Print newspaper circulation around the world actually increased by 2% year-over-year in 2013, as gains in Asia and Latin America offset losses in other regions, according to the latest World Press Trends survey of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, which includes data from more than 90% of the global industry’s value. The study shows that around 2.5 billion people around the world read newspapers in print and 800 million on digital platforms. While overall print circulation figures saw a small increase, print ad spend fell by 6% in 2013 and is down 13% during the past 5 years. (Newspaper ads remain very influential among Baby Boomers in the US, though, according to a new MarketingCharts Debrief [download page] on advertising to Baby Boomers.)
The research reveals a rather wide variance in newspaper’s fortunes when sorting by region:
- North America
Print circulation was down by 5.3% year-over-year, and by 10.3% over 5 years.
Print ad revenues were down by 8.7% year-over-year, and by 29.6% over 5 years.
Print circulation decreased by 5.2% year-over-year, and by 23% over 5 years.
Print ad revenues declined by 8.2% year-over-year, and by 17.9% over 5 years.
- Asia and the Pacific
Print circulation was up by 1.5% year-over-year in Asia, and by 6.7% over 5 years.
Print circulation declined by 9.9% year-over-year in Australia and Oceania, and by 19.6% over 5 years.
Print ad revenues were down by 3.2% year-over-year in Asia and the Pacific, but increased by 3.3% over 5 years.
- Latin America
Print circulation increased by 2.6% year-over-year, and by 6.3% over 5 years.
Print ad revenues grew by 3.9% year-over-year, and by 49.9% over 5 years.
- Middle East and Africa
Print circulation dropped by 1% year-over-year, but increased by 7.5% over 5 years.
Print ad revenues decreased by 1.8% year-over-year, and declined by 21.1% over 5.
Overall, print newspaper advertising revenues have declined at a faster rate globally than circulation. And digital gains (digital advertising grew 11% year-over-year and by 47% over 5 years) are yet to stem the tide of print losses; globally, 93% of newspaper revenues are driven by print.
Separately, a new study challenges the assumption that the internet is responsible for newspapers’ decline.
- Newspaper publishing revenues on a global level deriving from print circulation and advertising were stable year-over-year at $163 billion, but down from $187 billion in 2008, per the World Press Trends survey.
- Paid digital circulation increased by 60% year-over-year and by more than 2,000% over the past 5 years, but from a small base.
- Almost half – 46% – of the world’s population visits newspaper websites, but newspaper comprise just 6% of total visits, 0.8% of page viewed and 1.1% of total time spent with digital platforms.
- A plurality 36% of newspapers’ market value is in Asian, closely followed by Europe (34%), while 21% share of global value is in North America and 9% in Latin America.
- Packaging of print and digital subscriptions appears to be performing well. Where data is available, the research shows that single copy sales are down 26%, while subscription sales are down 8%.