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07 September 2017

UK News Media Journalism Powers Social Networks

Nearly half of all engagements on UK content on social media are powered by commercial news brands, demonstrating that the news media industry’s investment in agenda-setting journalism adds a highly significant amount of value to social networks, new data from NewsWhip has shown.

Forty-seven per cent of all engagements with UK websites on social media over the past year sourced content from UK news brands, according to the News Media Association’s analysis of NewsWhip’s 100 top-performing UK websites.

The data shows that eight out of the top 10 most-shared UK websites on social media over the 12 months between 1 August 2016 and 31 July 2017 were news media websites. During the general election period (18 April 2017 to 15 June 2017), nine out of the top 10 websites were newsbrands.

Social networks are fuelled by content produced by commercial newsbrands. In July, MailOnline became the biggest website on Facebook for the first time recording over 26 million interactions to become the most engaged website on the platform.

NMA chairman Ashley Highfield said: “Newsbrands contribute enormous value to social networks by investing in agenda-setting and highly trusted journalism that people want to read and share with their friends.

“It is essential that this contribution is recognised. News media publishers are not currently appropriately rewarded for their investment in news and that imbalance must be rectified if the journalism which consumers and social media giants rely on is to have a sustainable future.”

Recent studies from KPMG and Reuters have highlighted the importance to consumers of being able to access trusted and accurate news produced by well-established and recognised brands on social networks.

But, although news media brands have grown audiences on social networks over the past year, in 2016 94 per cent of the growth in the UK digital advertising market went to search engines and social media platforms.

David Dinsmore, vice chairman of the NMA, said: "Journalism is at the heart of the social debate, whether it be breaking the story, verifying the story or, later, commenting on the story. Yet none of the growth in ad revenues is coming back to the publishers who invest billions across the globe in that content creation. News publishers are seeking a fair reward for the considerable value they add to the digital ecosystem.”

In addition to commercial news media brands, NewsWhip’s list of most shared UK websites includes sites such as the BBC, UNILAD, YouTube, Goal.com, Sky, Buzzfeed, Mashable, LADbible, 90min, Chelsea FC and ITV.