Nov 8, 2008

East meets West*

What the map might look like if Dean Singleton's outsourcing ideas come to fruition.

The map comes via Ken Doctor's Content Bridges and the post includes this interesting nugget:
The five largest markets for newspapers are: China, with 107 million copies sold daily; India, with 99 million copies daily; Japan, with 68 million copies daily; the United States, with nearly 51 million; and Germany, 20.6 million.
Japan has less than half the population of the United States and is as technologically advanced, if not more so. What is Japan doing right and what is the U.S. doing wrong?

*UPDATE: Thanks to an anonymous commenter for passing this on: A very recent Washington Post article attributes the staying power of the Japanese newspaper market to the relatively advanced age of the Japanese population:
...older people here, like older people in much of the world, enjoy reading newspapers. "For them, it is easier to read the paper than to open their PC," said Yoshiyuki Hashiba, a professor of journalism at Sophia University in Tokyo and a former journalist for the Mainichi newspaper for 30 years.

And Japan is chockablock with these people, who are growing in numbers. People 65 or older account for 22 percent of the population, giving Japan the highest proportion of the elderly in the world. The government projects that by 2040, this group will outnumber the 14-and-younger set by nearly 4 to 1.

Newspaper circulation, therefore, is expected to hold up reasonably well for a while, until the elderly can no longer read newsprint and die.

And the Japanese love their newspapers, with the average household having slightly more than one subscription. Sales are 2 1/2 times that of the United States. What might explain that?:
Japanese newspapers have other factors on their side -- a 99 percent national literacy rate and the enduring trust of their readers. A national survey this month by the Yomiuri newspaper found that 85 percent of those questioned said they trust newspaper reporting.

About 20 percent of U.S. readers believe all or most of what they read in daily papers, according to a 2007 "State of the News Media" report issued by the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
The article points out that Japanese newspapers have resisted putting most of their content online, meaning readers are paying for what they read. As I've argued before, the ease with which information gets passed around here in the United States is great, but giving away the news does more than cut into profits, it diminishes its value both to readers and owners.

4 comments:

calwatch said...

Japan is not as anti-intellectual as the US is, and the Japanese live in denser cities than the US do, and use more mass transit than Americans. You can read the paper on the train, even if it is crowded... and despite images of "pushers" most Japanese that take, contrary to popular belief, the trains in Japan are on the average not more crowded than any other major world city. You see folks folding their tabloid papers on the New York subway all the time, and NYC has some of the highest newspaper uptake in the United States. Competition also helps, as many New Yorkers, Japanese, and British pick up two or more newspapers for their long commutes. In LA, when there's not much in the way of choice, that's not going to happen.

Anonymous said...

Calwatch is right. I would add, as a lapsed New Yorker, I have been surprised to see how many fewer strap hangers are reading newspapers on the subway. I commented on this to family, and they said it was well established trend - away from newspapers. You can see the substitutes readily: audio devices and such. The transition from print is multilateral, unfortunately, for those of us who appreciate it and value the civic component (even in NYC tabs).

auntie said...

Add the South Florida Sun Sentinel to your map

Anonymous said...

According to this Washington Post story on the Japanese newspaper business, the nation has a huge elderly population that continues to read newspapers. The headline is "Japan's Papers, Doomed but Going Strong."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/24/AR2008102403590.html?hpid%3Dmoreheadlines&sub=AR