Paid-for newspaper circulation went up 1.9 percent year-on-year to more than 510 million paid-for copies in 2006 and the number of new paid-for titles grew to more than 11,000 for the first time in history, WAN announced during presentations in London to investors, analysts and media correspondents.
"The prognosis for newspapers is actually quite different to conventional wisdom," said Gavin O'Reilly, President of WAN and Chief Operating Officer of Independent News & Media Ltd.
"Those of us in the newspaper business are very confident in the future -- a future that is built on doing what we do best -- producing relevant and compelling products for our local markets, aggregating growing audiences and showcasing them to advertisers," he said.
The numbers presented Tuesday are based on preliminary figures gathered by WAN from more than 200 countries and territories -- everywhere newspapers are published -- for its annual World Press Trends survey, which will be published next month at the World Newspaper Congress and World Editors Forum in Cape Town, South Africa (http://www.wn-press.org/capetown2007).
Tuesday's presentation revealed: - Paid-for circulations grew 1.9 percent over 12 months and 8.7 percent over five years. When free newspapers are added, global circulation grew 4.3 percent year-on-year.
- Free daily newspaper circulation more than doubled over five years, to 40.8 million copies a day.
- More than 1.4 billion people now read a newspaper daily.
- Paid-for daily titles surpassed 11,000 for the first time in history.
- Print is the biggest advertising medium in the world, with a 42 percent share. Newspapers alone are the second largest, with 29.4 percent of global advertising spend. "Hidden in those figures is the fact that newspapers -- as the second largest advertising medium to TV -- actually represent more than the combined advertising value of radio, cinema, magazines and the internet," Mr O'Reilly said.
- Advertising revenues rose 4 percent in 12 months and 15.6 percent over the past five years.
- More than 6 billion US dollars have been invested in newspaper printing and production equipment in the last 18 months.
"There is no shortage of statistical data on circulations, on readership, on viewership, on time spent online -- and while there are doubtless pluses and minuses in the detail for newspapers, the indisputable fact is that newspapers increasingly represent the mass market media channel of the future and not the past, delivering a large, broadly stable, reliable and definable demographic," said Mr O'Reilly.
The new figures were revealed in presentations at WAN's Capital Markets Day in London, which is part of a global WAN initiative to promote the power of the newspaper and to rectify some of the absurd and damaging claims being made about its imminent demise.
The event drew investors, analysts and advisors from major investment banks and companies including Bear Stearns, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Alliance Bernstein, Fidelity International, and many others.
The campaign also includes a multi-language, multi-market advertising campaign that WAN is running to provide a necessary counterbalance to the misinformation about newspapers. The first ad ran in British and other major markets today.
"The Facts About Newspapers, Not the Myths," presentation also revealed that:
- Of the established media, newspapers are far better at managing the economic cycle than their competitors.
- Newspapers represent the only true mass media market channel - being essentially "fragmentation-proof".
- Newspapers are competing far more effectively against the onslaught of digital media than broadcast.
- Broadband penetration is not adversely impacting underlying volumes of advertising.
- In the last 24 months, more new, innovative newspaper products have been launched than over the prior 30 years.
- The new "free" dailies have - in a short time - captured over 40 million readers, particularly among the young.
- Newspaper companies continue to invest heavily in their business and their future.
"I want to suggest that the risk profile for newspapers has now shifted to the upside -- in other words, newspapers are back on the investment horizon," said Mr O'Reilly. "That is not to say that everyone is universally bullish about them yet, but with newspaper multiples nearing historic lows, they now represent a fantastic investment opportunity."