1 NEWS MEDIA CONUMDRUM:This year’s research and data bear out the paradox within our industry. With global revenues (-3% YoY, print & digital) and (especially newsroom) resources continuing to shrink, the business challenges facing publishers are palpable. However, quality news has never been in more demand than today, reflected in the growth of paying audiences for news content (+0.5% YoY).
2 THE SUBSCRIPTION ECONOMY: Paying news audiences – print and digital – rose to 640 million per day in 2018, fuelled primarily by the continued strategy and growth in getting readers to convert to digital subscribers (up 11% YoY). Digital news subscriber numbers worldwide have increased 208% over five years to 2018 and are expected to grow by a further 13% in 2019. Nearly 54% of newspapers’ overall revenue comes from circulation sales, up 1% YoY but forecast down 2% for 2019 as prices come under pressure.
3 PRINT STILL PAYING THE BILLS: Despite much of the focus on digital transformation, we estimate that print revenues still account for about 86 percent of news publishers’ revenue. In 2018 print circulation declined only 1 percent globally. Naturally, that picture varies from region to region and from country to country. For the most part, however, print advertising continues its steep decline (-7% YoY).
4 THAT OTHER CONUNDRUM – TECH GIANTS: Google continues to be the most important traffic source for news media companies globally, accounting for two out of every three page views from the leading global technology companies, according to our analysis of data from Chartbeat. Worldwide, Google provides 25 times the traffic for publishers that Twitter does and almost two and a half times what Facebook does. Yet the relationship with tech platforms remains tenuous if at times hopeful.
5 THE POWER OF A FREE AND INDEPENDENT PRESS: This year’s World Press Trends also offers robust statistical evidence that shows direct and strong relationships between a free and independent press and factors that indicate the strength of democracies, the health of societies, as well as both the wealth of nations and the fortunes of its people.