Bucking trend, some international newspapers post increasing readership

The Star Tribune is slated to emerge from bankruptcy as soon as September after a US bankruptcy judge cleared the way for creditors to vote on the news organization’s restructuring plan. And though news organizations like the Star Tribune in the US and the Daily Mail in the UK are suffering from financial strain and declining readership, some international newspapers industries seem to be defying this downward trend.

A recent study conducted in Australia reported newspaper readership is increasing despite declining ad revenue. According to the Australian study, no newspapers in the country have closed in the past year, and the number of regional daily papers has held steady. The three major papers have increased sales by 0.2 percent, which, though minor, still represents a positive break from weakening markets.

Newspaper readership in the Philippines is also increasing in the more affluent sectors of the population, according to recent analysis by Synovate, a global market research company. Steve Garton, global executive director of media at the research company, attributed the increase to a push by the newspaper companies to distribute their papers to offices, increasing readership among the higher socio-economic classes. The educated, economically secure sector should give advertisers incentive to place their products in a financially favorable location, he said.

Garton also offered this optimistic declaration:

It’s time to debunk the myth that newspapers are dying [here]. They are not.

This is a sharp contrast to the oft-pessimistic take by media moguls in the US.

Wired Magazine’s editor-in-chief Chris Anderson said in an interview on Tuesday, “Newspapers are not important. It may be that their physical, printed form no longer works,” and last month, Rupert Murdoch told Neil Cuvato of Fox News this:

I can see the day — and it may be 20 years away — where you don’t actually have paper and ink and printing presses.

Maybe the more positive international trend is a product of persistence and confidence. Or maybe their Internet connections are just slower than ours.

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