GroupM Australia launches Back to News initiative to support responsible and credible journalism

Posted on 20 June 2023 in

The program provides Australian advertisers with access to high-quality, brand-safe ad environments on vetted news sites

GroupM Australia has launched Back to News – an initiative to support responsible journalism and credible local Australian news publishers.

Back to News is an industry-first program to help brands support quality journalism by re-investing media budgets in credible news publishers. It provides Australian advertisers with access to high-quality, brand-safe ad environments on vetted local, national, and international news sites.

The media investment company is working with Internews, the world’s largest media support non-profit, as part of a global partnership announced in February. In Australia, GroupM and Internews have vetted more than 200 local metro and regional news sites. These range from the Cairns Post, down to the Hobart Mercury and all the way west to the Pilbara News, covering every state and territory.

The initiative was launched with events in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales, where GroupM partnered with Walkley Award winning Australian journalists Lenore Taylor, Guardian Australia editor in chief; James Chessell Nine managing director, publishing and Hedley Thomas, The Australian, national chief correspondent and creator of the Teacher’s Pet podcast, to showcase the importance of journalism in Australia.

News in Australia reaches 20.2 million people (Ipsos) and advertising in news environments, creates a trusted halo effect for brands including greater attention, higher viewable time, and better short and long-term recall (ThinkNewsBrands)

• Ads seen on high quality news sites are perceived as 74% more likeable (IAS)
• These ads receive 20% higher engagement than the same ads on lower quality sites (IAS).
• For 84% of consumers, trust remains neutral or increases for advertisers within news (IAB)
• 45% are more likely to visit the brand’s website (IAB)
• 43% of consumers would consider purchasing from brands advertising in news (IAB)
• 39% of consumers are comfortable recommending brands that advertise in news environments (IAB)

The Back to News Initiative is underpinned by Internews’ Ads for News initiative, which was founded in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, and the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). Ads for News helps brands and agencies reach engaged news audiences on more than 12,000 trusted local news websites from more than 50 countries.

The news sites vetted by Ads for News, using extensive criteria developed by a multi-stakeholder industry coalition, can be accessed directly through a local market inclusion list, private marketplaces (PMPs) or a package of inventory against a biddable price.

Aimee Buchanan, GroupM AUNZ CEO, said: “Supporting Responsible Journalism is a key pillar of our Responsible Investment Framework and one of the ways we are making advertising better for people – and communities. It’s critical that we support a balanced local ecosystem, where Australians have access to credible, fact-based and vetted news sources to minimise harmful disinformation circulating.

“Advertising plays a key role in supporting credible journalism by funding high quality news environments and in turn these environments are good for advertisers, providing access to brand-safe, high quality content environments. Through our partnership with Internews, we hope to see more Australian advertisers investing media dollars Back to News,” she added.

James Chessell, managing director, publishing, Nine and Walkley award-winning journalist, said: “Advertisers continue to play a critical role funding a wide range of credible news platforms essential to readers getting trusted information about what’s going on in their world. Back to News is a fantastic initiative that delivers safe and effective environments for advertisers while helping maintain strong public interest journalism in Australia and ensuring Australians have access to news they can trust.”

Lou Barrett managing director national sales, News Corp Australia, said: “GroupM’s ‘Back to News’ initiative is a progressive step towards driving investment of media and advertising dollars into credible news publishers. News Corp Australia tells the stories that matter to more than 18 million Australians every month and applauds this industry-first program, which not only supports local news and publishers but also reinforces the importance of quality and independent journalism.

“News is an indispensable tool for brand building and a highly reliable channel for driving sales at the bottom of the funnel so we encourage all advertisers to participate in this initiative and contribute to the sustainability and vitality of the news ecosystem.”

Anna Bateson CEO, Guardian Media Group, said: “Guardian journalism has spurred government enquiries, called out systemic injustices, exposed corporate wrongdoings and given a voice to the marginalised. Our unwavering mission is to deliver independent, fearless journalism. Alongside that, we provide an effective environment for advertisers to reach engaged audiences. GroupM’s Back to News initiative supports both journalists and advertisers and strengthens the publishing ecosystem in Australia.”

Chris Hajecki, Director, Internews’ Ads for News, said: “Responsible journalism is an essential part of society, and the business of brands. In Australia, the work of GroupM and Ads for News has created a diverse inclusion list of trusted news websites, reaching audiences in communities across the country.

“Now, it is up to progressive brands to take the lead by more sustainably investing media budgets in responsible journalism — ensuring their customers have access to fact-based news to make informed decisions about their lives.”