Print circulation and ad revenue resist digital 'onslaught'

The global newspaper industry is thriving despite the growth of digital media, the 14th World Editors’ Forum in Cape Town heard today.

Circulation rose by 2.3 per cent in 2006 to 515 million papers bought each day. This figure is an increase of 9.8 per cent on five years ago.

When the huge growth of free newspapers in recent years across the world is taken into account, global circulation rose by 4.6 per cent to 551 million last year. Frees now make up eight per cent of the world’s newspaper circulation and nearly a third in Europe alone.

Europe saw the smallest circulation rise – 0.74 per cent year on year – but the UK suffered a drop of 2.6 per cent. America was the only continent not to see any increase at all.

The figures, from the World Association of Newspapers’ annual survey of global press trends, claims that advertising revenues in paid-for dailies rose by 3.7 per cent year on year in 2006, up 15.7 per cent over the last five years.

Timothy Balding, chief executive of WAN, said: ‘Newspapers in developing markets continue to increase circulation by leaps and bounds, and in mature markets are showing remarkable resilience against the onslaught of digital media. Even in many developed nations, the industry is maintaining or even increasing sales.

‘As the digital tide gathers strength, it is remarkable that the press in print continues to be the media of preference for the majority of readers who want to remain informed.

‘These results are even better than we expected from provisional data available a few months ago. Once again we can see that far from being an industry in decline, as the ill-informed and short-sighted continue to contend, newspapers are alive and well and exhibiting enormous innovation and energy to maintain their place as the news media of preference for hundreds of millions of people daily.”

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