Advertisers Turn to Highly Trusted Local Press Amid Brand Safety Fears

Local media is seeing an uplift in adspend after publishers issued a rallying cry to ad agencies and national brands to use highly trusted local press rather than risk blind programmatic buying which has seen global brands being placed next to extremist and unsafe content.

Publishers represented by 1XL – including Johnston Press, Newsquest, Archant and DC Thompson – wrote an open letter to advertisers and agencies this week highlighting the highly trusted commercial environment provided by local media.

Advertising revenues are used to invest in high quality local journalism produced by thousands of trained and vastly skilled journalists working for publications regulated by IPSO, the letter states.

As part of its commitment to transparency and quality within the digital advertising industry, 1XL has also published its own online advertising charter confirming that ads will not appear next to extremist content and fake news.

Speaking to The Drum this week, Scott Gill, 1XL managing director, said money which was being spent on other programmatic channels had now been channelled into local media. He said: “Some of the money that was going in to video and YouTube, which was unquestionably just being dumped in to programmatic performing channels, is now being spent directly with us as a publisher proposition.

“In terms of numbers I would expect there to be reasonable to significant growth this year partly off the back of that.”

Henry Faure Walker, Newsquest chief executive, said: “The crisis of confidence in the national digital advertising market continues, with advertisers increasingly exposed and worried about the dangers of blind programmatic ad buying which is placing household brands next to extremist content and fake news. Google and Facebook are keen to apologise but they don’t have credible answers.

“Our content is produced by highly skilled local journalists, it is regulated, it relies on human judgement and discretion as opposed to blind algorithms, and it reaches and engages millions of people in communities throughout the UK.  As a result, our advertising environment is trusted, safe and highly responsive.

“What’s more, advertising in local news brands continues to fund much needed high quality journalism across the UK.  We hope that ad agencies and national advertisers will better recognise the value we provide and will agree that local news brands are worth standing up for.”