% on 2014.

For the first quarter of this calendar year, the total industry has accounted for $533,075,340, 5.2% down on the corresponding period of 2015.

The revenue data is taken from NewsMediaWorks’ foundation members News Corp Australia, Fairfax Media, West Australian Newspapers and APN News & Media.

The News Media Index reveals spend in print and in digital.

Greg Hywood, Neil Monaghan, Jane Schulze and Michael Miller

Greg Hywood, Neil Monaghan, Jane Schulze and Michael Miller

“This is not self-claimed data but independently verified. All publishers have provided SMI with access to their financial and booking systems,” explained Miller.

SMI Australia and New Zealand managing director Jane Schulze said: “News media is a highly trusted source of information, so it makes sense for the industry to also publish robust, accurate data on the sector’s advertising revenue.”

The news is also a shot in the arm for SMI after one of the major media agency groups, IPG Mediabrands, withdrew its numbers from it last month.

Miller said the rebrand and the introduction of the News Media Index shows the industry is not just newspapers.

“Today’s announcement is a reflection of transition of both audiences and revenues over a period of time. It’s not an ambition, it’s a reality that we are a news media industry not just a newspaper industry,” he said.

“The launch of News Media Index addresses some of the misconceptions in market not just around the health and viability but the usability of the industry.”

Miller said there are no plans for NewsMediaWorks to develop an index that reports an industry view of revenue from subscriptions.

“The industry doesn’t have an audience issue. We have a very robust and growing audience and what we’ve been challenged with is a revenue issue,” he said.

While the rebrand suggests a more inclusive organisation including more than just newspaper companies, Miller rejected the idea that the rebrand is about a membership drive.

“The four foundation media companies are 90% of the news media company. That shows we’re doing the job for all in many ways and we’re not on a membership drive in anyway,” he said.

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