Industry Analysis: Print Sales Still In Decline; New Copyright Law Not A Solution

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By Maricel Estavillo for Intellectual Property Watch

A new industry analysis highlights the continued decline in print advertising revenues, but offers a glimpse of possibilities for the recovery of the industry in light of the various technology-driven changes and developments in the global media market. New laws or new exceptions to copyright laws, however, are not seen as ways to save the print industry, at least in Europe, according to the report.

The 300-page “Global Media Trends Book” is the result of a joint effort between the European Publishers Council (EPC)  and the research organisation World Newsmedia Network (WNMN). The book made use of data and reports from 65 global research companies.

According to the executive summary of the book, the print media – unlike the internet, television and outdoor and billboard media – has failed to show signs of recovery after the 2008 global economic crisis that resulted in a huge slump in advertising spending.

For 2012, the newspaper industry is projected to experience a 1 per cent drop in advertising revenues and a 1.3 per cent drop for magazines. For the same year, internet advertising is estimated grow by 11.2 per cent. Television, by far the largest global medium in terms of share to the total, is estimated to expand by 6.7 per cent, followed by 6.6 per cent growth for outdoor and billboard advertising.

The growth in advertising revenues is seen to be propelled by the increases in advertising spending in the world’s developing markets, led by China, Peru and Argentina. Total advertising spending in 2012 is pegged at $449 billion.

In terms of market share and contribution to the global advertising revenues, the United States corners the single biggest share, accounting for a third of the pie. Technology companies Google, Yahoo!, Facebook and Microsoft bag most of the advertising spending.

“[T]here are still plenty of opportunities for earning revenues in the digital media revenue landscape: about one-third of all revenue is earned by ‘other,’ which includes traditional media with digital media businesses and a multitude of non-traditional media businesses,” the report said.

Among other things, the book has explored some of the significant developments in the global media market that could be potential sources of revenue growth. These include the increasing use of applications on smart phones and tablets to sift through news and information; the rise in social media engagement among internet users; and the unparalleled popularity of watching video clips online.

Interestingly, the EPC highlighted in the introductory part of the book – which is included in the summary – its position to push for “workable online copyright through cross industry collaboration, not new laws or exceptions to copyright” as a way to “boost Europe’s standing in the creative world, and in support of authoritative professional journalism and creative media content.”

The EPC cited the collaborative alliance Linked Content Coalition as an example, which it described as a project that enables “businesses and consumers alike to access more content on the internet and will encourage creators and their publishers to make their work available, safe in the knowledge that their rights information is easily communicated and understood by machines as well as people.”

“For professional content and quality journalism to continue to thrive online for future generations, it is important that we are able to enforce our rights when our content is used without authorisation,” it added.

This position may sound contradictory to the controversial move of the ruling coalition of Germany to have an ancillary right to its copyright law that would allow news publishers to charge commercial intermediaries for their use of news headlines and snippets.

For more information or to order a copy of the report, contact heidilambert@hlcltd.demon.co.uk.

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