One third of Australians will view advertising in exchange for good-quality news, Galaxy Research suggests

A third of Australians would be ‘happy’ to view advertising if they received good-quality news, a new study conducted by Galaxy Research has revealed.

Commissioned by PR agency Red Agency, the report showed 32% of Australians would view advertising to receive good-quality news, while Millennials were most likely to say consumers should pay for access to quality news content.

Other results suggest 93% of Australians still want good-quality investigative journalism, with just 3% of Australians believing all the news they read online is the truth, and 16% believing most or all online news was fake.

The research follows a series of redundancies by Fairfax Media and News Corp, earlier this year.

The research noted Millennials, who have grown-up with paid subscription services such as Netflix and Spotify were the age group most likely to say consumers should pay for access to quality news services – at 29%.

Speaking with Mumbrella, James Wright CEO of Red Agency said he was surprised so many had admitted to wanting to pay for “good-quality journalism”.

“The change in the tide with this emergence of fake news has led to people actually wanting a bit more recognising the crucial role journalism plays in society and the need for authentic unbiased reporting,” he said. 

With only 3% of Australians believing all the news they read online is the truth, Wright said digital publishers had a responsibility to tackle the issue.

“There is a responsibility that digital publishers need to recognise. But there’s a balance here, because essentially they’re trying to deliver quick advertising dollars in a time when advertising dollars are hard to come by. Hopefully the media reform packages will help address this.

“This issue of clickbait – or propaganda by a different name, in terms of fake news – is something that’s proliferated over the last couple of years, and people are not just securing their news through traditional news brands but obviously from all sorts of news platforms that wash through our social feeds day in, day out,” he said.

Commenting on the challenges Millennials bring to the future of quality journalism, Wright added: “They grew up in a world where everything was one click away so moving from a library to Wikipedia to being able to learn information, and be able to find information.

“There’s an education issue here that is much bigger in society around ensuring people do actually do the hard yards to learn.

“It’s almost like everyone has a little bit of knowledge about everything now.

“The emotion and the agenda is going to start to come into play, and what I mean by that is if you have a point of view, then you actually want to seek out that point of view to re-affirm it, and not necessarily going to find a more unbiased objective perspective” he said.

“It’s very hard to find any news outlet, anywhere that is truly unbiased.”

Wright is surprised people have admitted to wanting to pay for good-quality journalism

Additional results suggest one in three Australians believe good-quality journalism should be funded through collaboration between all news providers, in order to make journalism more efficient.

Wright believes doing so is easier said than done.

“It’s a complicated one, because of course everyone is a competitor and the majority are competing with each other. Or is there a way that you have non competing channels and pull them together to work harder together?

“It has to be driven by the agents of change and you expect that to be government. The problem is the government is being quite slow to the table. These media reform packages have been on the cards for a number of years, and eventually now it’s come to the floor, and we will look at what that means in practice and whether it has the desired effect everybody hopes to,” he said.

“Journalism plays a crucial role – has always played a crucial role – in society, but there’s no point in crying about how journalism is changing. The world is changing and it’s about how journalism can change with it.

Commenting on funding investigative journalism, Wright said advertising doesn’t have to be the “only strategy”.

“Government funding, academia, public support are certainly options that we should be exploring. I’m very surprised the industry hasn’t experimented more with different funding models.

“You cannot cut your way to success. It’s not a strategy. If you are cutting because you are losing jobs because it’s being automated or driving value and profitability into your business fair enough, but it’s death by a thousand cuts at the minute.

“We all have a role to play, agencies, brands, governments, media, to ensure that we address the balance and the importance of good-quality journalism as the fabric of our society,” he said.

“We need to get back to that, because that’s a crucial pillar in a democracy.”


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