Direct spend makes difference as papers' revenue tide turns

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Marginal advertising growth in national newspapers and a 10.1 per cent increase in digital ad spend have been hailed as a "renaissance" of Australia's news brands.

First quarter News Media Index figures - based on data collated by Standard Media Index - show positive growth. National newspapers grew by 0.1 per cent to $16.95 million, reversing the decline of the previous corresponding quarter. The 10.1 per cent increase in digital revenues to $118.46 million, included programmatic which grew by 46.9 per cent.

Decline of Australia's news media sector has "significantly moderated", with the total news media ad spend back just 7.3 per cent in the quarter to $448.23 million. This is well below the latest SMI agency-only ad spend data, which showed a sector decline of 19.4 per cent.

The results again highlight the difference between the agency and direct ad revenue markets, with direct ad spend now accounting for 58.3 per cent of all news media advertising. While SMI data is based on agency spending only, the quarterly NMI figures report all print and digital ad revenue to NewsMediaWorks members News Corp Australia, Fairfax Media, West Australian Newspapers and Community Newspaper Group (WA).

News Media Index by media type

Q1 2018

Q1 2017

% change YOY

Print

$317.85m

$359.4m

-11.6%

Digital

$118.46m

$107.6m

+10.1%

NIMs

$11.9m

$16.2m

-26.7%

Total Industry

$448.23m

$483.3m

-7.3%

NewsMediaWorks chief executive Peter Miller says advertisers are now realising what consumers have known all along: "The latest News Media Index signals a renaissance of trusted news brands as reliable and credible sources for Australian consumers, with the month of March looking particularly strong."

SMI Australasia managing director Jane Ractliffe says sustained growth in digital media ensured the industry continues to lead all other media in relation to the commercialisation of its content online. Digital bookings now represented 26.6 per cent of all news media revenues in the quarter compared to 22.3 per cent in the same period last year.

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