Saturation sets in
The year 2008 has shown an all-time low in circulation growth for free dailies worldwide. In the first eight months of this year growth has been ‘only’ 5%, which might be substantial for any newspaper market, but for free dailies it is the lowest in its history so far. Considering the plans for the next months, a fast recovery is not expected.
As can be seen on the graph (click for larger picture), growth has never been negative, while the highest growth took place between 1997 and 2000 when it was never below 50% – in 2000 it was almost 200%. In 2003 a ‘low’ growth of 17 could be seen but after that it increased again to 45% in 2006. In 2007 growth dropped to 23%.
The development of total circulation, countries with free dailies and titles published, shows that the numbers of titles published grew much faster than the countries in which these titles were available. In 2008 the number of titles is four times as high as the number of countries, indicating a high level of competition. In 2003 there were three titles per country, in 1999 it was two.