World Congress Hears That Circ Down in U.S. — But Up Globally

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Global newspaper circulation is rising, buoyed by demand in Asia and South America– belying predictions of the demise of print journalism, officials said at the start Monday of an international newspaper conference.

Circulation of paid newspapers rose 2.6 percent worldwide in 2007, with the biggest jump in India and China — which is now the largest market for newspapers with 107 million copies sold daily, according to a report by the World Associated of Newspapers.

However, readership continued to slip in the U.S. and Europe, where traditional dailies face stiff competition from free newspapers and digital media, the study showed.

Officials said the findings were cause for a degree of optimism about the industry.

The strong sales in Asia, which is home to 74 of the world’s 100 best-selling dailies, contrasted starkly with declining newspaper readership in the West.

Last year circulation fell 3 percent in the United States and 1.9 percent in Europe, the report showed; over the past five years, circulation has been down 8 percent in the U.S.

Advertising followed a similar trend. Newspaper advertising revenue rose in all regions except the United States, where it fell 3 percent in 2007, the report said.

Meanwhile, Internet advertising revenue worldwide was up 32 percent, showing the rapid growth of online media.

Research presented at the conference also indicated an accelerating shift from print to online media, and that editors are increasingly aware of the need to develop multimedia platforms in order to reach new audiences.

A study commissioned by The Associated Press showed young adults have profoundly different news consumption patterns from previous generations.

A worldwide survey of 704 newspaper editors by Zogby International and Reuters showed 44 percent believed most people would be reading their news online in 10 years. That was up from 41 percent in a similar study last year.

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