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15. März 2012 | Die deutschen Zeitungen in Zahlen und Daten

The economic situation of newspapers in Germany 2011

By Anja Pasquay

The German economy has recovered and growth has been stronger and steadier than expected. This has had positive effects on the overall advertising market. However, newspapers have not yet profited to any great extent from this trend, neither in 2010 nor in the first half of 2011. For the second year in a row newspaper sales have accounted for a larger volume of revenues than advertising. The old rule of thumb that two-thirds of sales in the newspaper business stem from advertising and one-third from distribution lost its validity at the time of the first major downturn in business and advertising between 2001 and 2003. The fact that the old earnings ratio is now fully reversed reflects the structural change that has taken place in our sector over the past decade or so.

The audience penetration levels recorded for daily (printed) newspapers have continued to be quite high in Germany. The overall audience penetration level for 2011 was 68.4 percent, meaning that more than 48 million Germans over the age of 14 pick up a newspaper every day. Daily newspapers traditionally have their highest levels of audience penetration among persons in the 40-69 age range, i.e. somewhere between 70 and 81 percent. More than 81 percent of persons over the age of 70 regularly read a daily newspaper and nearly 62 percent of those between the ages of 30 and 39 do so as well. Younger age groups are also newspaper readers. Nearly 40 percent of the 14-to-19-year-olds and over 50 percent of the 20-to-29-year olds show an interest in reading daily newspapers in printed format. At the same time, there are 26.1 million unique users who read newspapers on the Internet.

All in all, seven out of ten Germans over the age of 14 regularly read a printed daily newspaper. Slightly more local and regional newspapers that are delivered to subscribers are read by women (57 percent) than by men (just under 55 percent). More newspapers purchased at newsstands and national newspapers delivered to subscribers are read by men (25.5 percent and 7.3 percent respectively) than by women (15.4 percent and 4.5 percent respectively).


Slight increase in overall sales

2010 will be remembered as a year without major fluctuations in the newspaper industry. There was a slight increase in overall sales from advertising, supplements, and distribution, rising from the previous year's figure of 8.46 billion euros to 8.52 billion, an increase of 0.71 percent. Of the total sales figure, daily newspapers accounted for 8.01 billion euros, an increase of 0.64 percent.

After experiencing the biggest downturn in postwar history in 2009, the German economy improved significantly in 2010. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by a price-adjusted 3.6 percent, compared with a decline of 4.7 percent in 2009. Inflation was up 1.1 percent over the previous year's level (0.4 percent in 2009). Overall growth in the newspaper industry failed to come anywhere near the rise in GDP. At least it can be said that the decline in advertising revenues (-1.2 percent) was considerably smaller than in 2009 (-15.9 percent). Parallel to this there was an increase in distribution earnings (+2.3 percent, the same as in 2009).


Trend in advertising sales

With advertising sales of 3.64 billion euros in 2010 (a decline of 1.5 percent) daily newspapers continue to be the second most important advertising medium in Germany, after television. Advertising sales by weekly and Sunday newspapers rose from 208 to 218 million euros (+4.5 percent); newspaper supplements are no longer listed separately. Total advertising sales for all newspaper categories amounted to 3.85 billion euros (-1.2 percent). The overall advertising market in Germany grew slightly. The average increase in sales for all advertising media in 2010 was 2.1 percent. The share the newspaper industry had in overall advertising sales declined slightly to just under 21 percent. In the year 2000 it had been 29 percent.

Regional newspapers in western and eastern Germany showed total advertising sales of 2.99 billion euros for 2010. Advertising volume declined by 5.0 percent from January to December 2010. Newspapers in western Germany showed a loss of 5.0 percent in advertising volume, nearly even with their eastern German counterparts, who reported a decline of 4.9 percent. Net advertising volume trends varied considerably in the different categories. While job advertising showed a strong recovery (+12.7 percent), real estate advertising (-17.4 percent), travel advertising (-10.8 percent), car advertising (-7.3 percent), business advertising (-6.1) , and other advertising categories (-7.1 percent) showed considerable losses. The losses suffered in event advertising (-4.1 percent), and family advertising (-0.1 percent) were more moderate. Gains were posted only in the job advertising category.

In the first half of 2011 the volume of paid advertisements in local and regional subscription newspapers showed a decline of 3.5 percent compared with the same period the previous year. Gains were made in job advertising (+21.1 percent) and car advertising (+6.6). A negative trend was shown between January and June 2011 by business advertising (-8.6 percent), real estate advertising (-13.0 percent), travel advertising (-3.6 percent), event advertising (-4.1 percent), family advertising (-3.4 percent), and other advertising categories (-2.3).The insert business was a bit better in 2010, showing an overall gain of 0.7 percent; however, earnings in this market segment dropped by 3.7 percent in the first half of 2011. This was primarily a result of losses in western Germany. In the eastern parts of the country, by contrast, the insert business prospered, showing gains of 5.1 percent in the first half of 2011.


Average daily circulation at 23.8 million copies

Newspapers in Germany have a total circulation of more than 23.8 million sold copies per publication day (German Audit Bureau of Circulations, 2nd quarter 2011). This means there was an average decline in circulation of 931,304 copies (-3.7 percent) in comparison with the same quarter the previous year. This total circulation figure does not take into account the sales of 144,067 e-newspaper editions put out by 80 different media (+51.2 percent).

Specific overall declines amounted to -2.3 percent for local/regional newspapers (western Germany -2.1 percent, eastern Germany -3.1 percent), -2.6 percent for national newspapers, -5.9 percent for newspapers sold at newsstands, -3.8 percent for Sunday newspapers, and -10.2 percent for weekly newspapers.

The sold circulation of all categories of newspapers breaks down to 18.83 million copies for daily newspapers, 3.25 million copies for Sunday newspapers, and 1.76 million copies for weekly newspapers. Of the total figure for daily newspapers, 13.42 million copies are accounted for by local and regional subscription newspapers, more than 1.5 million copies by national newspapers, and over 3.8 million copies by newspapers sold at newsstands.


Contact: pasquay(at)bdzv.de

Status as of: 10/2011