The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) released an upbeat report on the state of newspapers worldwide, pointing to growing readership levels in emerging economies but cautioning that engagement levels are still low.
The report includes data from 70 countries that account for more than 90% of the industry’s value. It shows:
- More than half the world’s adult population reads a daily newspaper, with 2.5 billion reading in print and more than 600 million consuming in digital form.
- The newspaper industry generates more than US$200 billion of revenue worldwide each year. However, that figure is down 2% from last year and 22% since 2008. The numbers are dragged down by plummeting ad sales in the U.S., which has seen print advertising revenues fall 42% since 2008. The good news is that ad revenues are up 9.1% in Latin America, 3.6% in Asia and 2.3% in the Middle East and North Africa.
- Newspaper circulation remains high, through stagnant, globally. Circulation declined only .9% worldwide in 2012 from a year earlier, primarily due to rising circulations in Asia. Circulation is down 2.2% globally since 2008, with the steepest declines in Europe.
- While newspapers are a vital information source, they aren’t engaging online audiences very effectively. Newspapers accounted for only 7% of visits, only 1.3% of time spent online and only .9% of total pages visited.
- U.S. newspaper publishers now generate 27% of their revenues from non-traditional sources, such as digital advertising, services and ancillary products.
While the report can be seen as a glass-half-full scenario, we think it’s encouraging to see publishers diversifying their revenue sources. The industry’s historic dependence on print advertising in general – and classified advertising in particular – is at the root of its problems. The rapid decline of those revenue sources is prompting some publishers to get creative about finding new revenues. Those that succeed will be stronger for it.
- Newspapers Continue to Soar in Asia
- World press trends: newspapers still reach more than Internet globally
- China Is Now the World’s Biggest Newspaper Market
- Global Newspaper Circulation and Advertising Trends in 2012