Four billion people read newspapers every day

Picture used for illustrative purposes alone
Picture used for illustrative purposes alone

According to Werfel, the United States remains the world's largest market for print newspapers.

By Bernd Debusmann Jr.

Published: Tue 14 Mar 2017, 9:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 14 Mar 2017, 11:46 PM

Despite the global shift towards digital platforms, newspaper revenue continues to come overwhelmingly from print, according to Manfred Werfel, the Deputy CEO of WAN-IFRA.
Speaking at the WAN-IFRA Middle East Conference on Tuesday during a session entitled "The Power of Print", Werfel noted that newspapers continue to be strong compared to other forms of media.
"Newspapers are by far stronger than the movie sector, and by far stronger than books and so on - 2.7 billion people read printed newspapers every day, while 1.3 billion people read newspapers on the Internet," he said. "(It remains) a very strong, influential medium."
Of the total revenue of newspapers globally, 92 per cent still comes from print, according to WAN-IFRA statistics.
"Print is the core of the newspaper industry," Werfel noted.
According to Werfel, the United States remains the world's largest market for print newspapers.
"Many people believe it has worsened.but no. USA is still the number one market, with Japan at number two and Germany on number three positions," he said. "But India and Brazil are coming up."
"These seven markets (together with China and the UK) generate half of the global revenue and 80 per cent of global circulation," Werfel added.
The greatest growth, Werfel noted, is in Asia, which showed eight per cent growth in the last year, and 39 per cent growth in the last five years.
"Global print circulation is growing year by year. From 2014 to 2015, there was a five per cent growth," he said. "But the picture is very different in different regions of the world. All the growth comes from Asia," he said. "You (also) have a couple of stagnating markets, like Latin America (and) here in the Middle East. Even North America can be considered as a stagnating market, with a decline of only two per cent per year."
"The problem areas are in Europe, the most developed newspaper markets, and Australia," he added.
Despite growing circulation revenue, print advertising isn't performing well, Werfel noted.
"Print advertising is declining dramatically," he said. "Digital advertising is growing, but it does not compensate for the losses in print. So, our problem in this industry isn't in circulation, it's in advertising."
"In the past, advertising was almost stronger than circulation revenues, but.advertising revenues over the years steadily declined, and on the other side, circulation revenues went up," he added. "Since 2014 circulation revenues bypassed advertising on a global perspective for the first time."
"This is good and this is bad," Werfel noted. "The good part is that we have loyal customers. The bad part is that it doesn't compensate for the losses in the advertising area."
However, in some places, such as Germany, advertising revenues have risen slightly.
"We know from many other markets that print is still the preferred medium of the readers," Werfel added. "And we see new products developing. We see a lot of innovation and a lot of support from the readers."

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