No Apocalypse For Global Newspapers
In a 182-billion dollar press advertising industry, digital revenues of newspapers accounted for less than 6 billion dollars last year and are forecast by PricewaterhouseCoopers to grow to no more than 8.4 billion dollars by 2013. With print advertising expected to decline, PwC predicts that by 2013, combined print and digital ad revenues will be less than print only ad revenues were in 2008.
Timothy Balding, co-CEO of WAN-IFRA, said "These... forecasts... demonstrate quite simply that at no time soon will digital advertising revenues come close to achieving... revenues required... to compensate for falling print revenue... Should these forecasts come close to being true, new business models will have to be invented."
Yet "Despite the endless predictions about the death of newspapers, they actually continue to grow, at least on a global scale... the global newspaper industry is far from facing an apocalypse," Mr Balding said.
The survey showed that newspaper circulation grew, on a global scale, by 1.3% in 2008, the last full year for which data exists, and almost 9% over five years. The data shows consistent newspaper growth in Africa, Asia and South America, a long-term slowdown in the US and European markets. Over five years, according to our survey, newspaper circulation increased in 100 of the 182 nations for which we have reliable data."
And, "...newspaper companies in the 'old' markets have embraced digital platforms and new forms of print publishing and, in doing so, have actually grown their audience reach and revenues, even while their print circulations have come under pressure," Mr Balding observed.
"But even here, a sense of proportion demands that we deny the idea that the apocalypse is upon us," said Mr Balding. "A circulation drop in Europe, for example, is less than 3% over five years.
Some of the highlights from the presentation:
- Globally, 1.9 billion people choose to read a newspaper every day, or 34% of the world population, while 24% use the internet.
- The biggest newspaper market in the world is India, with 107 million daily sales. India, China and Japan account for more than 60% of the world's newspaper sales, with the USA taking 14%.
- In terms of sales per 1,000 adult population, Japan leads the world with 612, followed by Norway with 576, and Finland with 482. In terms of reach, 91% of Japanese continue to read a newspaper daily, remarkable in such a technologically advanced and wired society.
- Advertising revenues fell an estimated 20% in North America, 19% in eastern Europe, 16% in western Europe, and 11% in the Asia Pacific in 2009, according to PwC.
- The US market has been hardest hit, with advertising revenues in the third quarter of 2009 falling nearly 29% in print and nearly 17% on digital platforms over the same quarter in 2008. But revenue declines mirror declines in other industries.
"....there still remains outside forces, namely the economy, that we have little control over," concluded Mr. Balding.
For more information from WAN-IFRA , the organization created by the merger of the World Association of Newspapers and IFRA, the research and service organization for the news publishing industry, please visit them here. Or, access the magazine here.