Swiss papers see readership decline

Almost all Swiss newspapers – paid and free – lost readers according to the last WEMF readership survey, covering April 2009 – March 2010 (Persoenlich).

Market leader 20 Minuten, becoming the best-read newspaper in the country in 2004, overtaking paid tabloid Blick, went back from 1,419,000 (2009-2) to 1,315,000 now, although it already lost some readers in the 2010-1 research (October 2008 – September 2010).

The reason for the decline is a cut in circulation as the paper distributes now 50,000 less than in 2008. With a circulation of 540,000 now, every copy is read by 2.5 readers. Losing 100,000 readers by cutting circulation with 50,000 is therefore an efficient operation.

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As is clear from the graph (click for bigger version), 20 Minuten increased readership from the beginning. The launch of free competitors (Heute, Blick am Abend, Cash, News and .ch) in 2006 and 2007 (only Blick am Abend survived) apparently did not have any impact on circulation.

Blick am Abend is now the third paper in the country, after 20 Minuten and its mother paper Blick, but before Tagesanzeiger, the paid paper of 20 Minuten publisher Tamedia. Every Blick am Abend is read by 1.9 readers.

In the Western French speaking part of the country 20 Minutes is also market leader, although it also lost readers (after a circulation cut) and has not profited from the closure of its free competitor Le Matin Bleu. Every 20 Minutes is read by 3 readers.

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Paid paper Le Matin, however, saw its readership grow to 251,000 – which might be an effect of Le Matin Bleu’s closure.

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