Report Overview

UK Journalism on the precipice – Rescue required as financial pressures on media grow

Journalism is on the precipice with more than £1 billion likely to fall off the industry’s topline. Several years of projected structural revenue decline in advertising and circulation have occurred in just the past few weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, with no letup in sight
The UK’s rich heritage of independent journalism is at risk, with responses by Government and ‘big tech’ multinationals welcomed but ultimately inadequate. We make two further recommendations for engagement in this report
Journalism enterprises from the small, local and specialist outfits through to national household brands will either fail or remain on a path to future failure


The outlook for 2020 is bleak

Financial vulnerability of publishers

Government intervention

Enter big tech

List of charts/tables

Figure 1: Press advertising change since 2012 (%)

Figure 2: Publisher circulation revenue forecasted losses against 2019 base (£m)

Figure 3: Our model of the impact of COVID-19 on paid circulation

Figure 4: Reach plc cost base, 2019 compared to 2015 (%)

Figure 5: Staff costs as a proportion of the total cost base, and impact of cost-saving

Figure 6: Estimated SME advertising spend 2008 to 2019 (£m)

Figure 7: Quality Journalism Scheme proposal for big tech/Government