The head of Grupo Prisa, which owns the newspaper El País, Juan Luis Cebrián (Efe).
The economic crisis has made its entry into newsrooms around the country where staff is being reduced, salaries decreased or not even paid at all, and in some cases, newspapers and broadcasting stations closed. Due to drastic declines in publicity, Spanish media is going through one of its most difficult moments.
During the first quarter, investments in publicity dropped by 15.1 percent, according to a report by Infoadex, which forecasts considerable losses for the main media groups – primarily TV broadcasters – and puts at risk the very existence of the media companies that are most badly affected – that is, printed media – which will have to seriously revise their business models.
The media groups of the two major daily newspapers, El País and El Mundo, have both announced they will have to make drastic staff reductions. In the case of El Mundo, owned by the Italian RCS Mediagroup, who already fired 180 people in 2009, has announced it will have to reduce its staff by between 195 and 210 people. For El País, owned by the Grupo Prisa, a reduction of staff is expected to be announced shortly that “will affect a considerable number of its staff.” ABC, another major newspapers, reduced its staff by half in the early days of the crisis. By the beginning of the year, the newspaper Público was printed for the last time, and now continues only with its online version.
The decline in publicity is also becoming painful for TV and radio broadcasting companies. During the first quarter, the total bill for publicity amounted to 485 million euro for the whole sector, far less than the year before, when the bill ended at 590 million euro – a drop of almost 18 percent.
“The first quarter is not the most important one for media companies, while the second and fourth quarters are more important,” according to an analyst of the sector, “but if we see that the TV broadcasting companies get close to these numbers during these quarters, it would be more serious for the economy of the sector.”
There is a clear link between economic growth and investments in publicity, according to experts in the sector. During the first quarter, the Spanish economy entered recession with a decline of gross domestic product of 0.4 percent, according to the estimates of the Bank of Spain.
Contrary to the rest of the sector, the internet and the film industry are seeing increased investments in publicity. During the first quarter, a total of 76 million euro were spent on publicity for online media, which is 6.4 percent increase compared to the same period last year.
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