Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Viva Periodicos! Latin American Newspapers Don't Share Their Northern Neighbors' Woes

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Viva Periodicos! Latin American Newspapers Don't Share Their Northern Neighbors' Woes

Article excerpt

PRICEWATERHOUSE COOPERS' latest report on the newspaper industry worldwide contains the usual bad news for North American papers. Ad revenue that's plunged 38% at U.S. and Canadian papers since 2005 will fall another 16% over the next three years before turning up ever so slightly, PwC estimates. And the Big Four auditing and professional services firm flatly predicts North American newspapers will never again see the levels of print advertising revenue they once enjoyed.

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But PwC is much more upbeat about newspapers in Latin America. Newspapers in the region actually grew revenue by 0.5% in 2009, and the growth is even higher if Mexican newspapers, which lost almost 15% of revenue last year, are taken out of the calculation. Where PwC sees North American newspapers losing revenue over the next five years at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.9%, it expects Latin newspapers to grow at an annual rate of 5.1%.

Latin newspapers have one competitive advantage that's disappeared in North America: Broadband penetration was low until very recently. But PwC notes that advertisers that have viable Internet options are still sticking with print, because Latin newspapers are actually growing their print circulations. Circ zoomed 21% between 2005 and 2008.

Latin America is also proving to be a more hospitable market for free newspapers, which flourished in Europe three or four years ago but are now folding at a furious clip. At the same time Metro International was pulling out of several European markets in 2009, it launched free papers in Mexico and Brazil. …

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