Global newspaper adspend falls

28 May 2009

PARIS: Global newspaper circulation increased by 1.3%, to 540 million daily sales, in 2009, but advertising revenues through the medium fell by 5% over the year as a whole, the World Association of Newspapers reports.

Previous research has revealed that newspaper adspend is typically more vulnerable to fluctuations during periods of economic instability than revenues for other mediums such as television, a trend that has been observed in both the US and the UK.

According to figures from the industry body, 1.9 billion people read a paid-for newspaper every day, and the organisation also estimates that print news titles "reach" 41% more adults than the internet.

Worldwide, daily newspaper sales have increased by 8.8% in the last five years, with 38% of countries posting an upturn in circulation during 2009, and 58% doing so over the last half-decade.

On a regional basis, circulation increased by 6.9% in Africa during 2009, and also enjoyed gains of 2.9% in Asia and 1.8% in South America over this period.

This compared with declines of 3.7% in North America, 2.5% in Australia and Oceania, and 1.8% in Europe.

However, WAN did find that US newspapers' combined print and online audience increased by 8% last year, with 81% of readers reporting they view some newspaper content in print and on the web over the course of a week.

Some 52% of readers also said the amount of time they spend consuming print content has remained constant, while 35% reported that this figure has actually increased.

Print media now takes a 37% share of global ad revenues, according to WAN's estimates, and newspapers' total "reach" was found to extend to 91% of Japanese adults, a figure that falls to 70% in many European markets, and 62% in North America.

When taken to include free daily titles, global newspaper circulation increased by 1.6% last year, and by 13% over the last five years.

Europe is home to the most developed "freesheet" market, with some 23% of daily titles in circulation operating without a cover price in the region.

Data sourced from The World Association of Newspapers; additional content by WARC staff