National newspapers in the UK are experiencing the best start to a year in almost a decade, thanks to a combination of factors including an advertiser backlash against Facebook and Google.
Print display advertising in the national newspaper market rose 1% to £153m in the first quarter of 2018, the first time there has been an increase since the last quarter of 2010. The growth was delivered by advertisers targeting the popular titles, such as the Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Daily Express and Metro, whose combined print display advertising rose 2.8% in the first quarter to £77.8m according to research from the Advertising Association and Warc.
In the quality market, which includes the Times, Telegraph, Financial Times and Guardian, print display advertising fell 0.3% to £48m – the best quarterly performance in seven years.
Overall for the full year, the report is forecasting the national newspaper market will fall 1.3%, again the best performance since 2010.
“There is a renewed optimism and verve sweeping through the publishing market for the first time in many years,” said Adam Crow, the head of publishing investment at WPP-owned media agency MediaCom. “The market is a hive of activity from an advertiser investment perspective.”
A number of factors have fuelled the improved performance, including a view among advertisers that they have pushed too much of their ad spend into social media.
After issues including trust and brand safety, with ads running around inappropriate content, multinationals including Procter & Gamble and Unilever, the world’s two biggest spenders on advertising, have been reassessing their spending with companies such as Facebook.
Recently, Times and Sun owners News UK, the Guardian and Telegraph announced a joint digital advertising sales venture, called Ozone, to offer advertisers more scale to better compete with Facebook and others. There has also been a lot of work developing a measurement system called Pamco to give advertisers the full picture of sales and readership of titles online and in print.