World Press Trends: Newspapers stress brand strength online; audience revenue share grows further


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Audiences are contributing an increasing share of the total global newspaper revenue, according to the annual World Press Trends survey released today by WAN-IFRA.

Newspaper circulation revenue represents 53% of the overall industry revenue, underscoring the continuation of the trend identified last year: that audiences have become publishers’ biggest source of revenue.

“We all talk of being consumer-centric. We all talk of having a constant eye on the future. Now is truly the time to do what we say,” said WAN-IFRA CEO Vincent Peyrègne, who presented the survey at the 68th World News Media Congress, 23rd World Editors Forum and 26th World Advertising Forum in Cartagena, Colombia.

Mr. Peyrègne also announced the launch of the World News Media Outlook, a joint research project with the University of Oxford and University of Central Lancashire that aims to provide news executives with the cutting-edge intelligence to help benchmark their companies’ performance and devise innovative strategies to ensure their businesses’ future success. For the study, WAN-IFRA is calling for news media executives to participate through an online survey: www.bit.ly/wnmo2016.

“The Outlook will be a very useful step on the way to a new approach of measuring and assessing our wealth – our real value as a global power,” Mr. Peyrègne said.

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

Global revenues

World Press Trends data showed that newspapers generated an estimated US$ 168 billion in circulation and advertising revenue in 2015. Ninety billion came from print and digital circulation, while 78 billion came from advertising, the survey said.

Together with magazines, newspapers are the third biggest among cultural and creative industries, and the two sectors are creating around 2.9 million jobs worldwide. Total global newspaper revenues fell 1.2 per cent in 2015 from a year earlier, and are down 4.3 per cent 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.

“Unfortunately, the way the industry measures value is still embedded in the old format-based methodology,” said Mr. Peyrègne. “The information on how much is earned from other, often new sources of revenue is lacking, despite the fact that they are becoming an important part of the revenue mix. WPT data indicates that in most mature newspaper markets additional revenue brings between 7 and 20 per cent of overall revenue,” said Mr. Peyrègne.

Global readership

More than 2.7 billion of adults are reading newspapers in print globally. 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 per cent of global Internet users read newspapers online.

The challenge for the industry remains the combined measurement of reach and influence of newspaper content on all platforms with new metrics.

Other highlights

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

The survey, presented annually at the global summit meetings of the world’s press, revealed:

Influence: Together with magazines, newspapers are the third biggest among cultural and creative industries, and the two sectors are creating around 2.9 million jobs worldwide.

Mobile growth represents a huge opportunity for newspapers and news brands. In the US, more than 80% of people engaged with newspaper digital content and more than 70% of Australians and Canadians read a newspaper via digital device. News brands reach 70% of UK’s population across online, tablet and mobile. According to Newspaper Association of America more than a half of the US newspaper digital audience is composed of those who use only mobile devices (smartphones or tablets) for their newspaper digital content.

Print circulation increased +4.9 per cent globally in 2015 from a year earlier and shows a five-year growth of +21.6 per cent. This is largely the result of circulation growth in India, China and elsewhere in Asia, as expanding literacy, economies, and low copy prices boost newspaper consumption. The two countries combined accounted for an astonishing 62% of global average daily print unit circulation in 2015, up from 59% in 2014.

Circulation rose +7.8 per cent in Asia in 2015 from a year earlier; it fell -2.4 per cent in North America, -2.7 in Latin America and -2.6 in Middle East and Africa, -4.7 per cent in Europe and -5.4 per cent in Australia and Oceania. Over five years, newspaper print unit circulations rose +38.6 per cent in Asia, but it fell elsewhere: -1.2 per cent in the Middle East and Africa, -1.5 per cent in Latin America; it fell -10.9 per cent in North America; -23.8 per cent in Europe and -22.3 per cent in Australia and Oceania.

Paid digital circulation revenues continue to grow at double digit rates, and have increased 30 per cent in 2015 and 547 per cent over five years. With revenues over three billion, digital circulation revenues are now starting to make up for lost print circulation revenues in many markets. Amongst online news users – as opposed to the entire population – around one in five pay for online news in the countries studied.

Print still pays: Global newspaper market figures show that more than 92 per cent of all newspaper revenues still come from print. The seven biggest newspaper markets are still the United States, Japan, Germany, China, the United Kingdom, India and Brazil, commanding more than a half of global newspaper revenues and about 80% of global daily unit circulations.

Global advertising share: According to data from Zenith Optimedia, television continues to maintain the largest share of global advertising revenues, with just under 37%, followed by desktop and mobile internet with almost 30%, newspapers with 12.7%, magazines with 6.5%, outdoor and radio with around 7%, and cinema with 0.6%.

Digital advertising: While digital advertising still represents a small part of overall newspaper revenue, the industry was hoping to grow it as a significant source of revenue in the future. However its growth has declined to a CAGR of less than 10%. It increased by 7.3% in 2015 and 51 per cent over five years, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers Media & Entertainment Outlook.

Global print advertising: declined -7.5% in 2015 and declined -24% over five years. Since it began in the mid-1990s, Internet advertising (both desktop and mobile) has principally risen at the expense of print. Desktop and mobile Internet advertising grew 18.7% in 2015 and 102% over five years.

Regional print newspaper advertising: increased only in Latin America in 2015 at a modest rate of 0.3%, but fell in all other regions: -15.5% in Australia and Oceania, -9.7% in Asia and the Pacific, -7.2% in North America, and -6.2 per cent in Europe.

World Press Trends database

World Press Trends, the leading source of newspaper data and trends globally, has been published by WAN-IFRA since 1989. The data is compiled in an interactive database and in an annual report, both available to WAN-IFRA members without charge. For non-members, WAN-IFRA offers the database by individual access, on an annual subscription basis, and IP access that allows companies, universities or libraries to provide access to any number of users. Full details can be found at http://www.wan-ifra.org/wpt.