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Population: 26 million
Internet penetration: 90%
17th June 2024

The past year has been marked by persistent inflation, a rising cost of living, and severe flooding in many parts of Australia. Late in 2023, following a divisive campaign laden with misinformation, Australians voted against an amendment to the constitution to establish an Australian Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

It is a critical time when audiences are in need of quality news yet the news ecosystem continues to shrink. Australia now has 29 local government areas with no local news publishers, TV, or radio servicing the local community. Print media have been hit hard due to the decline in advertising revenue and rising print costs. Government departments are cutting back print advertising and instead rolling out campaigns on social media. In 2023, the Victorian government announced they would cease all metropolitan print newspaper advertising. For regional news outlets the reduction in government advertising spend is worrying and they are lobbying for a more consistent policy. Currently the local, state, and federal governments spend about 1% of their advertising budget on regional news.

Streaming services continue to grow, and their weekly reach (58%) has surpassed that of free-to-air TV (54%). However, the cost-of-living crisis has been forcing audiences to cut back on their digital subscriptions. One in three subscribers say they have reduced their subscriptions.1 The major streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Paramount+, and Binge have reduced their spending on local content by 11% (A$46m). The government has promised to introduce a quota system for streaming services in 2024. The media industry is advocating for a 20% local content quota while streaming platforms are lobbying for 2%.

In March 2024, Facebook’s parent company, Meta, shocked the sector by declaring they were pulling back from news, closing their Australian news partnerships team, and not entering new commercial deals with news organisations. Their current deals with major companies are reported to be worth A$70m annually. This follows the Australian government’s introduction of the News Media Bargaining Code in 2021. Under the Code, Google and Meta are together paying news publishers roughly A$200m a year on voluntary content agreements. This has helped sustain the news industry, but most agreements expire this year. There are now calls to ‘designate’ Meta under the Code, which would force the company to negotiate with publishers or face fines of 10% of its annual Australian revenue. Google and Meta’s combined advertising revenue in Australia was A$8.3bn in 2023. This is more than half of all digital ad revenues (A$14.2bn).

In late 2023, Communications Minister Michelle Rowland announced A$10.5m in funding through the News Media Assistance Program to promote a diverse and sustainable media sector. The Australian Communications and Media Authority has received the funding to implement the Media Diversity Measurement Framework, which was developed through a public consultation.

Public broadcaster ABC continued its transition into a digital-first media organisation in 2023, announcing a series of proposals to further shift investment into digital services. The ABC Five-Year Plan (2023-2028) forecasts that by 2028 most of its audience engagement will come through its digital services. Newly appointed Chair Kim Williams said his priorities included securing better funding for the ABC and upholding its Charter responsibilities, including the requirement for impartiality.

Misinformation was abundant during the divisive Voice referendum campaign where Australians voted to reject a proposal to set up a formal body for Indigenous people to give advice on laws. There were widespread claims that the plan might lead to tax increases or that the Australian Electoral Commission would tamper with votes, revealing a deep distrust with the government. The ‘no’ campaign’s main strategy was to instil fear and doubt, suggesting that the proposal didn’t carry enough details. Seven in ten Australians subsequently expressed concern about the lies and misinformation on social media during the campaign.2

The media landscape is undergoing a significant shift as AI increasingly permeates newsrooms, prompting traditional outlets to reconsider their approach to the technology as the industry grapples with how to use it effectively and safely. News Corp Australia is producing 3,000 articles a week using artificial intelligence. The rise of AI use has led to widespread public concern. According to a report from media monitoring organisation Streem,3 over half (57%) believe AI creates more problems than it solves. These concerns indicate a need for policy frameworks that balance the benefits of AI with the public interest.

Sora Park
News and Media Research Centre, University of Canberra

Changing media

TV and print news consumption continue to decline, while online and social media are becoming more significant. In line with this trend, Australians are increasingly accessing news across digital devices.

Pay for online news


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Trust in news overall



Trust in news dropped this year by 3pp, reaching its lowest point since 2020. It has fallen the most amongst women. The top trust factors were ‘high journalistic standards' (81%) and 'transparency' (80%). Public broadcasters such as ABC and SBS are the most trusted sources of news surveyed, along with regional and local newspapers.

RSF World Press Freedom Index


Score 73.42

Measure of press freedom from NGO Reporters Without Borders based on expert assessment. More at


2 B. Browne, ‘Polling – Misinformation and the referendum’. The Australia Institute.

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