Civic leaders have joined representatives of the media and advertising industries for a round-table discussion on the role digital advertising plays in supporting a free-to-access press at a local level .
The event in Newcastle was organised by IAB UK as the first of a series of regional roundtables. Newcastle Central Chi Onwurah and city council leader Nick Kemp discussed the issue with Reach plc editorial director Paul Rowland, Journal editor Graeme Whitfield and Rob Briggs, head of sales for Reach in the North, among others.
Representatives of the North East LEP and the Federation of Small Businesses were also at the event, which heard discussions on how to effectively communicate to SMEs the valuable role digital advertising can play in helping them to grow and to reach new customers, as well as examining the role digital advertising plays in supporting local journalism.
Jon Mew, CEO of IAB UK, said: “Readership has increasingly shifted online, but local news publishers remain central to communities up and down the country. They provide people with a free-to-access source of news, give small businesses a unique platform to tap into a local audience, and – most vitally – continue to campaign on behalf of regional issues.
“To protect this, we need to protect the reciprocal relationship between local news, SMEs and digital advertising, and that’s what this roadshow is all about. We’ll be bringing together MPs, local press and business leaders to hear first-hand about what further support and resources enterprises need to thrive online.”
Nigel Black, head of product marketing at Reach plc, said: “As the UK’s largest commercial news provider, we passionately believe in the value of ad-funded local press to our communities. Over the past decades, we have navigated the transition from print to digital and, as a result, regional media is louder than ever.
“It’s in all of our best interest to ensure that it remains vibrant, robust and free for anyone to access – and that requires a collaborative approach encompassing local government, the digital ad industry and local media. This sits at the heart of the IAB’s roadshow that got off to a great start in Newcastle and we’re looking forward to the productive discussions yet to come.”
Subsequent events have been scheduled to take place in Stoke, Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh over the coming months.
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