UK misses out on global newspaper sales boom

By Jon Slattery

Falling sales of newspapers in the UK have not been reflected
worldwide, according to the latest survey by the World Association of
Newspapers.

WAN found that world circulation of newspapers increased last year
by 2.1 per cent and, significantly, gains were made in both developing
and mature markets. In the UK, however, newspaper sales were down 4.4
per cent last year and over the five years to the end of 2004 have
dropped more than 11 per cent.

WAN director Timothy Balding said:
“It has been an extraordinarily positive 12 months for the global
newspaper industry. We have come to expect big circulation gains in
developing countries, but it has been a very long time since we saw
such a revival in so many mature markets. Newspapers are clearly
undergoing a renaissance through new products, new formats, new titles,
new editorial approaches and better distribution and
marketing.”Newspapers in eight European Union countries increased their
circulation in 2004, compared with only one country in 2003. They were:
Austria up 1.9 per cent; Belgium up 0.54 per cent; Estonia up 2.39 per
cent; Finland up 0.53 per cent; Italy up 0.19 per cent; Poland up 15.21
per cent; Portugal up 5.78 per cent; and Spain up 1.31 per cent.

Those
reporting losses were: Czech Republic down 0.36 per cent; Denmark down
4.06 per cent; France down 1.28 per cent; Germany down 2.11 per cent;
Greece down 0.64 per cent; Hungary down 4.55 per cent; Ireland down
3.89 per cent; Latvia down 0.56 per cent; Luxembourg down 0.02 per
cent; the Netherlands down 3.35 per cent; Slovakia down 5.14 per cent;
Sweden down 0.43 per cent; and the UK down 4.43 per cent.

Circulation of US dailies fell by 1.0 per cent in 2004 and by 2.06 per cent over the five years to the end of 2004.

In
Japan, newspaper sales grew by 0.04 per cent in 2004, the first
increase in many years. In China, newspapersales continue to perform
well, up 3.7 per cent last year and in Russia, the number of daily
titles grew from 472 in 2003 to 485 in 2004.

Sales of newspapers
in India are up 14 per cent in the five years to the end of 2004. In
Pakistan, sales were up 13 per cent over the same period.

Australia
recorded a decline, with sales falling 1.21 per cent in 2004 and 4.83
per cent over five years, while in New Zealand sales were stable
year-onyear, but were down by 4.96 per cent over five years.

The
Norwegians and the Japanese remain the world’s greatest newspaper
buyers with, respectively, 651 and 644 sales per thousand population
each day.

Finland comes next with 522, followed by Sweden with 489.

Three-quarters
of the world’s 100 best-selling dailies are now published in Asia and
China has overtaken Japan as the country with the highest number of
publications in the top 100.

The total number of daily titles in the world – 6,580 – was up two per cent.

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