The information industry is not in the greatest of health. Turnover at international level continues to fall, reaching an aggregate of $150bn in 2017, 8.6% lower than five years previously. The figures which emerge from the 2018 edition of the R&S-Mediobanca Focus on Publishing do, however, highlight a growth trend: digital publishing, which has grown by 179% since 2013. Despite his, 89.5% of the global turnover in 2017 still comes from printed paper, even if the figures confirm the change in progress in business model by the large international publishing groups. The income from digital publishing, which in 2017 represented 58.1% of total revenues, has now exceeded that from publishing revenues.
The difficulties experienced with printed paper have been felt in Italy too, where the eight largest publishing groups posted revenues of €3.5bn, down 6% on 2016 and 20.2% lower than in 2013. This reduction in sales has impacted on employment levels (with 11,886 staff at end-2017, 8.8% lower than in 2016) and also on investment (€13bn lower than in 2013, a good 40%). Market capitalization also performed poorly: in the last five years, the publishing sector has disappointed expectations, underperforming industrials (up 3%, as opposed to 24.8%).
The R&S-Mediobanca analysis highlights the slowdown in paper-based publishing, with a reduction of some 400,000 copies per day, down from 2.6 million to 2.2 million copies (down 15.4% on 2016 and down 40.3% on 2013). Il Corriere della Sera (with 227,000 copies per day sold in 2017) again ranked as the first daily newspaper in Italy, with the two dailies published by the GEDI group behind it: La Repubblica (191,000 copies) and La Stampa (146,000 copies).
The first nine months of 2018 saw evidence of a slight recovery, in part due to a good performance by RCS which, with sales of €713m, is the leading publishing group by turnover, ahead of Mondadori (with €658m).
The complete survey, with indepth analysis of the information industry in Italy compared to that in Germany, is available for download at www.mbres.it.