The newspaper and media industry's leading trade fair in times of crisis - why is it so important for our sector at this difficult time?

Welcome Address of Gavin O'Reilly, President of WAN-IFRA, for IFRA Expo 2009 in Vienna (12-15 October)

Darmstadt, (PresseBox) - Self-proclaimed prophets seem to repeatedly predict the impending death of newspapers. Yet the fact is that printed newspapers are actually enjoying increasing numbers of readers worldwide. Circulation figures, which represent the total number of papers sold every day, increased by 1.3% in 2008 to almost 540 million. And if we include free publications, newspapers have seen a 13% increase in circulation in the last 5 years (source: World Press Trends Yearbook 2008).

Of course, no-one can afford to ignore the impact of the financial and economic crisis - yet the newspaper and media sector is no worse hit than other sectors. There can therefore be no talk of demise, particularly when we consider that 37% of all money spent on advertising worldwide goes to the press.

The media landscape is changing at an ever increasing pace, but innovative newspaper publishers are able to pick up on the signs of the times and exploit their strengths - adapting to the desires of their readers. Attractive print media, prepared correctly for the respective target groups, also enjoy a high level of interest and attention in difficult times - and are excellent platforms for the messages of our ad customers. Publishing houses offer exciting digital services and can thereby massively expand their effective range.

Technical progress stops for no man. New technologies add to our business, while new tools simplify procedures and create space for creativity. The innovative power of our supplier industry is exemplary. When it comes to making our products more attractive and producing them more efficiently, our technology partners have the latest solutions ready and waiting.

Orientation is now more important than ever in discovering the right paths to a successful future. And the navigation needed for this is already available - in the form of IFRA Expo, the leading trade fair for our sector (www.ifraexpo.com). If you would like to know where the journey is heading, who can support you on the way and from whom you can learn, there is simply no alternative to IFRA Expo anywhere in the world.

The key importance of our industry's fair is also reflected in the fact that the event is this year being jointly opened by the Federal President of Austria, Heinz Fischer, and the Austrian Chancellor, Werner Faymann. I would like to take this opportunity to invite you all to this opening on Monday 12 October at 9.30 am in the foyer of the "Reed Messe Wien".

This will be the second time for Vienna to host IFRA Expo. The proverbial hospitality of the Viennese and the excellent location of the metropolis on the banks of the Danube offer first class conditions for our event.

This year, for the first time, the fair is being organised by WAN-IFRA, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers. By bundling our strengths, we can cater to the ever increasing requirements of our members and industry partners even more dynamically in the quickly developing media matrix. For IFRA Expo, the fusion means that the trade fair can now be further developed and play its part as the annual highlight in the sector even more effectively.

Together with the team from WAN-IFRA, I look forward to seeing you in Vienna and wish you the very best of success at IFRA Expo 2009.

WAN-IFRA

WAN-IFRA (www.wan-ifra.org) , based in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, with subsidiaries in Singapore, India, Spain, France and Sweden, is the global organisation of the world's newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries. The organisation was created by the merger of the World Association of Newspapers and IFRA, the research and service organisation for the news publishing industry.

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