European free & paid market shares

With a 2% drop in free circulation in Europe (end October 2008 compared to end 2007), closures of free dailies in Sweden, Croatia, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Czech Republic and Iceland, drops in paid circulation as well, and still some launches of free dailies in 2008 (Romania, Ukraine, Italy, Turkey), the situation on the European newspaper market changed compared to a year ago (see previous post).

The 2008 market shares are calculated using World Press Trends data from 2007 and the most recent free circulation data, meaning 2007 and 2008 data are compared, which can cause some problems. As paid circulation is going down in most markets, free markets shares are probably somewhat higher than reported.

Six European countries were in the >50% group in 2007. Denmark now has 34% free circulation, so it dropped out of the >50% group. Portugal still has 55% free, Iceland 72% and Luxembourg 51%. Macedonia has 53% free although this is not audited circulation but claims by the publisher.

In Spain 51% is free. Although free circulation dropped in the last months, the last yearly data (last 6 months 2007, first 6 months of 2008) shows an average circulation of the four national papers of 3.7 million. There is a problem, however, with the 2007 paid circulation. The top paid newspapers (El Pais, Marca, El Mondo, ABC, La Vanguardia, AS, El Periodico, El Correo and La Razon) have exactly the same circulation in 2006 and 2007. This is either a miracle or a problem with data… I suspect the latter.

(It is not the only miracle in WPT: paid Greek circulation more than doubled compared to 2005; Belarus circulation has been exactly the same for five years; Moldova circulation is now four times as high as in 2002.)

In Italy, Latvia and Switzerland the free circulation is around 45% whil in Greece, Romania, Denmark and Andorra more than a third of the total daily circulation is free. In Slovenia, France, Czech Republic and the Netherlands the market share of free dailies is more than 25%.

How paid circulation develops in Europe is unclear. There is only complete data over the last 12 years (1995 – 2007) for 20 countries, although these countries represent 90% of the total circulation in Europe.

In this group circulation dropped with 17% since 1995. The losses seem to increase, in the preceding years there always was a drop of 1 or 2% – in 2006/2007 the drop was 3%.

Germany (-19%), the Netherlands (-20%), the UK (-21%), Denmark (-23%), Iceland (-46%), Poland (-18%), Hungary (-33%) and the Czech Republic (-34%) lost more than average.

The average market share of free dailies in these countries is 25%.

One Response to “European free & paid market shares”

  1. Freesheets Datapoint: Germans Likely To Pay For News, Icelanders Not So Much — Tech News and Analysis Says:

    [...] an insightful chart from Dutch media researcher Dr Piet Bakker (click pic to enlarge). He’s run the numbers on circulation of paid and free newspapers across Europe – the result shows which countries have a [...]