Print Plus Digital Increasing World Wide Newspaper Audiences

According to the annual World Press Trends survey released Monday by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), print and digital combined are increasing audiences for newspapers globally, but digital revenues are not keeping pace, posing a risk for newspaper businesses and the societies they serve,.

The survey, presented at the global summit meetings of the world’s press, revealed that:

  • Print circulation increased +2% globally in 2013 from a year earlier but declined by -2% over five years.
  • Around 2.5 billion people around the world read newspapers in print and 800 million on digital platforms.
  • Print circulation continues to rise in countries with a growing middle class and relatively low broadband penetration, but long-term structural declines in print circulation continue in mature markets as audiences shift their focus from print to digital.
  • Circulation rose +1.45% in Asia in 2013 from a year earlier and +2.56% in Latin America; it fell -5.29% in North America, -9.94% in Australia and Oceania, -5.20 percent in Europe and -1% in the Middle East and Africa.

Larry Kilman, Secretary General of WAN-IFRA, said “… unless we crack the revenue issue… provide sufficient funds so that newspapers can fulfill their societal role… democracy will inevitably be weakened… the role that newspapers play in society cannot be underestimated… has never been more crucial… If newspaper companies cannot produce sufficient revenues from digital… if they cannot produce exciting, engaging offerings for both readers and advertisers… they are destined to offer mediocre products with nothing to differentiate them from the mass of faux news… finding sustainable business models for digital news media… not only important for your businesses… but for the future health of debate in democratic society…”

Over five years, says the report, newspaper circulation rose +6.67% in Asia, +6.26% in Latin America and +7.5% in the Middle East and Africa;

  • It fell -10.25% in North America; -19.59% in Australia and Oceania; and -23.02% in Europe
  • Print advertising world-wide declined -6% in 2013 from a year earlier and declined -13% over five years
  • Digital advertising for newspapers increased +11% in 2013 and +47% over five years, but remains a relatively small part of overall Internet advertising
  • Much of internet advertising revenue goes to only a handful of companies, and most of it goes to Google
  • Print newspaper advertising increased +3.9% in Latin America in 2013 compared with a year earlier, but fell in all other regions: -3.2 percent in Asia and the Pacific, -8.7 percent in North America, -8.2% in Europe; and -1.8% in the Middle East and Africa

Over five years, print newspaper advertising increased +3.3% in Asia and the Pacific, +49.9% in Latin America. It declined -29.6% in North America, -17.9% in Europe, and -21.1 percent in the Middle East and Africa.

While digital advertising continues to grow, it still represents a small part of overall newspaper revenue. Globally, 93% of all newspaper revenues continue to come from print:

  • Global newspaper publishing revenues from print circulation and advertising were stable year-on-year at US$163bn in 2013. But that figure is down from US$187bn in 2008
  • Paid digital circulation increased 60% last year and rose more than 2,000% over the last five years, albeit from a very low starting point

Mr Kilman continues by noting that “… there is growing understanding by the public that you get what you pay for… an increasing willingness to pay for newspaper content on digital platforms… people are still willing to pay for news that is professionally written and edited… independent, entertaining and engaging… what newspapers have offered for 400 years… continue to offer, on emerging and existing platforms, no matter how it is delivered… ”

While newspapers attract a significant portion of the total internet audience, the biggest challenge for publishers continues to be how to increase the engagement of audiences on digital platforms, says the report. While 46% of the digital population visits newspaper websites, newspapers are a small part of total internet consumption, representing only 6% of total visits, 0.8% of pages viewed and 1.1% of total time spent on digital platforms.

The survey also found:

- Television continues to maintain the largest share of global advertising revenues, with 40.1%, followed by internet with 20.7%, newspapers with 16.9%, magazines with 7.9%, outdoor with 7%, radio with 6.9%, and cinema with 0.5%.

- The newspaper industry’s value – US$ 163bn annually from circulation sales and advertising – compares with US$ 102bn book publishing revenues, US$ 87bn film revenues, and US$ 50bn music revenues.

- Regionally, 36% of newspapers’ market value is in Asia, 34% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, 21% in North America and 9% in Latin America.

- While single copy newspaper sales have fallen 26% since 2008, subscription sales have fallen only 8%, indicating higher loyalty and stronger customer relationships with subscribers.

Mr Kilman concludes that “… it is essential for our industry… to find inspiration about what can be done… so ultimately we can continue to provide… accurate and credible news and information… that citizen have come to expect from us…to make informed decisions in democratic society…  your successes… and failures… will have an impact on… the shape of society in the future.”

The World Press Trends survey includes data from more than 70 countries, accounting for more than 90% of the global industry’s value.

Full details of the World Press Trends report can be found here.


1 comment about "Print Plus Digital Increasing World Wide Newspaper Audiences ".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, June 17, 2014 at 11:24 a.m.

    I offered to several newspapers a test market a sponsored sweepstakes column. The Fortune sponsors would advertise their current promotions as a sponsored by. The column would be about entering and winning sweepstakes and contest. Simple right? Newspapers wouldn't even give me the time of day even though they would be making a good sum of money where no income was coming from. In short, newspapers are stuck in the past and their failures will continue.

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