Newspaper industry body The Newspaper Works, responsible for promoting print papers, will no longer have the word newspaper in its title. But the body has also confirmed that newsprint is still crucial to media outlets’ bottom lines.
NewsMediaWorks, as the rebranded body is called, changed its name to signal “ongoing co-operation and momentum within the news media sector and changes the conversation as publishers diversify their revenues and commercial partnerships,” chairman Michael Miller is quoted as saying in the release. Miller, a former CEO of APN (which is in the process of divesting from print), is also the CEO of News Corp Australia.
Despite the name change, however, a new index unveiled by the body reveals print is still king. At least, according to the aggregated internal revenue data of the four major newspaper publishers who formed the body in 2006.
The News Media Index pulls revenue data from News Corp, Fairfax, West Australian Newspapers and APN News and Media to provide a quarterly update on how much advertising is being booked through these media organisations, which together represent around 90% of the sector.
The inaugural release shows total ad revenues in calendar year 2015 and compares the first quarter of 2016 to those of the first quarter last year. That roundup suggests together the four publishers booked $2.4 billion of ad revenues in 2015. But a full $2 billion of this went to their print products ($1.922 billion to newspapers and another $85 million to “NIMs” — newspaper inserted magazines).
Total industry ad revenues are down 5.2% over the year, with NIMs taking the biggest hit. It’s a slightly better result than 2015, when ad revenues were down 6.7% compared to 2014.
Miller said the data, “powered” by Standard Media Index, “responds to requests of advertisers and investors to reveal that the Australian news media sector has been significantly undervalued by independent analysts”. “It confirms the uniqueness and value of news media brands as successful business partners.” The Oz’s report notes the 5.2% yearly decline is significantly below previous industry estimates, and concludes the figures paint “a picture of a newspaper industry in rude health”. Which might be news to some of the body’s members …