Reports on Newspapers’ Death Are Greatly Exagerated

The World Association of Newspapers has just released global circulation data to try to debunk the myth that newspapers are dying.


  • Global newspaper circulation up 9.95 percent over five years and 2.36 percent over twelve months
  • Daily newspaper titles surpass 10,000 for first time in history with more than 450 million copies sold daily
  • In excess of 1.4 billion paid-newspaper readers
  • Total free daily circulation more than doubles in five years from 12 million copies in 2001 to 28 million in 2005, an increase of 137 percent
  • Combined paid-for and free newspaper circulation increased globally 9.95 percent over five years, and 2.36 percent over one year, in 2005, the most recent period for which full-year figures are available
  • North America showed a five-year circulation increase of 0.70 percent and was virtually stable over one year
  • Europe showed a 2.12 percent increase over five years and a one-year increase of 4.18 percent

Via the Center for Media Research

What it means: while the chairman of the New York Times Company is looking at how to best manage the transition from print to Internet, the World Association of Newspapers releases data showing some growth on the print newspaper’s side. What I find interesting is the data about free newspaper growth. On the Web, it’s very rare that the user ends up paying for content. TV, radio, business directories are also subsidized by advertisers. Does this mean that part of the problem is on the consumer pricing side (i.e. what would happened if all newspapers dropped their prices)? Or is this just a new consumer segment? I’d be curious to hear from newspaper experts.


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