A regional publishing boss has hit out at Facebook for “free-riding” local news content and giving “pennies” back to news providers in return.
In a podcast interview carried out by Media Masters, Newsquest chief executive Henry Faure Walker slated the social media giant for taking advantage of the “huge investment” which publishers put into local journalism.
He also argued that local newspaper remained a better proposition for local advertisers, saying that newspapers and their websites still have a bigger local reach than Facebook.
And he predicted that offering digital marketing services to local business would become an important part of Newsquest’s business in years to come.
Said Henry: “Facebook is building its own audience off the back of news journalism.
“They’re arguably free riding the huge investment that we put into local journalism and we’re getting pennies trickle down in return.”
But he added: “What people don’t know is that Facebook’s reach is significantly less than local newsbrands in the UK.
“Facebook’s much vaunted audience is about 50pc penetration so they say that they reach about 50 per cent of the adults in the UK.
“In York we reach almost 75 pc of the adults every month via our website alone – that’s before you even add in the additional audience we reach through print.
“So if you’re a local retailer in York, wanting to reach people and promote offers and services, then the York Press is a pretty obvious place for you to advertise.”
He went on: “We see an important part of our future as becoming a trusted adviser to local businesses as to how they should do their digital marketing.
“It’s become a pretty complex landscape out there for local businesses, so one of the key elements to Newsquest’s strategy is introducing digital marketing services to those local businesses.”
“We’ve come a long way from being a traditional local newspaper to what will increasingly be a digital marketing company.”