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15. September 2004 | Die deutschen Zeitungen in Zahlen und Daten

The situation of newspapers in Germany 2004

More than three-fourths of the German population over the age of 14 (75.7 percent) regularly read a daily newspaper. That is around 49 million men and women. More local and regional newspapers delivered to subscribers are read by women (65.2 percent) than by men (63.1 percent). More newspapers purchased at newsstands and national newspapers delivered to subscribers are read by men (27.3 percent and 7.0 percent respectively) than by women (17.9 percent and 4.1 percent respectively).

 

In terms of age groups daily newspapers traditionally have their highest levels of audience penetration among persons in the 40-69 age range, i.e. between 85 and 78 percent. Nearly 84 percent of persons over the age of 70 regularly read a daily newspaper and more than 71 percent of those between the ages of 30 and 39 do so as well. The number of regular newspaper readers is lower in the younger age groups, but the levels of audience penetration are nonetheless still fairly high. A total of 61.5 percent of the 20-29 age group are reached by newspapers and nearly 52 percent of young people between the ages of 14 and 19.

 

Over the past ten years numerous publishing companies have developed editorial material for young people (well above 100 examples of this) with a view to developing and maintaining their interest in reading newspapers. They now publish regular supplements and special pages containing detailed information on entertainment and activities for young people. They also provide a variety of Internet activities tailored to the interests of this target group. By providing interesting on-line content the publishing companies are hoping to make young people with an affinity for the Internet more aware of the qualities of printed newspapers.

 

 

Decline in overall sales

 

In 2003 newspapers experienced a decline in overall sales from advertising, supplements, and distribution, falling from the previous year's figure of 9.42 billion euros to 8.90 billion (a decrease of 5.4 percent). Out of the total sales figure, daily newspapers accounted for 8.40 billion euros, a decrease of 4.84 percent.

 

The continued economic downturn in 2003 had a renewed negative effect on newspaper sales. For the first time in ten years the economic growth registered for the year declined, by 0.1 percent price-adjusted (after growth of 0.2 percent in 2002). As in the previous year, newspaper publishers were well below this figure. Advertising sales declined by 10.08 percent, following a decline of 12.06 percent in 2002. Up until the year 2000 advertising had continued to be the main source of income for newspapers, accounting for an average of two-thirds of the total. Circulation revenue rose slightly, by 0.45 percent, but not enough to offset advertising losses. Since the end of the Second World War there has not been a decline in newspaper sales in Germany as strong as what has been seen over the past three years.

 

 

Trend in advertising sales

 

With advertising sales of 4.45 billion euros in 2003 (a decline of 9.7 percent) daily newspapers continue to be by far the most important advertising medium. Advertising sales by weekly and Sunday newspapers fell from 268 to 225 million euros (-15.9 percent); newspaper supplements are no longer listed separately. Total advertising sales for all newspaper categories amounted to 4.68 billion euros (-10.08 percent). The advertising market in Germany shrank once again. The average decline in sales for all advertising media in 2003 was 4.3 percent. The share the newspaper industry had in overall advertising sales declined from 26 percent to 25 percent. In the year 2000 it had been 29 percent.

 

Regional newspapers in western and eastern Germany showed total advertising sales of 3.62 billion euros for 2003. From January to December 2003 advertising volume declined by 6.7 percent. Newspapers in eastern Germany suffered a loss of 7.1 percent in advertising volume, compared with a marginally smaller loss of 6.6 percent for their western German counterparts. Not all categories of advertising were affected to the same extent by the negative overall trend shown in net advertising volume. While there was once again an above-average decline in job advertising (-35.8 percent), declines around or well above the average were registered for national advertising (-3.2 percent), car advertising (-9.5 percent), real estate advertising (-9.2 percent), event advertising (-8.8 percent), travel advertising (-0.9 percent), and other advertising categories (-1.3 percent). Increases were registered for local business advertising (+1.0 percent) and family advertising (+0.4 percent).

 

In the first half of 2004 the volume of paid advertisements in local and regional subscription newspapers declined by 1.9 percent compared with the same period the previous year. A positive trend was shown by local business advertising (+2.5 percent) and other advertising categories (+2.6 percent). All the other advertising categories showed losses in advertising volume from January to June 2004: national advertising (-8.7 percent), car advertising (-2.8 percent), real estate advertising (-1.3 percent), job advertising (-11.2 percent), family advertising (-5.3 percent), travel advertising (-4.2 percent), and event advertising (-4.0 percent).

 

The trend shown by the insert business in 2003 was just as unsatisfactory as in the case of other advertising sales; there was a decline of 4.0 percent. In the first half of 2004 income from inserts showed a more moderate decline of 1.7 percent in comparison with the same period the previous year.

 

 

Slight decline in circulation

 

Newspapers in Germany have a total circulation of 28.19 million copies per publication day (German Audit Bureau of Circulations, 2nd quarter 2004). The western states account for 24.79 million copies and the eastern states for just under 3.4 million. This means there was an average decline in circulation of 570,550 copies (-2.0 percent) in comparison with the same quarter the previous year.

 

Western German newspapers showed a 1.8 percent decline in circulation (-447,001 copies), while sales in eastern Germany dropped by 3.5 percent (-123,549). Overall declines amounted to 2.14 percent for local/regional newspapers, 0.06 percent for national newspapers, 2.50 percent for newspapers sold at newsstands, and 3.48 percent for Sunday newspapers. Weekly newspapers, on the other hand, showed a slight increase of 2.99 percent or more than 56,000 copies.

 

The sold circulation of all categories of newspapers breaks down into just over 22 million copies for daily newspapers, 4.16 million copies for Sunday newspapers, and a little more than 1.9 million copies for weekly newspapers. Of the total figure for daily newspapers, 15.4 million copies are accounted for by local and regional subscription newspapers, 1.6 million copies are accounted for by national newspapers, and over 5 million copies are accounted for by newspapers sold at newsstands.

 

 

Author: Anja Pasquay pasquay@bdzv.de

Status: August/2004

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