Sweden: Global newspaper circulation is rising, buoyed by demand in Asia and South America, belying predictions of the demise of print journalism, officials said at the start of an international newspaper conference.
Circulation of paid newspapers rose 2.6% worldwide in 2007, with the biggest jump in India and China, which is now the largest market for newspapers with 107 million copies sold daily, according to a report by the World Associated of Newspapers.
However, readership continued to slip in the U.S. and Europe, where traditional dailies face stiff competition from free newspapers and digital media, the study showed.
Newspapers and print not dead yet
Officials said the findings were cause for a degree of optimism about the industry. “They say newspapers and print are dead. Well, I just don’t see it,” the association’s president, Timothy Balding, told more than 1,800 publishers, editors and other senior newspapers executives at the three-day conference.
The strong sales in Asia, which is home to 74 of the world’s 100 best-selling dailies, contrasted starkly with declining newspaper readership in the West.
Last year, circulation fell 3% in the U.S. and 1.9% in Europe, the report showed; over the past five years, circulation has been down 8% in the U.S.
Advertising followed a similar trend. Newspaper advertising revenue rose in all regions except the United States, where it fell 3% in 2007, the report said.
Advertising revenues up, multimedia platforms need of the hour
Meanwhile, Internet advertising revenue worldwide was up 32%, showing the rapid growth of online media.
Research presented at the conference also indicated an accelerating shift from print to online media, and that editors are increasingly aware of the need to develop multimedia platforms in order to reach new audiences.
People in the industry talk of “1-2-3 filing,” that starts with a news alert headline for breaking news, followed by a short present-tense story predominantly for the Web and broadcasters. The third step is to add details and format stories in ways most appropriate for different news platforms.
Newspaper reading patterns changing
A study commissioned by The Associated Press showed young adults have profoundly different news consumption patterns from previous generations.
“People don’t walk out to the driveway to collect their newspaper. They open their e-mail,” Jim Kennedy, AP’s director of strategic planning, said in presenting the study.
The research project, carried out by the Context-Based Research Group, also showed young adults experience news fatigue from being inundated by facts and updates and have trouble accessing in-depth stories.
A worldwide survey of 704 newspaper editors by Zogby International and Reuters showed 44 percent believed most people would be reading their news online in 10 years. That was up from 41% in a similar study last year.
Balding said a survey of Nordic newspaper editors suggested they see free newspapers as their main competitors, followed by the Internet. Free dailies account for nearly 7% of global newspaper circulation and 23% of circulation in Europe, the report said.