It may come as a surprise, and it’s worth remembering: About 2.7 billion adults today still read newspapers in print, nearly half of the world’s adult population. Online, some 800 million access newspaper content digitally, or nearly half of all desktop internet users. There has never been a larger audience for newspapers.
Newspapers – both print and online – produce nearly $180 billion in annual revenue, larger than the book publishing, music or film industries.
These are just a few of the facts contained in the World Press Trends 2015 report, the definitive guide to the global newspaper industry published by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and released Monday during the World Publishing Expo in Hamburg, Germany.
The report, a concise companion to WAN-IFRA’s World Press Trends database, provides rapid access to the key statistics and trends that define the news media industry today.
The report, free to WAN-IFRA members and for sale to non-members, can be found here.
WAN-IFRA on Monday also launched a new interface for its World Press Trends database,which now includes interactive graphics, more information and is easier to use.
“A lot of the accepted wisdom about the newspaper business is based too often on assumptions and anecdotes, and is often a partial picture or even completely wrong. With World Press Trends, we are providing critical insights into what is really happening, backed by the numbers,” said Teemu Henriksson, co-ordinator of the World Press Trends project at WAN-IFRA.
The report includes data on circulation, readership, advertising revenues and digital publishing trends in more than 70 countries, accounting for more than 90% of the global industry’s value. The report is compiled through an enormous undertaking by dozens of national newspaper and news media associations and through support from global data suppliers including Zenith Optimedia, IPSOS, ComScore, the Pew Research Centre, RAM and the ITU.
Some of the findings:
- For the first time this century, circulation has surpassed advertising to become the biggest source of publishers’ revenues. Global print and digital circulation revenue totalled $92 billion last year, while advertising revenues provided $86 billion. This is a seismic shift from a strong business-to-business emphasis — publishers to advertisers — to a growing business-to-consumer emphasis, publishers to audiences.
- The six largest newspapers markets world-wide are the United States ($37 billion), Japan ($18 billion), Germany ($16 billion), China ($14 billion), the United Kingdom ($8 billion), and India ($7 billion).
- Contrary to the conventional wisdom, young people continue to seek out news: seven in 10 of millennials get news on a daily basis. Forty percent of them pay for at least one news specific app or digital subscription, and 16% pay for a print newspaper subscription. But their number one gateway for more than half of news topics is Facebook.
More data from World Press Trends can be found here.
[By Larry Kilman, secretary general WAN-Ifra]
World Press Trends 2015: Facts and figures at your fingertips
Circulation vs. advertising revenue
A profound shift in the newspaper business model, evolving for years, is finally here: global newspaper circulation revenues have surpassed newspaper advertising revenues, meaning that audiences have become publishers’ biggest source of revenue. In 2014, newspapers generated an estimated $179 billion in circulation and advertising revenue; 92 billion came from print and digital circulation, while 87 billion came from advertising.
In most newspaper markets print advertising’s share of overall revenue is declining, and this decline is forecast to continue. On the other hand, the positive aspect of this trend is that audiences worldwide continue to read and value news products, and most national news industries are finding ways to monetise this continued interest and commitment from audiences.
Print vs. digital revenue
While digital advertising represents a small part of overall newspaper revenue, it continues to grow significantly (8% in 2014 and 59% over five years). Also revenue from digital circulation is growing steadily, amounting now to over 20% of newspapers’ overall digital revenues. In 2014, paid digital circulation revenues increased 45%.
Although newspapers’ digital revenues continue to grow, print is still their main source of revenue: globally, over 93% of all newspaper revenue comes from print, and print will continue to be a major source of revenue for many years to come.
Global circulation and reach
While print circulations continue to decline in the west, global print circulation is growing steadily: print circulation increased over 6% globally in 2014 from a year earlier and more than 16% over five years. The increase is largely the result of circulation growth in India and elsewhere in Asia.
WAN-IFRA estimates that print newspapers reach around 2.7 billion people around the world. Furthermore, newspapers have a desktop digital audience of 0.8 billion people.
Circulation: regional trends
Globally, the trends within the news media industry are far from homogenous: while Asia, Africa, including the MENA region, and Latin America continue to enjoy growth in print audiences, mature newspaper markets are seeing continued declines in print circulation.
Paid digital circulation
Although digital circulation still represents a small part of newspapers’ overall revenues, there is increasing evidence that audiences are more and more willing to pay for quality journalism also online.
Paid digital circulation revenues are increasing at a rapid rate: by 56% in 2014, or more than 1 420% over the last five years.
Hooked on mobile
News audiences are increasingly turning to mobile platforms, and for the first time, this is starting to replace desktop traffic: web usage data from comScore indicates that desktop audience numbers are falling as consumers spend more time with their smartphones.
According to comScore, the leading media properties now see 30% or more of their online audiences coming exclusively from mobile platforms. Consequently, mobile advertising is rapidly growing and is expected to reach $52 billion in revenue in 2017. There is a myriad of changes occurring as a result of increased smartphone usage and mobile internet growth. The shift to mobile is extremely important because it changes the way news is packaged, distributed, discovered and consumed.
Teemu Henriksson is co-ordinator of the World Press Trends project at WAN-IFRA.
Story updated 2.26pm to reflect Larry Kilman as author of first part of story, and Teemu Henriksson as author the Facts and Figures at your Fingertips.
This information was first published by WAN-Ifra and World Editors Forum. For more or to buy the World Press Trends Report 2015, visit http://www.wan-ifra.org/wpt