Israeli Newspapers Join Global Industry’s Downward Trend

They'd held on but the Israeli papers are starting to feel the pinch of shrinking readership.

Israel’s newspaper industry, which for a long time bucked the global trend of decreasing circulation, has joined the decline, according to a 2013 survey by media market research company TGI.

Some 60.9% of the Israeli public were found to have some exposure to newspaper stories, compared to 65.1% in 2012’s TGI survey. Previously, newspapers' imprint on public consciousness appeared to be increasing in Israel, with the 2012 figure representing a significant and continuous increase from 58.4% of the public that was exposed to newspapers according to TGI’s 2007 survey.

TGI said that the drop in exposure occurred in both weekday press and newspapers' weekend editions. The paper most hurt by the downward trend was Maariv. After repeated changes in ownership in recent years amid financial instability, the paper appeared to have stabilized under new owner Shlomo Ben-Zvi and even came out with a widely distributed free edition. Nevertheless, in the second half of 2013 the paper had an exposure rate of just 3.5%, compared to 5.8% in the first half of the year. Maariv reported an annual exposure rate for its weekday edition during 2013 of 4.6%.

Newspapers Yedioth Ahronoth and Israel Hayom’s battle for Israel’s most widely read newspaper still appears to be tied, with both increasing their exposure rates by distributing tens of thousands of copies of the paper for free. In a survey for the second half of 2013, Yedioth Ahronoth had a slightly improved exposure rate of 38.4% and Israel Hayom took the first spot with 38.6%. For all of 2013 both papers had the same exposure rate of 37.7%.

Free newspaper Israel Post owned by Eli Azur, also owner of the English-language Jerusalem Post, took third place with 7.8% exposure rate for the second half of 2013. Haaretz, the only paper operating completely on pay-based business model, overtook Maariv for the first time with a 6.1% exposure rate in the second half of 2013.

Among the financial press, all papers experienced a drop in reader exposure. Yedioth Ahronoth’s financial paper Calcalist fell to 10.2%. Globes fell to an exposure rate of 4.2% in the second half compared to 5.5% in the first half of 2013. Haaretz Group’s TheMarker fell to 5.2% in the second half of 2013.

Bloomberg