National Newspapers - UK - March 2011
This report considers the market for national newspapers, which has experienced a tough period during the past two years or so as a result of the impact of the recession on both sales and advertising revenues. This came on the back of a long-term downward trend in circulations.
However, it is not all bad news for the industry, with strong growth being seen in online audiences, in line with a general trend of growth in the number of visits to news and information websites.
- Newspaper publishers are going through an exciting period of change at present, with declining print circulations being more than offset by growth in visits to their websites. During the past five years, total circulations have contracted by 19.3%, while visits to all news and information websites (ie not just those of national newspapers) have grown by 97.8% in the same period.
- Growth in online audiences has affected newspapers in different ways. The popular tabloid titles have lost fewer readers but tend to have lower numbers of monthly visitors to their sites, while the quality titles have lost the most readers but are tending to see higher numbers of monthly visitors to their websites.
- The biggest challenge facing the industry at present is how to monetise this growing online audience as effectively as the industry has traditionally managed to do with its print audience. Mintel’s research shows that around two in five newspaper readers would be prepared to pay to visit the website of the newspaper they visit most often.
- News International is the dominant player in the industry, with a market share (36.7%) nearly double that of its nearest rival, Associated Newspapers (20.1%). Its position is derived from a significant presence in both the popular tabloid and quality sectors.
- Consumers first and foremost want their newspapers to be informative (cited by 40%) rather than entertaining (11%) and feel that they are too obsessed with celebrities and gossip (32%) and overstep the mark in relation to privacy (25%). However, they are seen as being good for keeping politicians and other public servants in check (24%).
- Among those newspaper readers prepared to pay for website access, readers of popular tabloids like The Sun and Daily Mirror were most likely to be prepared to pay less than £1 a week, whereas readers of quality titles like The Daily Telegraph and The Times and mid-market tabloids such as the Daily Mail were more likely to be prepared to pay more than £1 a week, with the vast majority of these choosing £1-1.49 a week.
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