In the UK, the top dailies sell about 10 million copies a weekday. According to ABC figures.
That means 1 major national daily is sold for every 6 citizens, right?
Well, Pedro J Ramírez, flamboyant editor of El Mundo, makes the startling admission today that Spain today only has four national dailys, and only three of those manage to sell more than 100,000 copies a day.
Meaning… about one national copy per 430 citizens. Pedro says about 300 journalists are employed by the papers.
Of course, times have changed and for a lot of people in Spain, a daily newspaper is simply a luxury they can’t afford anymore.
No wonder the place is so corrupt. Even if we ignore the fact that all of these papers are heavily aligned with one political grouping or another, they simply don’t have the resources to track down anything interesting, and if they do, they don’t have the audience to whip up fury.
But, of course, lots of people read the papers online nowadays. The current strategy of the Spanish papers seems to be to put the news online but only put the commentary and opinion in the printed editions, in the hope people will buy them.
El Mundo is becoming the first daily national in Spain to take a major switch to digital, and is, it seems, erecting a paywall around most of its site. Monthly access will be less than “two relaxing cups of café con leche in the Plaza Mayor”, in the words of Pedro. A full digital switchover can’t be far behind – fairly soon, I predict, they’ll only be publishing in the main cities.
However, they are now going to two editions a day, the morning edition (which is printed) and then an afternoon digital only. All content is online, and if you buy the printed edition, you get free daily access to the site. Indeed, Pedro hints that more info is online than in the printed edition.
An interesting experiment. I’d say it’s the beginning of the end of the printed daily national in Spain, but let’s see what happens.