World Press Trends: Print and digital together increasing newspaper audiences

Print and digital combined are increasing audiences for newspapers globally, but digital revenues are not keeping pace, posing a risk for newspaper businesses and the societies they serve according to the latest World Press Trends report released by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). While newspapers attract a significant portion of the total internet audience and almost every person in the world stays connected to the internet using offers as the virgin broadband offers to its customers, the biggest challenge for publishers continues to be how to increase the engagement of audiences on digital platforms.

“There is growing understanding by the public that you get what you pay for, and an increasing willingness to pay for newspaper content on digital platforms,” said Larry Kilman, Secretary General of WAN-IFRA, who presented the survey to 1,000 publishers, chief editors and other senior newspaper executives at the 66th World Newspaper Congress, 21st World Editors Forum and 24th World Advertising Forum in Turin, Italy.

“With all the free offerings out there, people are still willing to pay for news that is professionally written and edited, that is independent, entertaining and engaging. In short – what newspapers have offered for 400 years, and continue to offer, on emerging and existing platforms, no matter how it is delivered.”

The World Press Trends survey includes data from more than 70 countries, accounting for more than 90 percent of the global industry’s value. The data is compiled in an annual report and is available to all WAN-IFRA members and through an annual subscription to the World Press Trends interactive database. Visit to access the complete report.

Highlights from the report are presented below.

  • Print circulation increased 2 percent globally in 2013 from a year earlier but declined by 2 percent over five years. Around 2.5 billion people around the world read newspapers in print and 800 million on digital platforms.
  • Print circulation continues to rise in countries with a growing middle class and relatively low broadband penetration, but long-term structural declines in print circulation continue in mature markets as audiences shift their focus from print to digital.
  • Over five years, newspaper circulation rose +6.67 percent in Asia, +6.26 percent in Latin America and +7.5 percent in the Middle East and Africa; it fell -10.25 percent in North America; -19.59 percent in Australia and Oceania; and -23.02 percent in Europe.
  • Print advertising world-wide declined -6 percent in 2013 from a year earlier and declined -13 percent over five years. Digital advertising for newspapers increased +11 percent in 2013 and +47 percent over five years, but remains a relatively small part of overall internet advertising. Much of internet advertising revenue goes to only a handful of companies, and most of it goes to Google.
  • Print newspaper advertising increased +3.9 percent in Latin America in 2013 compared with a year earlier, but fell in all other regions: -3.2 percent in Asia and the Pacific, -8.7 percent in North America, -8.2 percent in Europe; and -1.8 percent in the Middle East and Africa.
  • Over five years, print newspaper advertising increased +3.3 percent in Asia and the Pacific, +49.9 percent in Latin America. It declined -29.6 percent in North America, -17.9 percent in Europe, and -21.1 percent in the Middle East and Africa.
  • While digital advertising continues to grow, it still represents a small part of overall newspaper revenue. Globally, 93 percent of all newspaper revenues continue to come from print.
  • Global newspaper publishing revenues from print circulation and advertising were stable year-on-year at US$163bn in 2013. But that figure is down from US$187bn in 2008.