London: Contrary to the myth that newspapers are losing out to TV channels and Internet, their numbers and circulation moved higher last year across the world, with India and China posting significant gains, World Association of Newspapers said on 8 May.
The paid-for newspaper circulation rose by 1.9% over the 12 months and by 8.7% over five years to more than 510 million copies in 2006, while the number of new paid-for titles crossed the 11,000 mark for the first time in the history, WAN said quoting preliminary data from its World Press Trends survey.
“Circulations continue to grow globally and not just in China and India,” the association said, while asserting that these facts and figures have belied various myths about the newspapers, such as “circulations are falling” and “newspaper as a medium and a business is on decline”.
However, India and China continued to play a major role in the rising circulations. Excluding Asia (including India and China), the global paid-for circulation was up just 0.04%.
Across the various sub-continents, Asia recorded a 2.99% growth, second biggest after South America’s 4.59%. However, North America recorded a decline of 1.97% in the paid-for circulations in 2006.
Asia also recorded the biggest rise of 6.13% in the number of paid-for titles, as against a total of 3.22% globally and declines in North and South Americas.
The free daily newspaper circulation more than doubled over the five years to 40.8 million copies a day, while more than 1.4 billion people are now reading a newspaper daily, the survey found.
Including the free newspapers, the circulation rose by a higher rate of 4.3% in one year and by 14.2% over five years. The total number of paid-for newspapers and the combined total of free and paid-for titles rose to 510.4 million and 551.2 million in 2006, the survey found.
“The chorus of disapproval for newspapers is certainly a global trend these days, as many media commentators have become profoundly bearish and negative about newspapers.
“But their views are belied by the facts about the relevance, vibrancy and future vitality of newspapers in this fast-growing digital age,” it added.
“The prognosis for newspapers is actually different to conventional wisdom,” WAN president and Independent News & Media Ltd chief operating officer Gavin O’Reilly said in a statement.
According to WAN, print has emerged as the biggest advertising medium in the world with a 42% market share, while newspapers alone are the second largest after TV with 29.4% of global ad spending.
Newspapers actually represent more than the combined advertising value of radio, cinema, magazines and the Internet, O’Reilly said.
Advertising revenue rose 4% in 2006 and 15.6% over the past five years.
It also said that the newspaper companies continue to invest heavily in their businesses and their future. More than $6 billion have been invested in the newspaper printing and production equipments in the last 18 months.