UK newspapers at risk as investors shun sector, report says

LONDON, May 6 (Reuters) – Britain’s newspaper publishers could be shunned by investors for not offering decent returns, threatening the future of a pillar of democracy, a government report said on Friday.

Major UK newspapers including The Sun, Daily Mail, Sunday Times and Daily Telegraph have seen their circulation decline sharply over the past two decades, although they have to some extent countered this with online products.

“We have seen a clear downward trend in sustainability in the sector since 2010, which is consistent with reduced revenues and costs, and reduced investment and associated capital in the sector,” said the Economic Insight report, commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an acceleration of print decline, the report said, with an 18% drop in total average print circulation per issue for national daily titles between March 2020 and March 2021.

The two biggest UK national publishers by average circulation and number of titles are the owner of the Daily Mirror Reach (RCH.L) and Rupert Murdoch’s News UK, which publishes The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times, it said. -he declares.

The report says that while digital models may be commercially viable on their own, print edition models could largely disappear.

The government said it commissioned the study to determine how financially viable the industry is given its role in society.

“This is particularly important given the rise of disinformation and misinformation and the need for transparent and accurate information, particularly in the current COVID-19 context,” the report said.

He said the regional press was generally less resilient than the national press, especially when it comes to pension commitments.

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Reporting by Muvija M, editing by William James and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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