This Key Note Market report examines the UK newspaper industry. It is published at a time when the industry has undergone severe cutbacks and losses during 2009, with performance looking to remain the same in 2010.
The value of the newspaper market in 2009, according to Key Note’s estimates, was just over £6bn, down from £8bn in 2005. This massive fall has been caused by huge reductions in advertising revenue, particularly since 2007. National newspapers represent just over 60% of the industry’s total revenue. In many ways, despite their decline in sales over the last 20 years, they are the great survivors. The regional press, however, is contracting, and its market value diminishing, explaining the poor price that the Guardian Media Group got for the sale of its regional newspapers in 2010.
The newspaper industry has become very concentrated in its ownership. 8 companies own the national newspaper sector, while in the regional press sector roughly 20 companies control more than 90% of the market. Newspaper publishers have reacted to these seismic events – declining sales and shrinking advertising – by investing more online. Meanwhile, some newspapers have reported a lift in advertising revenue since the end of 2009, but what we do not know is whether that trend will continue for the rest of 2010 and into 2011. Putting more emphasis on online and multi-platform media is definitely a positive approach. More revenue also needs to be generated, either from advertising or from paid-for content. Publishers are watching and waiting to see if The Times’ and The Sunday Times’ pay-wall around their websites will work. Initial feelings are that this initiative will be a disappointment, but it may well have a positive outcome.
Nevertheless, focusing more on multi-media is not going to be enough to ensure the survival of this industry. To get an up-to-date view of what adults think of the newspaper sector, and what they buy and read newspapers for, Key Note commissioned an extensive survey. This report highlights where the newspapers are losing readers and why.
This Key Note report is available to current London Business staff, students and faculty from Key Note Online which can be found on the A-Z list of library databases within Portal.