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:
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;
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:
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.