World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers CEO Christoph Riess discussed the future of newspapers and challenges for advertising in a keynote speech of the morning at the World Editor's Forum in Hamburg. "Whatever form the newspaper takes, it will remain the dominant media force in the world," Riess assured the audience.
Although the future tendency of the audience often seems to be towards the Internet and online publications, Riess pointed out that 61% of countries surveyed reported increased or stable print circulation over the past year, according to World Press Trends, the annual worldwide industry survey collecting data 2010. He stated that based on this information, "newspapers reach more audience than the Internet".
In the digital realm, however, paid content is a necessity, Riess said. "Will paid content generate revenue? It's not a question of yes or no. It's question of how. In order to survive, we have to do it," he emphasised.
The business model must be tailored to the situation and needs of each newspaper, Riess said. He added that the situation is different for each country, but "clearly, daily titles grow". Asian countries, including India, boast 67 of the top 100 paid daily newspaper titles of the report. In terms of free daily newspapers, Russia has 41 free newspapers, the biggest number. He said that the stress should be on the print, as "the contribution of our paid content model is and will be much more important".
There is also an increasing focus on new devices, including mobile phones, he said. Currently this is dominated by few companies and it has a high penetration, which makes it attractive because it offers the possibility for personalized messages and search lead.
Riess also drew attention to the success of local or hyperlocal formats.
Mr Riess' presentation was drawn from World Press Trends, the annual publication from WAN-IFRA that includes data from all 233 countries and territories where newspapers are published. More on the report can be found at http://www.wan-press.org/worldpresstrends2010/