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Newspapers saw adspend plummet by 26.3% in April

Australia’s newspaper industry was last month hit by another dramatic fall in revenue.

According to preliminary figures from Standard Media Index, newspapers saw adspend fall by 26.3% in April compared to the same period in 2016.

The plummeting revenues are a major factor in radical cost cutting programs currently unfolding at Fairfax Media and News Corp.

Fairfax – publisher of the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the AFR as well as regional titles – is cutting around a quarter of its metro editorial staff. News Corp – which publishes daily metro titles as well as The Australian and local papers – is axing many of its subs and photographers.

The poor numbers showcased today by SMI would already have been visible to bosses at Fairfax and News Corp when they outlined their radical cuts.

SMI covers advertising spend by media agencies on behalf of their clients, but does not include direct advertisers.

While the year-on-year comparison for the falling adspend may have been slightly exacerbated by Easter falling a month later this year, in March the figures for newspapers still fell by 25%.

The preliminary numbers also generally rise slightly once agencies have paid for late bookings. This will be likely to bring back the newspaper decline to around 22%.

Elsewhere in the print sector, magazines are also struggling, with revenues down 21.2%. This was a worsening on March’s 16.4% fall for magazines.

Television saw a 6.6% year-on-year fall in April.

Digital showed a 9% drop in the preliminary numbers, although data for the sector is usually revised upwards later.

Outdoor and radio both recorded 5.5% rises. Cinema advertising, the smallest medium, which makes it subject to bigger fluctuations, rose 32.9%.

According to SMI, the media agency market saw spending fall by an average of 6.8%, taking it to $501.9m for the month.

According to SMI, ad spend for the first ten months  of the financial year to date is currently up 0.4%, while spend for the 2017 calendar year is so far down 0.6%.

Another drag on the numbers was strong pre-election spending in the government sector in 2016, which was down by 26.7% this month.

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