World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Full highlights of World Press Trends 2016 survey

Full highlights of World Press Trends 2016 survey

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WAN-IFRA's annual World Press Trends 2016 survey reveals a number of valuable insights and trends, including the fact that audiences continue to contribute the majority of daily revenues for news media companies. Here are the full highlights of the findings of the study.

World Press Trends data showed that newspapers generated an estimated US$ 168 billion in circulation and advertising revenue in 2015. Ninety billion dollars (53 percent) came from print and digital circulation, while $ 78 billion came from advertising, the survey said.

Together with magazines, newspapers are the third largest among all cultural and creative industries, and the two sectors are creating around 2.9 million jobs worldwide. Total global newspaper revenues fell 1.2 percent in 2015 from a year earlier and are down 4.3 percent over the last five years. WAN-IFRA estimates of global industry revenue again include data on non-daily revenue, which is estimated at US$ 8 billion.

More than 2.7 billion adults are reading newspapers in print globally. Digital newspaper readership is growing, and in some of the most developed economies, readership on all digital platforms has surpassed the number of readers in print. World Press Trends analysis estimates that at least 40 percent of global Internet users read newspapers online.

The challenge for the industry remains the combined measurement of reach and influence of newspaper content on all platforms with new metrics.

The survey revealed:

For some publishers it’s mobile-first, but some are already mobile-only

-- The worldwide smartphone market saw a total of 1.4 billion units shipped in 2015, making it the top year for shipments on record, with around 30% of the world's population owning a smartphone today.

-- Mobile growth represents a huge opportunity for newspapers and other news brands. In the US, more than 80% of people are engaged with newspaper digital content, and more than 70% of Australians and Canadians read a newspaper via digital device. News brands reach 70% of the UK population across online, tablet and mobile. According to the Newspaper Association of America, more than half of the US newspaper digital audience uses only mobile devices (smartphones or tablets) for their newspaper digital content.

-- According to comScore, the top 10 digital media in the US have on average 37% of their audience visiting only via mobile and another 31% visiting via both mobile and desktop. In markets such as France, Germany, Japan, Australia and Canada, more than one third of the adult population use mobile to access news media content – and growth is rapid.

-- Desktop audience numbers continue to fall. Time spent using smartphones now exceeds web usage on computers in the US, Canada, the UK and Italy.

-- The growing number of smartphones and tablets is also boosting the use of data-intensive applications such as video, and Cisco is projecting a 66% annual increase of mobile data usage by 2019. Among online 16-34s, almost 95% watch video, and even among the oldest group tracked by the Global Web Index (the 55-64s), 8 out of 10 engage with video. Eight to 9 billion videos per day are watched on Facebook, 8 billion per day on Snapchat, 4 billion a day on Youtube.

-- App usage in the US represents 75% of mobile engagement. The top five apps capture 88 percent of a user’s app time, according to comScore. However, user time on smartphones is largely concentrated on social media platforms and entertainment brands.

-- According to comScore, several major traditional print publishers experienced online visitor gains of more than 20% in 2015, led by the growth of mobile. The Washington Post had 78% year-over-year audience growth, and Dow Jones & Company (publisher of The Wall Street Journal) had growth of 58%.

Digital circulation revenues grow

-- Print unit circulation increased +4.9 percent globally in 2015 from a year earlier and shows a five-year growth of +21.6 percent. This is largely the result of circulation growth in India, China and elsewhere in Asia, as expanding literacy, economic growth, and low copy prices boost newspaper consumption. India and China together accounted for an astonishing 62% of global average daily print unit circulation in 2015, up from 59% in 2014.

-- Circulation rose +7.8 percent in Asia in 2015 from a year earlier; it fell -2.4 percent in North America, -2.7 percent in Latin America, -2.6 percent in the Middle East and Africa, -4.7 percent in Europe and -5.4 percent in Australia and Oceania. Over five years, newspaper print unit circulations rose +38.6 percent in Asia but fell elsewhere: -1.2 percent in the Middle East and Africa, -1.5 percent in Latin America, -10.9 percent in North America, -23.8 percent in Europe, and -22.3 percent in Australia and Oceania.

-- Paid digital circulation revenues continue to grow at double-digit rates, and have increased 30 percent in 2015 and 547 percent over five years. With revenues of more than US$ 3 billion, digital circulation is now starting to make up for lost print circulation revenues in many markets. Amongst online news users – as opposed to the entire population – about one in five pay for online news in the countries studied.

-- In the most advanced markets, especially regional and local ones, sales of print products are stabilizing as an important element of a larger product mix. Many successful print products are smaller, community- and interest-focused, and follow the needs and habits of various specific audiences.

Print still pays, while publishers diversify their products and revenue sources

-- As mentioned previously, in 2015 the industry made US$90 billion from print and digital circulation, while $78 billion came from print and digital advertising. Global newspaper market figures show that more than 92 percent of all newspaper revenues still come from print. The seven biggest newspaper markets are still the United States, Japan, Germany, China, the United Kingdom, India and Brazil, commanding more than half of global newspaper revenues and about 80% of global daily unit circulation.

