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Newspaper ads up, magazines ads plummet

Wednesday, 03 October 2018
By Jake Nelson

Ad spend in newspapers is up for the first time in three years, magazine ads plummet.

Ad spend in newspapers has increased for the first time in three years, according to the latest figures from the Standard Media Index (SMI), while magazine ads dropped sharply, down by more than a quarter.

The report shows 2.7 percent year on year growth in newspaper bookings in August, fuelled by an 11.1 percent increase in agency spend across metropolitan titles. This arrests the major decline shown for the previous two months: in June newspaper ads slumped by 5.1 per cent, in July they were down by even more seven per cent.

Over the same period, outdoor media was among the strongest performers with 22 per cent growth, while magazines crashed to a 28.3 per cent decline in bookings.

Regional press bookings were also up year on year. Outdoor media is still surging, up by a remarkable 22 per cent.

SMI’s data covers spending on behalf of brands by media agencies and does not cover advertising bought directly by clients. It also does not include data from IPG Mediabrands.

Jane Ractliffe, SMI: Good omen

According to Jane Ractliffe, managing director at SMI Australia and New Zealand, the growth in newspaper ad spend was one of the main takeaways from the August figures. “The print editions of newspapers have clearly been the media sector most affected by digital disruption, but to the industry’s credit they have continued to invest in their businesses in difficult times and now it’s paying off,” she said.

The turnaround has been underway for a while, says Ratcliffe. “We’ve seen far lower declines in newspaper bookings from agencies for the past four months, with each monthly decline being less than four per cent, and clearly that improved momentum has continued with the August figures now in positive territory.

“To have the largest print sector of metropolitan press drive the turnaround augers well for the trend continuing,” she said.

The upturn comes amid a background of upheaval and uncertainty in the newspaper industry, with Fairfax Media selling to Nine Entertainment Co and sharing press facilities with News Corporation in Australia. Some 100 printing jobs were lost when two Fairfax sites in NSW and Queensland closed down, while in New Zealand, the Court of Appeals knocked back a bid for NZME to take over Stuff, Fairfax’s NZ arm.

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