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Social media ‘doubts’ good news for traditional outlets

“There is some doubt setting in about social media and being in a social bubble.

“People are increasingly turning back to traditional news.”

Digital platforms, such as search engine Google and social media giant Facebook, are among those under scrutiny by the regulator over their role in diverting advertising funds away from traditional marketers.

The role of social media in creating “echo chambers” and circulating “fake news” has been heavily criticised in the past 12 months.

The “trend to trust” being seen by readers in both younger and older demographics was benefiting long-standing news organisations, Mr Miller said, with a “flight to quality”, brand-safe content, and strong marketing strategies from publishers supporting the shift.

Free to air TV network Nine Entertainment Co chief executive Hugh Marks, at the company’s half yearly results in February, said advertisers were coming back to its brand from social media.

“People are now recognising it didn’t deliver the results they went there for,” he said at the time.

The audience for national news totalled 2.5 million people, with metropolitan newspapers read by 10.3 million, EMMA data shows.

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Regional and community news was read by 6.4 million people, with 3 million reading regional newspapers and 3.5 million reading community newspapers.

“News media continues to attract large and engaged audiences, and while social media can argue it also has large audiences, it simply cannot compete when it comes to quality, credible journalism and brand-safe content,” Mr Miller said.

Fairfax Media’s The Sydney Morning Herald was the most-read title for the January time period, with 5.1 million readers, followed by News Corp’s Herald Sun and The Daily Telegraph with 4.2 million and 4.1 million respectively.

These figures are “cross platform readership” including digital and print products.

The Australian came in fourth with an audience of 3.1 million, followed by The Age at 3 million.

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke writes about media and telecommunications.

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