Tech Platforms Profit From Pandemic While Content Creators Squeezed

The tech platforms have continued to increase their profits through the coronavirus pandemic while the content creators have seen unprecedented declines, according to the latest advertising spend data.

The latest figures from the Advertising Association/Warc for Q1 2021 show that internet pureplay, mainly Google and Facebook, was the only category to record a year-on-year rise in adspend in Q1 2021 compared to double digit declines across all other sectors.

Internet pureplay recorded a 5.6 per cent rise in ad spend for the period (moving annual total) which saw ad spend soar above £15.5 billion. By contrast, cinema declined by 98 per cent, out of home by 60 per cent, direct mail by 35 per cent, newsbrands by 31 per cent, magazines by 30 per cent, radio by 17 per cent and TV by 13 per cent.

The tech giants increased their share of the ad market by nine per cent while all the other sectors measured by the survey lost share.  

By contrast, demand for trusted journalism has rocketed during the pandemic as readers turn to news media for information they can rely upon to help them navigate the crisis.

Analysis of comScore data by Behind Local News found that 43.5 million people accessed local news media in January this year, up from 39.9 million in January 2020.   

National news media titles saw similar rapid growth with MailOnline seeing audiences surge by more than a third as audiences sought out  journalism during pandemic.

Speaking at a House of Lords Communications and Digital Select Committee session as part of its inquiry on the Future of Journalism last year, News UK chief operating officer David Dinsmore likened the process of unearthing stories to mining diamonds.

He said: “The problem is that when we bring them to the surface now, they are taken from us. Other people will copy them and they are distributed far and wide. And that’s actually the frenzy that feeds the digital platforms.

“So the more content they get, the more hits they get, the more data they drive and ultimately the more revenue that comes out of that. That is in a nutshell the problem that we are facing, and that’s what we have to address.”