October 28, 2014 Last Updated 9:26 am

The Guardian optimistically says ‘UK newspaper ad revenue returns to growth’

UK ad group report predicts 1 percent rise in ad revenue for UK newspapers, Guardian editors jumps the gun a bit and report it as a done deal

Looking for a bit of good news, The Guardian reported today that “UK newspaper ad revenue returns to growth as digital income surges.’ This would be incredibly good news if were not for the fact that the story is actually about ad revenue forecasts for 2015, not about actual performance.

The basis for the story was a report by Advertising Association/Warc (PDF) which forecast that advertising expenditures will growth in 2014, forecasting a 6.4 percent growth rate for UK media. Television and the Internet will be the chief beneficiary of the growing ad spending, increasing 7.8 percent and 15.1 percent respectively. National “newsbrands” will see their ad revenue fall 2.8 percent, however. But the report predicts a 1 percent growth for 2015.

“Growth at twice the rate of UK GDP is quite a headline, but the real story is of digital and creative leadership in e-commerce. As the Eurozone wobbles, it’s a reminder that our consumer economy is central to the UK’s economic narrative,” Tim Lefroy, Chief Executive at the Advertising Association said.

From there The Guardian took the forecast and splashed its headline. (It’s headline conveniently ignored the forecast for regional news brands with was that ad revenue would fall 4.3 percent, though it did mention it in the story.)

Lately, there has been a trend developing where media companies and organizations have been working hard to find some bits of good news, announcing new surveys that show growth rather than simply reporting the actual numbers. If the facts don’t appeal to you, depend on surveys.

This is not a good trend, and one that is guaranteed to bite the media in the behind if they are not careful.


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