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14 December 2016

News Media Industry Contributes £5.3bn to UK Economy

The national and local news media industry, the primary source of agenda-setting news and investigative journalism, contributed £5.3 billion to the UK economy in 2015, according to a Deloitte report commissioned by the NMA, published today.

Activity by news media publishers supports value in many different businesses and more of the money spent by publishers (90 per cent) with suppliers remains within the UK than the average across the economy as a whole (77 per cent), the ‘UK News Media: Engine of Original News Content and Democracy’ report has found.

News media publishers are by far the biggest investors in original news content - accounting for 58 per cent of the total investment in news production - but the sector’s ongoing future contribution rests upon its ability to continue to successfully monetise its content, particularly on digital platforms, to fund newsgathering.

The report found that, in addition to the sector’s economic contribution to the UK, the journalism invested in by news media publishers has a unique and wide-ranging set of benefits such as boosting SMEs, improving literacy, enhancing community cohesion, and, crucially, underpinning democracy by holding powerful figures and institutions to account. 

Welcoming the report today, NMA chairman Ashley Highfield said:  “This report provides compelling evidence of the significant economic, cultural and social value that news media contributes to the UK. The industry is committed to continuing to invest in original news content.

“The industry performs a unique democratic function by investing in agenda-setting investigative journalism which holds authority to account such as The Guardian’s Panama Papers revelations, The Sunday Times’ investigation into FIFA, and the Jersey Evening Post’s investigation into online child grooming which was praised by the NSPCC.”

“The report also presents the challenges the industry is facing. This highlights the urgent need for a fair and equitable regime in which news media publishers’ investment in news is appropriately acknowledged and rewarded, without the commercial benefits being siphoned off by digital platforms and aggregators.”

NMA vice chairman David Dinsmore said: “This report makes it abundantly clear that well researched, properly produced journalism which holds the powerful to account is more in demand - and more needed in our society - than ever before. 

“Urgent action must be taken to ensure that news media publishers’ ability to fund the original agenda-setting news and information our readers want us to produce is not fatally undermined by third parties who gain so much from our investment while contributing very little.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • The UK news media industry generated £5.3 billion in gross value added to the UK economy in 2015;
  • Ninety per cent of news media organisations’ total spend with suppliers remains within the UK, compared to the average of 77 per cent across the economy;
  • News media publishers invested £97 million in digital services in 2015;
  • The news media industry adds value across the supply chain with the average publisher dealing with nearly 2,600 suppliers;
  • The news media sector supports an estimated 87,500 UK jobs across the UK economy;
  • The news media industry generated £4.8 billion revenue through circulation and advertising in 2015.

Ed Shedd, partner, head of technology, media and telecommunications, Deloitte, said: “It is clear that the news media industry makes an extremely valuable economic contribution to the UK. This is a vibrant sector that distributes value across the supply chain.”

Report Infographic 

Investigations and Campaigns Showcase