Digital news media revenue grew by 6.2 per cent in the March quarter of 2017, while print declined by 14.7 per cent in the same period, largely driven by the ongoing reduction in media agency bookings.
Print revenue, however, continues to account for around 77 of total sector ad revenue, highlighting the ongoing imperative for news media organisations not to dump their printed products.
The biggest concern for the industry is over programmatic placement of ads, which sees ads auto placed on websites somwetimes next to totally inappropriate stories, which has led to brand damage and the withdrawal of advertising.
The News Media Index, which reports all print and digital ad revenue to news media publishers from agencies and direct clients, is independently verified by SMI.
The latest data shows premium news media websites attracted less than 10 per cent of the total programmatic ad market’s revenue in the March quarter despite reaching 70 per cent, or 13 million, Australians aged 14+ each month.
NewsMediaWorks chairman Michael Miller said the News Media Index results supported advertisers’ growing concerns regarding programmatic placement of ads.
“With advertisers airing brand safety concerns relating to inappropriate ad placement via programmatic, it is worrying to learn that a vast majority of programmatic advertising is still being placed on unsafe ad networks and questionable long-tail sites, many with ineffective or non-existent editorial standards and environments,” he says.
“News media’s mass reaching print and digital offering continues to give advertisers the confidence that their messages are being published in premium, brand safe environments where consumers value and trust the content. We call upon advertisers to reconsider whether the short term results delivered by low quality digital environments are actually causing long term harm to their brands.”
Brands can also have confidence in news media’s audience measurement system, emma (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia), which is provided by reputable and independent global research companies Ipsos and Nielsen and is independently audited by Dr Rob Hall.
Miller says that in an era of fake news, ad fraud, viewability concerns and fabricated first-party metrics, news media’s ability to deliver trusted and credible environments for brands warrants reconsideration by Australian advertisers.
SMI AU/NZ Managing Director, Jane Schulze, said the NMI data showed the share of programmatic ad spend being attributed to quality websites grew only marginally from the December 2016 to the March 2017 quarter.
“Given the concerns about brand safety voiced by many experienced advertisers we were expecting to see a much larger shift in programmatic spending to quality brand-safe environments this quarter,’’ Schulze said.
“The reality is that there are very few companies publishing quality editorial content online, so we can only think that as this debate kicked off early in the quarter there is a lag in making any changes and we will see a higher programmatic share for quality sites in the June quarter data.’’
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