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Newspaper owners were on Monday handed a stark warning at the annual conference of the World Association of Newspapers in Hyderabad, India.
Tim Balding, the chief executive of WAN, said the warning for all newspaper owners was that digital advertising revenues would never replace those made from print. “If newspaper companies wish to maintain their strong content leadership, someone is going to have to pay. It looks like we have to solve the digital payment issue . . . and soon,” said Mr Balding.
Also at the conference, Les Hinton, chief executive of Dow Jones, said that the relationship between news aggregators such as Google and producers of content such as his parent News Corp brought to mind the phrase “beware of geeks bearing gifts”.
Separately, in a survey of 2,000 UK news consumers, the consultants McKinsey discovered that the appetite for news had gone up in the past three years, with the average amount of time per day spent consuming news of all kinds rising by 20 per cent from 60 minutes to 72 minutes.
Newspapers were the most trusted platform, but the growth of the web as an alternative space for advertisers meant that by the end of 2010 only 25.8 per cent of advertising revenues would be in print products compared with 40.3 per cent in 2000.