Sunday, 13 December 2009

World Association of Newspapers: India emerges as the biggest newspaper market in the world

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Dec 1: India has emerged as the biggest newspaper market in the world with 107 million daily sales.
Presenting the annual press trends update at the ongoing world press summit here, Timothy Balding, co-CEO of WAN-IFRA said globally, 1.9 billion people choose to read a newspaper every day, or 34 per cent of the world population, while 24 per cent use the internet. The biggest newspaper market in the world is India, with 107 million daily sales.
India, China and Japan account for more than 60 per cent of the world's newspaper sales, with the USA taking 14 per cent. "While it is true that in some regions circulation is not a boom sector, newspapers continue to be a global mass media to be reckoned with, achieving reach of over 34 per cent," said Balding.
In terms of sales per 1,000 adult population, Japan leads the world with 612, followed by Norway with 576, and Finland with 482. In terms of reach, 91 per cent of Japanese continue to read a newspaper daily ­ a remarkable figure in such a technologically advanced and wired society.
While India has emerged as the major newspaper market, newspapers world-wide will have to search for new business models including paid-for on-line access for news to increase their revenues.
"At no time in the foreseeable future will digital advertising revenues replace those lost to print, making the search for new business models ­including paid-for on-line access for news," according to the latest update on
world Press trends released by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, which is currently meeting in the city.
Timothy Balding said as search engines take the largest slice of internet advertising revenues, little is left for the content generators themselves. In a 182-billion dollar press advertising industry, digital revenues of newspapers accounted for less than six billion dollars last year and are forecast by PricewaterhouseCoopers to grow to no more than 8.4 billion dollars by 2013.
At the same time, print advertising is expected to decline. PwC predicts that by 2013, combined print and digital ad revenues will be less than print only ad revenues were in 2008.
"If newspaper companies wish to maintain their strong content leadership, someone is going to have to pay. It looks like we have to solve the digital payment issue ­ and soon," he said.
The annual world press trends survey gains significance in the backdrop of the debate on paid content, at the summit. Yet despite the problems of falling advertising revenues, forecasts of even further declines, and pressure from new competitors, the global newspaper industry is far from facing an "apocalypse," he pointed out.
The WAN-IFRA survey showed that newspaper circulation grew, on a global scale, by 1.3 percent in 2008, the last full year for which data exists, and almost 9 percent over five years.
The data shows consistent newspaper growth in Africa, Asia and South America, and a long-term slowdown in the US and European markets.
"But even here, a sense of proportion demands that we deny the idea that the apocalypse is upon us," said Mr Balding. "A circulation drop in Europe, for example, is less than three per cent over five years. Over five years, according to our survey, newspaper circulation increased in 100 of the 182 nations for which we have reliable data."

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