I found this graphic from Statista interesting because I remember living it, on the ground, in Sao Paulo.
The newspapers were thick. Folha de Sao Paulo was so big on Sunday you could do upright rows with it and build killer trap muscles. They sold recipe books. People bought it. And they talked about it. It is, and was, The New York Times…before the news aggregators killed it.
The newspaper business is “thriving”. I put that in quotes because, as a journalist with 15 years in, I think it is thriving in Brazil and in countries throughout Asia because the poor are getting richer. They’re reading more. I don’t have any evidence for this, but I think that the middle class and the rich will start to read more on their smartphones and tablets. They’ll browse free content. There will be no need to subscribe. Some will have to pay for access to newspapers like Folha. Some papers will be very sparse with their digital content, like Estado and Valor Economico, the nation’s leading business daily.
But then there’s the beauty of a lack of competition. There’s not a hundred different websites writing about novellas and “futbol” stars. There’s maybe half a dozen. Huffington Post Brazil and The New York Times like this market, but both of them are at odds. The NYT wants paper subscribers and don’t have the manpower to compete with the original content that Estado, Folha and Globo pump out. I see small numbers at HuffPo Brazil and NYT in the future. It will be a very expensive endeavor, and Brazilians will call it Huffington Postchie, which just sounds stupid and no one will want to read it as a result.
“Cara, voce liu o Huff Postchie?”
I don’t think so.
So that brings us to the newspapers. American media can only be impressed with these numbers down south and out east.
Newspapers in Asia and Latin America have seen substantial increases in circulation and ad revenue over the past five years. The above chart by Statistashows changes in newspaper circulation and advertising revenue between 2008 and 2012.