Media expert shares key takeaways from 15 years of World Press Trends report



The majority of publishers are expecting double-digital growth in 2024 despite huge challenges currently facing media, reveals UCLan’s Dr François Nel on the launch of WAN-IFRA’s World Press Trends and Outlook report.

Effective leadership and embracing innovation are two of Dr Nel’s key takeaways from 15 years of contributing to the annual report, which is based primarily on an online survey with senior media executives.

This year’s research demonstrated a shift from the pessimistic outlook held by the majority of publishers in the last report. Just over half (55%) said they were optimistic about the next 12 months, while 58% of executives surveyed said they are positive about their business’ prospects over the next three years.

Dr Nel, Reader in Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UCLan, said: “As I mark my 15th year contributing to the World Press Trends and Outlook reports for WAN-IFRA, I’m reminded of the resilience and innovation across the news publishing industry. These reports are a testament to the industry’s adaptability across various economic, digital, and market challenges.

“Yes, the news business has always been challenging. And, yes, it might never have been more complex than it is today, but despite the doomsayers, there’s still much play for. And our study shows the majority of publishers believe it’s ‘Game On’ and expect double-digit growth in 2024.”

Dr Nel’s key takeaways from the report are:

  • Crisis breeds opportunity: Effective ambidextrous leadership has consistently steered organisations through turbulent times, maintaining value for communities and investors alike.
  • Embracing innovation pays off: Pioneers like Rupert Murdoch, who faced initial scepticism, paved the way for the digital reader revenue growth we witness today. The rise of AI signals a similar trajectory, emphasising the need for prudent and courageous leadership.
  • Talent is the cornerstone: Success hinges on the ability to attract, develop, and retain diverse top talent, a strategy often neglected by struggling firms – who typically then struggle even more.
  • The industry’s significance is undeniable: With revenues rivalling that of major economies and a paying audience forming the world’s third-largest population, the news publishing sector is a formidable force. Still.

WAN-IFRA’s World Press Trends report in the media


If you would like to discuss any of the many issues further, contact Dr François Nel by email.

More details on the report and a link to the report here.