Economist: Latin American Papers In Good Shape — for Now

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

Latin American newspapers “have reasons to feel healthy,” the newspaper economist Robert Picard told publishers at the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) in Mexico City.

In a presentation that otherwise generally gloomy, if not alarmist, about the future of newspapers that do not make radical changes to the traditional industry business model, Picard said that a confluence of demographic and economic factors favor Latin American dailies — for now.

“You’ve got rising literacy and rising standard of living plus rising advertising as your markets grow,” Picard told the overflow IAPA audience, the majority representing Latin American papers.

But he added that Latin papers “are a little behind the curve” in other areas, especially in generating a range of various products across media platforms. While Latin publishers are creating numerous print products, he said, “that alone is not enough to meet the changing environment.”

Picard is professor of media economics and director of the Center of Management and Transformation of the Media at the University of Jonkoping in Sweden.

His advice to Latin Americans was the same he gave to U.S. and European papers: produce more news and entertainment products to reach audiences at all times of the day — not simply during the morning.

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