“Globally the newspaper industry’s revenue decline will end in 2015” declares PwC in their 2104 Global Media and Entertainment report released earlier this week.
While PwC thinks the decline for print – both in newspapers and magazines – is over, however there’s little if any growth on the horizon with the company forecasting 0.1% growth per annum for newspapers and 0.2% for magazines over the next four years.
The reason for the stabilisation in revenues is the move to paid apps and paywalls, which means advertising is less important to the print industry’s revenues.
Circulation revenue will almost match advertising revenue by 2018. In 2013, while circulation revenue rose globally after years of decline, advertising revenue continued to fall. Circulation’s share of total revenue will rise from 47% in 2013 to 49% by 2018, meaning consumers may soon become publishers’ biggest source of revenue.
PwC’s view is consistent with the advertising trends flagged by Mary Meeker in her State Of The Internet report last week and, if the forecasts are correct, it will show the magazine and newspaper industries are making the transition to a new business model.
One of the strange points in the PwC report is the talk of ‘Digital First’.
‘Digital-first’ is becoming the norm for newspaper publishers. For many years, news publishers’ digital output was led by their print products. But increasingly, titles will be reorganised as ‘digital-first’ operations, publishing content that works best on connected devices.
This is true, but newspaper managements have been proclaiming their ‘Digital First’ strategies for close to a decade; any media company that doesn’t put its digital channels first is doomed to extinction anyway.
Which is one of the important points of the PwC survey; it’s about the global industry and while that might be flat-lining, individual outlets will still fail. That’s something which concentrate the minds of those managing some of the more poorly run media empires.