One of the most significant issues for media financial sustainability in the digital environment is the influence of social media networks on the media economy and the crisis of traditional advertising models.
The digital environment brought new actors to the market, new production technology, new content distribution methods and new business models, and also threatened the financial survival of some media, the BIRN Serbia report finds.
Besides selling advertising space and producing media content, the state in Serbia still plays a crucial role in the media market, having a negative influence on market relations.
The digital ad market has had constant and stable growth but the most significant revenues have not gone to media outlets but to companies such as Google and Facebook for advertising on their platforms.
The value of the digital advertising market, according to data from the AdEx survey by IAB Serbia rose from 20 million euros in 2015 to 47.05 million euros in 2019.
Mobile advertising recorded the largest growth – a 60 per cent year-on-year rise from 2018 to 2019. Video advertising meanwhile recorded an increase of 45.67 per cent.
In 2019, 11.79 million euros was also spent on advertising on social networks, of which 10 million euros was spent on Facebook advertising alone.
An additional challenge to media is how to motivate the public to pay for the content it produces, bearing in mind the amount of free content that people can access online.
Local media are in a difficult situation facing the limited local advertising market, insufficient capacity to adjust to the online sphere, and non-transparent funds distribution by local self-government.
Financial sustainability plays a critical role in rethinking media policies directly correlated with media freedoms and editorial independence – the poorer media is, the more significant financial pressure it suffers. The third BIRN report encompasses the public direct financing model, online advertising, and copyrights issues.
Two other reports related to media and new internet governance policies and media policies in the digital environment are available on www.birnsrbija.rs.