Digital Publishing Top Stories
7 mins read

10 essential media stats from June 2019

beach with seagulls
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

New advertising projections for podcasting and kids digital media, BuzzFeed’s licensing strategy, news avoidance, and the impact of an algorithm change for the Daily Mail Online.

Here’s our regular round-up of the top 10 statistics from the past month:

1: US podcasting market to top $1 billion in 2021

The third annual Podcast Revenue Report by IAB and PwC predicts that this year, companies will spend $479 million to advertise on podcasts in the U.S., up from $314 million in 2017. 

By 2021, they anticipate revenues for the sector will be north of $1 billion a year.

The fastest growing genres for advertisers to target are News / Politics / Current Events (18.4%), Comedy (13.9%), Business (12.8%), Education (10.6%) and Arts & Entertainment (10%).

In terms of advertising products, Dynamically Inserted Ads increased from 41.7% to 48.8% of the ad mix, but edited-in / baked-in ads still represent the majority of podcast ads delivered in 2018. 

Meanwhile, Host-Reads Ads continue to be the preferred ad type, representing a little less than two-thirds of podcasting ad types in 2018. Announcer-Read / Pre-Produced Ads make up most of the other one-third.

Read more about this fast-growing genre in The Publisher’s Guide to Podcasting, a special insight report which we published this month, written by regular WNIP contributor and Media Voices podcast co-founder Esther Kezia Thorpe.

Image: US podcast advertising revenue growth. Source: IAB.

2: China’s Entertainment and Media market bigger than the US by 2023

PWC’s latest Global Entertainment & Media Outlook provided a wide range of insights for publishers. 

The authors predict that Virtual reality (VR), OTT and Internet advertising are the sectors which will see the fastest growth. “Video games, which are expected to get a lift from new 5G networks, are the principal driver of VR headset adoption,” they note

Alongside trends charting the continued emphasis on digital advertising (worth more than 50% of marketing/ad budgets by 2023, compared to 40.6% in 2018) and creating products for mobile, it’s the growth of emerging national markets that I found most interesting.

Although India is identified as “the market with the greatest growth,” China is set to overtake the US as the world’s largest entertainment and media market.

“Over the next five years, China’s absolute growth in will exceed that of the US for the first time,” the report says. “In that period, the US will add US$71bn (a 2.5% CAGR), while China will add US$84bn (a 7.7% CAGR).”

3: Americans spend more time on mobile devices than watching TV

“For the first time ever, US consumers will spend more time using their mobile devices than watching TV,” eMarketer reported, “with smartphone use dominating that time spent.”

“But we predict that use will plateau by 2020, as consumers become increasingly uneasy about overuse of mobile devices,” they added.

The average US adult will spend 3 hours, 43 minutes on mobile devices in 2019, just ahead of the 3 hours 35 they spend on TV. Most of this time is spent on smartphones, as tablet use continues to wane.

“We’ve expected that mobile would overtake TV for a while, but seeing it happen is still surprising,” said Yoram Wurmser, eMarketer principal analyst. “As recently as 2014, the average US adult watched nearly 2 hours more TV than they spent on their phones.”

4: BuzzFeed expects to hit $260 million in branded products sales this year

Led by its cooking brand, Tasty, “BuzzFeed expects to drive $260 million in sales in 2019 of BuzzFeed-branded product through retail stores,” Max Willens writes for Digiday. “This would double the $130 million in retail sales of BuzzFeed-branded products in 2018.”  

The Tasty name can be seen across branded food products, cookbooks and cookware.

“Over the second half of 2019, Tasty will launch a set of meal kits produced in partnership with Mistica, a cake decoration product with Wilton, a set of wines with Wines That Rock, a line of kitchen appliances with Cuisinart and premade side dishes with Food Story,” Willens says, while their kitchenware program will expand outside the U.S. to a number of other major regions.

5: Daily Mail sees 50% drop in traffic after Google algorithm change

At the start of June, Google announced that “we are releasing a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year.”

The move had a demonstable effect on many publishers, with analysis from Johannes Beus, the founder and CEO of the SEO specialists SISTRIX, highlighting the winners and losers.

“Everything seems to be normal – and yet something is different!,” he wrote. “A significant feature of the UK changes is the crossover between, one of the big losers, and and who are clearly on the winning side. Metro, which belongs to the Daily Mail Group, however, is in the winning list along with iNews.”

The SEO director for the Daily Mail, Jesus Mendez revealed the impact of the changes on the Mail’s site, in a post on a Google support forum.

