Against a backdrop of geopolitical instability, rapidly changing relationships with technology platforms and strategic questions raised by generative AI, the new WAN-IFRA study finds news publishers in a remarkably optimistic mood about the year ahead and their prospects further down the line.
According to the World Press Trends Outlook 2023-2024 report just over half (55%) of the news executives surveyed for the report said they were optimistic about the next 12 months. Looking further ahead, the level of optimism rises slightly, with almost six in ten (58%) respondents saying they are positive about their company’s prospects over the next three years.
This marks a clear shift from last year, when the majority of publishers were pessimistic about the near future, added WAN-IFRA.
“Many publishers we talk to are clearly concerned about the ongoing challenges to the industry and their businesses – speed of transformation and innovation, diversifying their revenue streams, securing a sustainable business model, better understanding and engagement of their audiences and more,” said Dean Roper, director of insights and editor-in-chief at WAN-IFRA. “But there also has clearly been great progress on all those fronts, and others, in the last years to bring this level of optimism. And, certainly, this varies from region to region, market to market and publisher to publisher.”
WAN-IFRA says other findings from the report include:
- Revenues on the rise: Publishers expect their revenues to grow by 15.2% in 2023, and by nearly 19% in 2024. Much of this confidence is driven by the expectation that continued investment in new revenue streams is starting to pay off.
- Advertising the leading source: On average, advertising accounts for nearly half (43%) of respondents’ projected revenue over the next 12 months, with reader revenue comprising just over a third of their income.
- Print continues to prevail: When combined, print advertising and circulation generate more than half (57%) of respondent’s total expected revenues.
- AI top investment area: Nearly all respondents (87%) identified AI and automation as the leading area for investment over the next 12 months, closely followed by Data analytics and intelligence (86%).
“As our latest report demonstrates, publishers continue to contend with the juggling act of preserving all-important print and advertising revenues, while at the same time diversifying their income streams and exploring the possibilities that digital technologies like generative AI present,” said Damian Radcliffe, Carolyn S. Chambers Professor in Journalism at the University of Oregon and the author of the core analysis of this edition of World Press Trends. “This tightrope isn’t an easy one to navigate, but we are seeing examples of success and innovation around the world, offering potential inspiration for publishers large and small across the globe.”
WAN-IFRA says the report, “World Press Trends Outlook 2023-2024,” is available for its members to download for free here.Keep up-to-date with publishing news: sign up here for InPubWeekly, our free weekly e-newsletter.