Saturday, December 13, 2008

Spain At A Glance....Newspaper Readership

Charts code courtesy of

The truncated names are for La Vanguardia and El Periódico. These are the latest figures for newspapers with a general news outlook, otherwise the football dominated Marca would be the one with the highest figure. These are not sales figures, they are based on studies of what people read. The full data is available here. All the different media groups like to pick the most favourable interpretation possible from the EGM data. it's a bit like those elections where every party declares victory. Looking at the trends compared to previous figures, there are two key observations to make about the current situation in Spain. Firstly, there is little sign of much movement between different newspapers - the battles between different media groups are not having too much impact at the moment. Secondly, the predictions about the imminent end of printed newspaper readership as Internet news coverage increases are still premature.

Despite the reasonably healthy figures for newspaper readership there is a significant crisis emerging on the Spanish media scene. The main reason for this is to do with the decline in revenues from advertising. In part the crisis is due to the impact of economic problems on the newer media model that saw the growth of free newspapers sustained entirely by advertising revenues. Some of these free papers are already cutting back by chopping their editions in the smaller cities. However, it is also where Internet has really made its mark as the available income from publicity is spread amongst an ever increasing number of media companies and websites. Couple this with the economic recession and that explains why big selling papers like El País are dedicating significant space to trying to attract new advertisers. The Grupo Prisa, owners of El País, have significant debt problems and have been trying for some time to offload their Digital + satellite television platform. Their attempts to expand heavily into the Latin American market have probably not helped. Their problems are a reflection of a bigger problem that is really going to bite hard as the economic situation worsens testing the ability of each media group to adapt successfully to the changing face of news delivery.


Tom said...

Huh, I always kind of assumed that La Vanguardia was ahead of El Periodico. I suppose the dual-edition thing helps.

We try to buy Publico several times a week... it's a really good little paper and far less stuffy than the pompous País. Nicely designed and no so full of boring articles no one ever reads, too.

Graeme said...

What's quite interesting is the presence of two papers that are essentially regional in the list of the most read. It suggests that newspaper readership in Cataluña might be higher than in other parts of Spain.

I've become a Público buyer too, but I still read El País because it has a significantly greater coverage particularly on international news.

Anonymous said...

I always assumed the EGM, like the good ol' OJD, was a trifle manipulated. Nothing wrong about that, of course.
Our favourite local paper in Almeria, La Voz de Almería, used to claim an EGM rated readership of 92,000 per day (on a print-run of around 6000!) which figures out at an amazing 12 people per copy and a full 25% of the province bent over this amazing PSOE-driven rag.
It is true that they would send unsolicited copies to the ayuntamientos, but still... pinch of salt?

Graeme said...

You might be right Lenox, but I would have thought that at least for the bigger titles the EGM's methods have to inspire a bit of confidence - given that they use these figures as the basis for comparing circulation and attracting advertisers.