Dr Francois Nel was one of three experts selected to undertake the industry overview
A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) academic’s expertise in journalism has seen him take a leading role in studying world press trends.
Dr François Nel, Reader in Media Innovation at the Media Innovation Studio, was one of three European-based experts who undertook the analysis for the 30th edition of the World Press Trends report.
The findings of the report underscores the ongoing conundrum of the industry: Overall global revenues in 2018 continued to shrink as did newsrooms, yet paying audiences and demand for quality news continue to increase.
"This year’s data also shows the myriad challenges facing publishers, but, quite interestingly, statistical evidence of the impact of a free and independent press on a number of critical societal issues."
The report analyses the data collected from WAN-IFRA’s annual survey of more than 50 countries, in addition to the insights and data from its global partners, including ZenithOptimedia, IPSOS, PwC, Chartbeat, Parse.ly, and IO Technologies.
“In the fog of questionable content today, consumers are increasingly seeking trusted, quality content. And this is not lost on publishers who are sharpening their focus on building engagement with their readers who are likewise more willing to pay for content, and more,” says Vincent Peyrègne, CEO of WAN-IFRA.
“This year’s data also shows the myriad challenges facing publishers, but, quite interestingly, statistical evidence of the impact of a free and independent press on a number of critical societal issues.”
Joining Dr Nel, who is Editor of World Press Trends, for this year's analysis was Dr Coral Milburn-Curtis, Associate Fellow at Green Templeton College, University of Oxford; and Professor Castulus Kolo, Macromedia University of Applied Sciences, Munich (Germany).
World Press Trends features many of the industry key performance indicators. Here are some of the findings from this year's report:
- Global revenues (print & digital) declined by 3 percent (Year on Year 2018) with much of that hit coming from print advertising revenue (down 7 percent). Digital advertising revenues increased by 5 percent and are forecast to improve in 2019.
- Paying news audiences increased by 0.5 percent, 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). Nearly 54% of newspapers’ overall revenue comes from circulation sales.
- 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.
- This year’s World Press Trends 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.
- 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 analysis of data from Chartbeat. Yet the relationship with tech platforms remains tenuous if at times hopeful.
WAN-IFRA Members can download the report, supported this year by Protecmedia for free (WPT report 2019); non-members can purchase the report.