Ireland’s newspaper industry generated €830 million in revenue in 2011, according to a survey carried out by NNI. The survey underlined the economic contribution of the press industry and highlighted the importance of copyright to the well-being of the sector.
The survey, produced through collaboration between NNI, Newspaper Licensing Ireland (NLI), the Regional Newspaper Publishers Association of Ireland (RNPAI) and independent publishers found that Ireland’s newspaper industry generated a total of €829.68m in revenue in 2011, including VAT of €110.79m.
An Important Employer
Furthermore, the study demonstrated that the industry is a vital employer. A total of 4,494 people are employed full-time in the newspaper industry in Ireland, including 3,419 people who are employed within publishing houses (of which 2,096 are editorial staff) and a further 1,075 work in printing and distribution.
Wages across the industry totaled €251.71m in 2011, while freelance journalists and contributors were paid an additional €40m approx. in fees. In addition to turnover and employment figures, newspaper publishers purchased €272m worth of goods and services in the past year.
5.2m Newspapers Sold Every Week
The survey also found that more than 5.2 million newspapers are sold every week from more than 4,000 retail outlets in the Republic of Ireland (that’s in addition to over 1.5 million free distribution newspapers).
In addition, numerous people now access newspaper content online as well as in print. The JNRS has already begun research to quantify just how many people read content online and will report on this in early 2013.
Copyright Protects Newspaper Industry
The figures show that newspapers are a key contributor to Ireland’s economy – a point the Government would do well to heed as its Copyright Review Committee continues to assess submissions made by stakeholders.
Original content is the USP of the newspaper industry and it’s interesting to note that in spite of the recession and digitisation of the market, NNI national newspaper circulation has held up remarkably well over the past decade. Ireland’s appetite for news has never been stronger.
Unfortunately, newspapers’ ability to generate revenue and thus to invest in quality content is threatened by new entrants into the market, as NNI’s Frank Cullen points out.
“New entrants to the media market, including search engines and news aggregators, are not only flouting copyright in respect of newspaper content, they are then exploiting that content to attract advertising revenue for themselves – a double whammy for the publishers who paid for the content in the first place,” says Cullen.
This view was recently shared by Ms Androulla VASSILIOU, European Commissioner responsible for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth when she addressed the General Assembly of ENPA (European Newspaper Publishers Association):
“We all know that copyright underpins investment in quality editorial content.
“The fact is, digitisation, far from reducing it, has actually increased the need for copyright protection. Nowadays new business models allow bringing copyright-protected works to much larger audiences. But all too often news content developed and financed by newspaper publishers ends up being used by third parties as an added value for their commercial services.
“On this, I am firmly of the opinion that news aggregators and technology platforms need to respect newspaper copyright on the Internet.”
This argument is at the heart of NNI’s stance on copyright; that unauthorised exploitation of third party content is hurting the newspaper industry – and threatening the jobs that rely on the sector.