IAB UK response to Cairncross Review

Posted on: Wednesday 13 February 2019

A review into the sustainability of high-quality journalism by Dame Francis Cairncross welcomes our latest Transparency initiative and an accompanying study widely draws on IAB/PwC Digital AdSpend data.

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In March 2018 a review was launched looking into the sustainability of high quality journalism, chaired by Dame Francis Cairncross. The review included a public call for evidence, and we made a written submission and met with Dame Cairncross and her team. The resulting report and recommendations have now been published, along with a study into the online advertising sector by consulting firm Plum.

The IAB has been working with our news publisher members to showcase to advertisers and agencies the value that quality news environments can bring to the advertising that they host, to encourage advertisers to consider placing ads with news publishers. We have also launched an initiative aimed at improving transparency for buyers and we are pleased to see Dame Francis welcoming our ‘Transparency FAQs’ initiative in her report, saying ‘the industry deserves credit for initiating an attempt to make the marketplace more transparent’. Additionally, data on the size and nature of the UK digital advertising market from the IAB / PwC Digital AdSpend report has been widely cited in the Plum study, which we believe should help to support an evidence-based approach to policy-making.

Following the publication of the Cairncross report, the Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright announced a new Government review into online advertising, in addition to supporting the Cairncross review’s recommendation for a study into the online advertising market by the Competition and Markets Authority, and recognising the link to the ongoing Treasury-commissioned Furman Review into competition in the digital economy.

The IAB believes that the forthcoming Government review is an opportunity to draw together the various existing workstreams already looking at digital advertising and the digital economy, and to ensure that there is a coherently designed and well-targeted regulatory, tax and competition framework that enables the UK digital advertising market to be competitive and to continue to succeed as a world-leader in digital advertising.

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