... Read All About It! 2.7 Billion Adults Read Newspapers In Print

According to the annual World Press Trends survey by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, audiences are contributing an increasing share of the total global newspaper revenue. Newspaper circulation revenue represents 53% of the overall industry revenue, underscoring the trend that audiences have become publishers’ biggest source of revenue.

WAN-IFRA CEO Vincent Peyrègne presented the survey at the 68th World News Media Congress, 23rd World Editors Forum and 26th World Advertising Forum in Cartagena, Colombia. He also announced the launch of the World News Media Outlook, “… a very useful step on the way to a new approach of measuring and assessing the performance and priorities of leading news companies worldwide…”

The World Press Trends survey includes data from more than 70 countries, accounting for more than 90% of the global industry’s value. The data is compiled by dozens of national newspaper and news media associations and support from global data suppliers: Zenith Optimedia, IPSOS, PwC, ComScore, the Pew Research Center, and the ITU.

The survey showed that newspapers generated an estimated US$ 168 billion in circulation and advertising revenue in 2015. 90 billion came from print and digital circulation, while 78 billion came from advertising, says the report.

Total global newspaper revenues fell 1.2% in 2015 from a year earlier, and are down 4.3% over the last five years. WAN-IFRA estimates of global industry revenue again include data on non-daily revenue, which is estimated at US$ 8 billion. “WPT data indicates that, in most mature newspaper markets, additional revenue brings between 7 and 20% of overall revenue,” said Peyrègne.

More than 2.7 billion adults are reading newspapers in print globally, says the report. Digital newspaper readership is growing, and in some of the most developed economies readership on all digital platforms has surpassed the number of readers in print. World Press Trends analysis estimates that at least 40% of global Internet users read newspapers online.

Print Newspaper Circulation and Advertising Trends (2014-2015, % change Y-O-Y)


Change In:


Circulation (2014)

Circulation (2015)

Ad Revenues (2014)

Ad Revenues (2015)






North America













-6.5 w/Australia


Latin America





Source: World Assoc. of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) June, 2016

Fast Facts from MarketingCharts show that:

  • Globally, 92% of newspaper revenues are derived from print, down only slightly from 93% in 2014
  • The largest newspaper markets are the US, Japan, Germany, China, the UK, India and Brazil. Together, these account for a majority of global newspaper revenues and roughly 80% of global daily unit circulation
  • Print unit circulation growth is largely due to increases in Asia. In fact, India and China accounted for an impressive combined 62% of global average daily print unit circulation last year, up from 59% in 2014
  • While newspapers’ digital ad revenues aren’t expected to overtake print ad revenues, they grew by 8.5% in 2015 and by nearly 60% over 5 years
  • Paid digital circulation increased by 30% year-over-year in 2015 (a slower rate than in 2014) and by 547% over the past 5 years (also a slower average than observed in 2014. This growth has been from a small base, though WAN-IFRA says that digital circulation is beginning to offset print circulation revenue losses in many markets, with roughly 1 in 5 online news users paying for content in the countries analyzed

Although newspaper ad revenues are on the decline, with print ads having a compound annual growth rate of -9.3% between 2015 and 2020, says MarketingCharts research, print newspaper ads remain effective. In a study on advertising effectiveness, more US adults said they had been influenced to make a purchase from newspaper ads (13.1%) in the previous 6 months than said the same about social networking ads (10.3%), despite social networks having far greater weekly reach than print newspapers (71.1% and 47.1%, respectively). Additionally, the study found that the percentage of adults recalling specific advertisers in print newspaper ads was high relative to the proportion who read newspapers on a weekly basis.

Within the US, a new PwC study indicates that advertising continues to account for the majority of newspaper revenues. However, with ad revenues declining and circulation revenues gradually increasing, the gap between the two sources should narrow considerably by 2020, when ad revenues are expected to total $14.9 billion and circulation revenues $12.1 billion.

Additional information and detailed regional trends can be found here from MarketingCharts, and here from WAN-IFRA.



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