Global Newspaper Revenues: Circulation Overtakes Advertising

June 4, 2015

This article is included in these additional categories:

Asia-Pacific | Europe & Middle East | Global & Regional | Newspapers | Spending & Spenders

WAN-IFRA-Newspaper-Circs-Ad-Trends-in-2014-June2015Globally, revenues from newspaper circulation exceeded advertising revenues last year for the first time this century, reports the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) in its latest annual World Press Trends survey. Of the estimated US $179 billion in circulation and advertising revenue generated last year, $92 billion derived from print and digital circulation compared with $87 billion for advertising.

The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) has previously detailed a shifting revenue mix for newspapers in the US, though advertising had remained the dominant source of revenues at the time.

Although print ad spending has been on the decline in the US, newspaper ads still have a significant influence on consumers’ purchase decisions, especially when measured against their reach, according to a newly-released MarketingCharts report [download page]. In fact, newspaper ads are behind only direct mail and TV ads among paid media in stated purchase influence, per the study, which also analyzed attention to advertisers across various media.

Returning to the WAN-IFRA study, the data shows that print circulation revenues grew by 6.4% in 2014 and has increased by 16.4% over 5 years. However, print advertising spending declined by 5.2% year-over-year and by 17.5% over the 5-year period.

The report indicates a wide disparity in newspapers’ fortunes when sorting by region:

  • North America

Print circulation was down by 1.3% year-over-year, and by 8.8% over 5 years.
Print ad revenues were down by 7.5% year-over-year, and by 28.2% over 5 years.

  • Europe

Print circulation decreased by 4.5% year-over-year, and by 21.3% over 5 years.
Print ad revenues declined by 5% year-over-year, and by 23.1% over 5 years.

  • Asia-Pacific Region

Print circulation was up by 9.8% year-over-year in Asia, and by 32.7% over 5 years, largely on the back of large increases in India.
Print circulation declined by 5.3% year-over-year in Australia and Oceania, and by 22.3% over 5 years.
Print ad revenues were down 6.5% year-over-year in Asia and the Pacific, and declined by 7.3% over 5 years.

  • Latin America

Print circulation increased by 0.6% year-over-year, and by ~3% over 5 years.
Print ad revenues grew by 4.9% year-over-year, and by 27.7% over 5 years.

  • Middle East and Africa

Print circulation rose by 1.2% year-over-year, and by 3.7% over 5 years.
Print ad revenues grew by 2.2% year-over-year, but declined by 22.1% over 5 years.

Other Findings:

  • Globally, some 93% of newspaper revenues are derived from print.
  • While newspapers’ digital ad revenues aren’t expected to overtake print ad revenues, they grew by 8.5% in 2015 and by nearly 60% over 5 years.
  • Paid digital circulation increased by 56% year-over-year and by more than 1,420% over the past 5 years, says WAN-IFRA citing PricewaterhouseCoopers data, though this growth has been from a small base.
  • Roughly 2.7 billion people globally read print newspapers, and more than 770 million read them on desktop digital platforms.
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