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Money talks – you just need to listen
Editorial by NewsMediaWorks CEO Mark Hollands
A partnership with Standard Media Index (SMI) has been forged by NewsMediaWorks to correct industry misconceptions about the future of news media publishing and to demonstrate its revenue strength.
SMI now measures the revenues of the four major news publishers every quarter, using the same methods that underpin its respected agency revenue analysis.
The industry generated ad revenue of $2.4 billion in FY15, with newspapers generating almost 80 per cent of that number.
This total far outstrips radio, outdoor and magazines.
TV and digital booked more but if cash from newspaper circulation were added to the total, news media would approach Free-to-Air revenues.
It’s an important number because time and again marketers’ decisions are swayed by their own confidence in a sector.
The hurdy-gurdy of any industry-scale transformation will create questions among buyers that are not easily answered.
The narrative of news media has been one of new technologies, competitors and industry-scale transformation with its accompanying travails, such as takeovers, closures, re-calibrating strategies, redundancies and all the uncertainties that come along for the ride.
The market, however, has not backed away from the sector with anything like the speed that is generally assumed, or spruiked by the digirati.
Ad revenues fell 6.7 per cent – not ideal but hardly a result worthy of endless, angst-ridden discussion. In Q1, ad revenue dipped 5.2 per cent compared with the corresponding period in 2015.
For media agencies, which put such store in data, these results do not explain the degree of negativity, especially towards print.
Arguably, too much linkage is made between structural change and presumed revenue performance.
Regardless of the money situation, news media companies are making tough decisions about managing their print business while developing digital strategies. This should not dent confidence but reassure buyers the channel is up for the challenge.
Consumer tech and cheaper data plans have given publishers’ audiences the greatest choice of how and where they consume content. Readership figures show that across all platforms news publishers have never reached so many people so frequently.
Print remains the most popular platform – so, advertisers are crazy to dismiss it.
The data says newspapers will not hold that position forever, which is why publishers are moving resources and investment to capitalise on digital opportunities.
It might look brutal, but publishers’ transformation to a mixed portfolio of print and digital assets is just that – a brutal business where some strategies and skills become redundant and new ones emerge.
To go through this process and still achieve the current levels of revenue is a feat and should inspire confidence.
As commentators such as Mark Ritson question the performance of Facebook and Twitter, marketers and their agencies should be open to such sceptics and also appreciate the con dence that exists among thousands of advertisers who profit from a $2.4 billion news media sector.
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