The annual World Press Trends survey by the World Association of Newspapers and Publisher (WAN-IFRA) has highlighted a "lack of intensity" in digital news consumption, which it says is being shown in the digital revenue shares reported by newspapers.
According to the latest findings, digital revenues are still not offsetting print declines, with just 2.2 per cent of global newspaper advertising revenues said to have come from digital platforms last year.
The cited "lack of intensity" in digital news consumption is having a "negative factor on advertising revenue and on consumer interest in paying for content", WAN-IFRA spokesman Larry Kilman said as he delivered the survey results at the World Editors Forum in Kiev today.
The update, which is based on data from 76 countries, found global newspaper circulation rose 1.1 per cent between 2010 and 2011, and Kilman warned delegates against neglecting print.
In the presentation of the 2010 report last year in Vienna, the global circulation was likened to the sun, as it rose in the East and fell in the West.
Today the findings continued to report increases in newspaper print circulations in Asia and the Middle East, said to be "offsetting declines in print circulation in Europe, North America and Latin America", although Western declines were said to be slowing.
More than 2.5 billion people read a print newspaper (not including weekly and Sunday newspapers), compared to more than 600 million who read a digital version.
"The problem is not one of audience", WAN-IFRA spokesman Larry Kilman added in a release.
"We have the audience. The challenge is largely one of business, of finding successful business models for the digital age."
Earlier in the day, at the opening ceremony of the conference, WAN-IFRA president Jacob Mathew called on newspapers across the world to come to a "consensus on charging for content".
"We have spent tremendous resources on creating this content, and there is no reason why we should give it away free or let others liberally help themselves to it.
"Consistent, credible content will continue to rule supreme, as the fundamentals of newspaper journalism are strong and would be most beneficial for all platforms."
Today's report shows that the percentage of the digital audience consuming a newspaper online has grown from 34 per cent to more than 40 per cent, year-on-year.
But Kilman highlighted that the "major challenge" for newspaper websites is now growing the frequency and intensity of visits to their sites.
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