Thursday, June 17, 2010

Newspaper circulation declines most in U.S. and U.K.

What conclusions can you make from a recent report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development which show that newspaper circulations have declined most in the United States and the U.K?

The new report found that newspaper circulation fell 30 percent in the U.S. and 25 percent in the U.K, while the other countries recorded the next highest rates of decline were Greece (20%), Italy (18%) and Canada (17%). The report, The Evolution of News and the Internet, found that newspaper circulation declines, while widely occurring, were not universal -- 20 out of 30 countries surveyed recorded declining newspaper circulations, but newspapers seem particularly strong in Ireland, Portugal and Turkey.

One factor that might explain the results would be that the countries facing higher rates of print newspaper declines were more likely to read news online. But the report seems to show that offline viewing increases the likelihood of online viewing.

Here were the reports conclusions concerning online reading:

  • In some OECD countries, more than half of the population read newspapers online (up to 77 per cent in Korea) but at the minimum 20 per cent read newspapers online. The willingness to pay for online news remains low.
  • For the most part reading news online complements other forms of news reading. Most surveys show that active offline newspaper readers tend to read more news online. Countries such as Korea where offline newspaper reading is less popular than online newspaper reading are the exception.
  • While younger age groups are much more active online news readers, it is usually slightly older groups -- 25-34 year-olds – who are most active in most OECD countries.
  • Despite these findings, the share of people who only read online news is likely to grow rapidly with new generations who start using the Internet early in life. The real concern is that a significant proportion of young people are not reading conventional news at all.