Survey forecasts gloomy future for red-top sales

Red-tops will suffer the most as circulation figures continue to drop, while free newspapers and online news services could replace the traditional print media, according to a survey conducted by MediaTel on the future of the national press, writes Henry Andreae.

The survey asked 15 of the UK’s top media agencies to forecast the circulation of daily and Sunday newspapers, and to estimate their share of advertising in 2008 and 2010, as well as to comment on what the key influences on the market might be in the future.

The survey showed that red-top daily and Sunday papers are predicted to see the most dramatic reductions in circulation by 2010. Survey respondents also forecast that mid-market papers would see a gradual decline in circulation, while qualities would remain steady.

National newspapers’ share of advertising is also predicted to decline, having reached its peak in 2000 and decreased ever since. The survey estimated that by 2010 newspapers’ share of advertising would drop by about 2.2 percentage points from today’s level.

Among the issues that survey respondents saw as being key to the future of the national press was the need to attract younger readers. One respondent said: “The potential younger reader does not have the time or inclination to seek out a view or analysis of a top story.

Rather they want the short, sharp, tothe- point treatment supplied by other online news services.”

One respondent said that the continued loss of advertising to the internet would be “extremely damaging” to the national press.

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