Australia’s major newspaper groups have reported their lowest quarterly ad spend decline since the news media index was launched in 2014.
In Q2, the total ad spend was down 3.7% to $494.4 million compared to the same period in 2017. This is significantly less than the 7.3% drop in the first quarter.
Digital advertising revenue had year-on-year growth of 10.8% to $135.1 million, driven by strong gains in programmatic (up 52% to $33.4 million). Print advertising declined 8.1% to $343.5 million and inserts revenue dropped 11.1% to $15.8 million.
Metropolitan newspapers had the least decline with advertising revenue down 2.9%.
Newspapers reported direct ad spend growth of 5.5% with direct advertising now accounting for 55% of the total news media advertising.
The News Media Index provides sales data for News Corp, Fairfax Media (which could soon be bought by Nine), West Australian Newspapers and Community Newspaper Group, which represents 90% of the news media sector.
These results suggest a turnaround in the declines of news media advertising spend this year.
NewsMediaWorks CEO Peter Miller said the figures indicate a review by agencies of their 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. And they are doing excellent work developing strategic proposals for advertisers across print, digital and video and producing top-class branded content.”
SMI AUNZ managing director Jane Ratcliffe said there has been a stabilisation in media agency bookings for news media advertising, particularly in print.
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