“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 annual World Press Trends survey released Monday by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) revealed.
“Unless we crack the revenue issue, and provide sufficient funds so that newspapers can fulfill their societal role, democracy will inevitably be weakened,” said Larry Kilman, Secretary General of WAN-IFRA, who presented the survey to 1,000 publishers, chief editors and other senior newspaper executives at the 66th World Newspaper Congress, 21st World Editors Forum and 24th World Advertising Forum in Turin, Italy. “The role that newspapers play in society cannot be underestimated, and has never been more crucial,” he said. “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 the sustainable business models for digital news media is not only important for your businesses, but for the future health of debate in democratic society.”
The survey, presented annually at the global summit meetings of the world’s press, revealed:
- Print circulation increased +2 per cent globally in 2013 from a year earlier but declined by -2 per cent 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 per cent in Asia in 2013 from a year earlier and +2.56 per cent in Latin America; it fell -5.29 per cent in North America, -9.94 per cent in Australia and Oceania, -5.20 percent in Europe and -1 per cent in the Middle East and Africa.
Over five years, newspaper circulation rose +6.67 per cent in Asia, +6.26 per cent in Latin America and +7.5 per cent in the Middle East and Africa; it fell -10.25 per cent in North America; -19.59 per cent in Australia and Oceania; and -23.02 per cent in Europe.
- Print advertising world-wide declined -6 per cent in 2013 from a year earlier and declined -13 per cent over five years. Digital advertising for newspapers increased +11 per cent in 2013 and +47 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent in Europe; and -1.8 per cent in the Middle East and Africa.
Over five years, print newspaper advertising increased +3.3 per cent in Asia and the Pacific, +49.9 per cent in Latin America. It declined -29.6 per cent in North America, -17.9 per cent in Europe, and -21.1 percent in the Middle East and Africa.”