News media reporting increased ad spend in Q1, 2018


• Sector decline slows as advertisers return to trusted news brands

National newspapers have reported positive growth in advertising revenue in the first quarter of 2018, while digital ad spend improved by 10.1%, according to the latest News Media Index (NMI) with data collated by Standard Media Index (SMI).

National newspapers grew by 0.1% in Q1 2018 to $16.95 million, reversing the decline of the previous corresponding quarter. Digital revenues for news media publishers have grown 10.1% in Q1 to $118.46 million, with the largest growth evident in the programmatic market, which grew by 46.9%.

Australia’s news media sector remains the third-largest media sector and reported $2.02 billion in advertising revenue for the 12 months to December 31, 2017. The sector achieved total revenues of $1.46 billion for the nine months of the financial year-to-date.

NewsMediaWorks CEO Peter Miller

The industry’s overall decline has significantly moderated, with total news media ad spend back just 7.3% 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%.

The results again highlight the difference between the agency and direct ad revenue markets, with direct ad spend now accounting for 58.3% of all news media advertising.

Unlike the monthly SMI data, which reports agency-only revenue, the quarterly News Media Index reports all print and digital ad revenue to Australia’s largest news media publishers from both agencies and direct advertisers and is independently verified by SMI.

“Against a backdrop of fake news, government investigations of the social media giants and breaches of consumer privacy, 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,” NewsMediaWorks CEO, Peter Miller, said.

SMI AU/NZ managing director Jane Ractliffe

“For advertisers and consumers it shows that you are what you eat. A diet of junk news may give you a quick fix, but a healthy, balanced diet of quality news and investigative journalism results in better long-term benefits. That’s why 90% of the population read news media every month and the sector remains unchallenged as the most trusted media channel for content and ads. That fact is being realised in the latest News Media Index, the most accurate picture of ad spend.”

SMI AU/NZ managing director Jane Ractliffe said it was heartening to see an improvement in the industry’s overall decline, and such a strong level of growth in ad spend to digital news media.

“And the sustained growth in digital media has also ensured the industry continues to lead all other media in relation to the commercialisation of its content online, with digital bookings now representing 26.6% of all news media revenues in this quarter compared to 22.3% in the same period last year,” she said.


1. The revenue data is taken from NewsMediaWorks’ members, News Corp Australia, Fairfax Media, West Australian Newspapers and Community Newspaper Group, WA, who represent around 90% of the news media sector.

2. Galaxy Research online questionnaire, June 2017 was conducted among a nationally representative sample of 2,863 Australians aged 18 years and older. View full results at

3. emma (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia), 12 months to February 2018. Readership based on last four weeks. Trends compared with 12 months to February 2017. Survey conducted by Ipsos Connect, people 14+, Nielsen Digital Ratings (Monthly), February 2018.

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