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Communicate Levant | Advertising, marketing, public relations and media in the Arab world and beyond

Is print dying?


Is print dying?

Ziad Issa, Ipsos Connect MENA’s vice-president of media research, on why print isn’t dead…just yet

We are undeniably living in an era when digital and social platforms are our primary form of news from around the world. Unsurprisingly then, they have made a dent in traditional newspaper readership – or so you would imagine.

With 40 percent of global Internet users consuming their news online, according to WAN-IFRA’s World Press Trends 2016 Survey, traditional publishers have had to evolve their online apps to encourage frequent visits from readers. Yet, they face competition from not only news aggregators but also social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter – which is unsurprising, given that GCC’s millennials are living in a time of 96 percent Internet penetration, 93 percent social media penetration and 100 percent smartphone penetration, according to Ipsos’ 2016 Tech Tracker study.

Meanwhile, Ipsos’ 2016 National Readership Study (NRS) notes that print newspaper readership between 2015 and 2016 across the total population in the GCC decreased from 64 to 60 percent – also true for millennials – while online newspaper readership increased from 25 to 27 percent – 28 to 30 percent for millennials – during the same period. Although online newspaper readership is increasing, it’s by a mere two to three percent, which isn’t enough to suggest the death of print newspapers. In fact, according to the NRS, there is duplication between online and print newspapers, standing at 19 percent among the total population and 21 percent among millennials.

Moreover, data from Ipsos and WAN-IFRA’s World Press Trends 2016 Survey indicates that globally, newspapers constitute the biggest share of print revenues, at 92 percent. Together, print magazines and newspapers create roughly 2.9 million jobs worldwide, forming the third-biggest cultural and creative industry, generating an estimated $168 billion in circulation and advertising revenue in 2015. The number of adults reading print newspapers reached 2.7 billion globally in 2016.

While the rise of digital as a medium and, consequently, the rise of online newspapers and magazines, is uncontested, saying that print is dead, in a twist of irony, may just be one of the most popular kinds of news today: fake news.

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