A Mail Online spokesperson confirmed to Press Gazette that the post was indeed from Mendez, but that “while loss of traffic beyond the outlet’s control was “frustrating”, impact on revenue had been “negligible because we make the vast majority of our money from direct traffic to our home pages and apps which are unaffected”.”

“Indeed, this episode, once again, underlines the wisdom of the strategy of concentrating on our own audience rather than relying on third party platforms,” they said.

6: More than 1 billion stories shared every day across the Facebook family

At the GEN Summit in Athens, there was further evidence of the popularity of the stories format.

In 2018, Facebook’s chief product officer Chris Cox shared his view that “the Stories format is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends sometime next year.” 

The rapid take-up of this format makes it impossible for publishers to ignore.

7: Almost a third of news consumers say they actively avoid the news

Among the many valuable findings in the annual Digital News Report (read my analysis on the study for What’s New in Publishing here) was further evidence of new avoidance, even among news consumers. 

“This year we find that almost a third (32%) say they actively avoid the news – 3 points more than when we last asked this question in 2017,” the authors note. 

Reasons for this active abstinence “may be because the world has become a more depressing place or because the media coverage tends to be relentlessly negative – or a mix of the two,” the study suggested. 

“News outlets may have to frame their content and story mix (as well as perception of it) differently, if existing news consumers – nevermind new ones – are to return to their previous consumption levels,” I argued, a theme that Nieman Lab’s Joshua Benton picked up on a few days later: “I worry that we’re missing the larger group that just doesn’t like the meal we’ve been serving,” he wrote.

Potential remedies outlined by Benton include solutions journalism (as an antidote to “depressing” news coverage) as well as a recognition that: 

“News consumption used to be about daily habits — reading the paper every morning, watching the 6 o’clock news every night. Now it seeps into our days as much or as little as we want it to. Civically useful journalism is competing with every other form of media, content, or diversion on your phone. In that context, many people decide, as rational economic actors, they’re better off without us. How can we convince them otherwise?”

“In the era of audience-led revenue models,” I suggested, addressing this matters, not least because “publishers cannot afford to “turn off” audiences among the most likely to pay for their product.”

8: Half of U.S. adults say “made-up news” is a big problem

A new Pew Research Center survey found that Americans identified “made-up news” as a more significant issue for the country than climate change, terrorism and a host of other concerns.

“U.S. adults blame political leaders and activists far more than journalists for the creation of made-up news intended to mislead the public,” the report said. “But they believe it is primarily the responsibility of journalists to fix the problem. And they think the issue will get worse in the foreseeable future.”

“The vast majority of Americans say they sometimes or often encounter made-up news,” the authors note. “In response, many have altered their news consumption habits, including by fact-checking the news they get and changing the sources they turn to for news,” reinforcing the conclusions on this topic found in the Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report.

9: Kids digital advertising market growing at over 20% per annum

A further study from PWC worth highlighting… this one – produced in partnership with  the UK digital kids’ platform SuperAwesome – looks at the Digital Media Habits of Children

Globally, 62m kids went online for the first time in 2018, making this cohort one of the fastest-growing online audiences. Over 40% of the total new internet users in 2018 were aged between 5-15 years old.

The report estimates that the global kids digital advertising market will continue to grow in excess of 20% p.a. (2018-21), to be worth c.$1.7bn by 2021.

One key challenge for advertisers, reflecting a similar trend for adults highlighted in last month’s round-up, is that, despite the growth of advertising spend targeting younger audiences, some of the most significant content investment lies behind paywalls. 

According to the study, “$2-3bn [is] spent on high quality kids content annually by Apple, Disney, Netflix and Amazon. This content will be behind a subscription paywall, making it unaddressable to advertisers.”

Alongside this, reflecting the size of the challenge for advertisers, this is a demographic which is moving away from live TV consumption at a far faster rate than older audiences.

10: Mobile accounts for 33% of ad spend, up from 0.5% in 2010

Mary Meeker’s annual data deck contains a raft of fascinating statistics and case studies, including a longitudinal analysis of both time spent in media and advertising spending. 

Striking here is not just the precipitous drop of advertising spending on print – down from 27% to 7% in less than a decade – but also the speed with which mobile advertising has grown. 

In 2010, mobile equated to just 0.5% of advertising spend, despite 8% of our media time being spent on portable devices. Jump forward to 2018, and mobile accounted for both a third of our media time and of advertising spend; an astonishing growth rate.

While mobile’s growth has been at the expense of more traditional platforms (print, radio and TV) desktop advertising has remained remarkably resilient, dropping only 1% in ad revenues (from 19%-18%) in nine years, despite a more discernible drop (from 25%-18%) in our time spent with consuming media on these devices.