Despite a dwindling number of jobs and evidence of many more cuts on the way this year, the World Association of Newspapers says it's not all doom and gloom in the newspaper world. A report released today, based on 2005 figures (the latest full year available), prompted the association's chief to note:
"What we are seeing completely contradicts the conventional wisdom that newspapers are in terminal decline," said Timothy Balding, CEO of the Paris-based WAN. "Newspapers are doing far better than commonly believed. In fact, the figures confirm that the industry is healthy and vigorous and is successfully dealing with increasing competition from other media. The fashion of predicting the death of newspapers should be exposed for what it is -- nothing more than a fashion, based on common assumptions that are belied by the facts."
The report notes that "in North America, newspaper circulation increased 0.7 percent over five years, and marginally declined 0.04 percent over one year. The number of titles declined 0.84 percent over five years but increased 1.21 percent over one year."
It is true there is significant growth in printed papers in regions outside North America (such as India), and the number of free dailies is growing in North America (most recently, Metro is preparing to launch in Calgary, Canada), but bold statements such as those by Balding based on out-of-date figures seems a little out of touch.
The entire document can be downloaded here.