-- While digital advertising still represents a small part of overall newspaper revenue, the industry was hoping to grow it as a significant source of revenue in the future. However, its growth has declined to a CAGR of less than 10 percent. It increased by 7.3 percent in 2015 and 51 percent over five years, according to PwC Global Entertainment and Media Outlook: 2016-2020.

-- The main benefactors of digital ad spending continue to be social media and technology companies. Google takes the biggest share, US$67 billion, which includes Google Search and YouTube revenues. Google has recently introduced deep links for mobile apps, in order to make mobile content accessible during searches. Additionally, it is focusing on improving its revenues from YouTube’s video display ads and its programmatic ad platform. In 2015, around $13 billion (80 percent of the total) of Facebook’s advertising revenue came from mobile, with much of its recent growth coming from its native mobile apps. In China, Tencent and Baidu, the leading social platform and search engine respectively, contributed 56 percent of ad revenue growth among the major companies on the online market.

-- While total Internet advertising revenues reached US$170 billion in 2015, the full potential of the sector remains unfulfilled, as consumers turn to ad blocking to overcome their frustration with ads’ impact on page loading times and data consumption. More positively, programmatic advertising has grown rapidly, with more than half of digital ads in mature markets now traded automatically – opening the way to better targeting of premium ads. While automated trading can definitely be a huge benefit for media owners, consumers and advertisers alike, this is another example where we as an industry need to inject qualitative measures into the algorithm: trust, context and design. Trading that continues to ignore these measures risks triggering purely short-term planning and buying decisions, which would ultimately damage brands and push prices down.

-- According to the latest report from PageFair, at least 419 million people (22% of the world’s 1.9 billion smartphone users) are blocking ads on the mobile web. Ad blocking on the mobile web grew by 90% globally in 2015. Early adopters are now blocking ads on apps and walled-garden platforms such as Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, and Apple News as well.

"When it comes to ad blocking we have to face the fact that we have greatly contributed to the negative reputation of digital and mobile ads," Mr Peyrègne said. "But this crisis contains the seeds of an opportunity. The threat of ad blocking offers publishers a great chance to rethink their users’ culture, enabling them to redefine how advertising performance and engagement really works and how we apply knowledge about our users to improve the product and the experience.”

TV takes biggest bite of advertising, but internet and mobile gaining

-- According to data from Zenith Optimedia, television continues to maintain the largest share of global advertising revenues at just under 37 percent, followed by desktop and mobile internet with almost 30 percent, newspapers with 12.7 percent, magazines with 6.5 percent, outdoor and radio with around 7 percent, and cinema with 0.6 percent.

-- Print advertising worldwide declined -7.5 percent in 2015 and declined -24 percent over five years. Since it began in the mid-1990s, internet advertising (both desktop and mobile) has risen principally at the expense of print. Desktop and mobile Internet advertising grew 18.7 percent in 2015 and 102 percent over five years.

-- Print newspaper advertising increased in 2015 only in Latin America, at a modest rate of 0.3 percent, but fell in all other regions: -15.5 percent in Australia and Oceania, -9.7 percent in Asia and the Pacific, -7.2 percent in North America, and -6.2 percent in Europe.

World Press Trends database

WAN-IFRA, the global organisation for newspapers and news publishers, is a leading provider of industry research and analysis that identifies, analyses and publishes all important breakthroughs and opportunities that can benefit news media all over the world.

World Press Trends, the leading source of newspaper data and trends globally, has been published by WAN-IFRA since 1989. The data is compiled in an interactive database and in an annual report, both available to WAN-IFRA members without charge. For non-members, WAN-IFRA offers the database by individual access, on an annual subscription basis, and IP access that allows companies, universities or libraries to provide access to any number of users. Full details can be found at

The World Press Trends database contains individual country reports and aggregated data and trends on circulation and readership, advertising revenues, digital publishing and much more.

The database allows users to generate custom reports, choosing from a large number of criteria to produce reports that meet their own specific needs. These can be downloaded in Excel to enable in-depth analysis, benchmarks and historic trends.

The database has been updated with a new, dynamic design for country reports, which makes it easier than ever to display the data. The database currently includes data for the years 2006 to 2015 from 70 countries.

World Press Trends can tell you how many newspaper titles are published worldwide. Which daily newspaper has the largest circulation in the world? Which country has the biggest number of top 100 dailies by circulation?

It can tell you the number of titles and circulation by countries, or aggregated worldwide; newspaper reach, readership and media consumption trends: online editions and online readership; top newspaper advertisers and advertising categories; cover prices; advertising expenditures and revenues; market share of newspapers and other media; and much more.



Teemu Henriksson's picture

Teemu Henriksson


2016-06-12 00:27

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World Press Trends, the primary and most authoritative source of data on the newspaper industry worldwide, published annually since 1989, is now available in an interactive format: the World Press Trends Database. Read more ...