Government Advised to Choose Local Media Over Tech Platforms for Ads

Local publishing boss Danny Cammiade criticised the government for advertising more on tech platforms than local media. He’s not alone in his concerns. Local and regional media ask the same questions: Why does the government favour tech platforms over trusted local sources?

Danny, CEO of Tindle Newspapers and a non-executive director of National World, wrote in Media Leader, “Local news offers so much to advertisers. Trust, a strength of local news, matters now more than ever for brand success.” He cited the ‘All Together’ campaign during the pandemic, where the government recognised local media’s value. Still, the current spending pattern doesn’t align with this recognition.

Fresh data from Jicreg reveals that 42 million people engage with local news monthly. That’s 77% of the GB population over 15 years. This huge number underlines the deep connection local communities have with regional news. Reach’s local titles even outdo social platforms like Instagram and TikTok in terms of traffic.

The Promise of Local Media

The news industry is showing strong numbers, indicating people’s hunger for local news. But there’s more to the story. The Public Notice Portal is a brilliant example of innovation. It’s a platform that extends the reach of public notices, increasing engagement with the public. Developed after extensive consumer research and discussions with authorities, it received £1m support from the Google News Initiative.

Local news media’s contribution to society, especially in the realm of democracy, doesn’t get its due value. Brands are missing profits by not investing enough in news brands. For instance, a 2021 study by Newsworks found that brands were missing out on £2.7bn of possible profit ROI due to this under-investment.

Peter Field, an expert on effectiveness, found that trust in news brands directly links to advertiser profit growth. And in today’s age, misinformation is everywhere. Danny adds, “Bad actors use AI to spread false information. We offer trusted local news. So, trust matters for brands.”

Big Tech’s Influence Over Local Journalism

Local radio and TV stations serve as the backbone of communities. They bring essential news right from exposing corrupt practices to updating residents about weather events. Their stories transition from traditional broadcasts to online platforms.

However, massive platforms like Google and Facebook now dominate the space. They don’t just overshadow local stations in size. They control online content access and influence how advertisers reach their audience.

News production isn’t cheap. Local stations invest a lot to maintain reporters within communities. These stations now face a serious issue. Big platforms make money using content produced by local journalists without offering fair compensation.


Taking Matters to the Authorities

To address this imbalance, members of Congress discuss solutions to allow better negotiations between broadcasters and these large platforms. They’re considering support for the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act.

Local Journalism’s Cost

You might think platforms like Facebook and Google help local news reach more people, but there’s more to it. These platforms make profits using advertisements and sponsored content related to this news, and they control how much of that profit gets shared with content creators.

Local broadcasters get only a fraction of the ad revenue from platforms like YouTube and Facebook. Reports suggest broadcasters lose billions by providing content to these platforms. The sheer size of these platforms gives them unfair bargaining power. An incident with Facebook blocking news from Australia highlights this issue.

What’s At Stake?

Without ad revenue support, local newsrooms might see significant reductions. A community without its voice faces problems. It can lead to less community engagement, reduced voter turnout, and even an increase in crime.

Misinformation spreads fast on social media. It’s crucial to ensure trustworthy news sources remain accessible and valued.

Danny ends his note with a call to action, “Advertisers and media agencies, think about what local media can offer. Together, we can support local journalism, which benefits communities all over Great Britain.”