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01. Januar 2006 | Die deutschen Zeitungen in Zahlen und Daten

The situation of newspapers in Germany 2005

Just under three-fourths of the German population over the age of 14 (74.8 percent) regularly read a daily newspaper. That is around 48.5 million men and women. More local and regional newspapers delivered to subscribers are read by women (64.5 percent) than by men (62.6 percent). More newspapers purchased at newsstands and national newspapers delivered to subscribers are read by men (26.7 percent and 7.2 percent respectively) than by women (16.8 percent and 8.3 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 77 and 85 percent. Slightly more than 83 percent of persons over the age of 70 regularly read a daily newspaper and over 70 percent of those between the ages of 30 and 39. 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 60.3 percent of the 20-29 age group are reached by newspapers; the figure is over 49 percent for 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.


Slight growth in overall sales


In 2004 newspapers showed a slight growth in overall sales from advertising, supplements, and distribution, rising from the previous year's figure of 8.90 billion euros to 8.99 billion (an increase of 1 percent). Out of the total sales figure, daily newspapers accounted for 8.47 billion euros, an increase of 0.8 percent.


The economic situation in 2004 turned out to be better than many had expected, gross domestic product growing by price-adjusted 1.6 percent, compared with a decline of 0.1 percent in 2003. The inflation rate remained low at 1.6 percent (1.1 percent in 2003). However, newspaper publishers shared in this economic growth only to a limited extent. For the first time in three years they showed gains in advertising sales (increase of 1.25 percent), clearly exceeding the growth shown in distribution earnings (increase of 0.58 percent). The old rule of thumb that applied up to the year 2000, to the effect that two thirds of sales in the newspaper business stem from advertising and one third from distribution, is not expected to regain its former validity any time soon. In 2004, 55.4 percent of sales revenues came from advertising and 44.6 percent from distribution.


Trend in advertising sales


With advertising sales of 4.5 billion euros in 2004 (an increase of 0.93 percent) daily newspapers continue to be the most important advertising medium by far. Advertising sales by weekly and Sunday newspapers rose from 222 to 240 million euros (+7.77 percent); newspaper supplements are no longer listed separately. Total advertising sales for all newspaper categories amounted to 4.74 billion euros (+1.25 percent). The advertising market in Germany grew slightly. The average increase in sales for all advertising media was +1.6 percent in 2004. The share the newspaper industry had in overall advertising sales stagnated at just under 25 percent. In the year 2000 it had been 29 percent.


Regional newspapers in western and eastern Germany showed total advertising sales of 3.60 billion euros for 2004. From January to December 2004 advertising volume increased slightly, by 0.3 percent. Newspapers in eastern Germany suffered a loss of 4.1 percent in advertising volume, while their western German counterparts fared much better with a gain of 0.7 percent. Net advertising volume trends varied considerably in the different advertising categories. While there was once again an above-average decline in job advertising (-6.0 percent), there were notable increases in car advertising (+3.9 percent), miscellaneous advertising (+3.7 percent), and local business advertising (+2.0 percent); Declines were registered in family advertising (-3.6 percent), travel advertising (-3.7 percent), event advertising (-2.0 percent), real estate advertising (-0.3 percent), and national advertising (-0.9 percent).


In the first half of 2005 the volume of paid advertisements in local and regional subscription newspapers declined by 1.6 percent compared with the same period the previous year. Gains were registered by travel advertising (+1.7 percent), family advertising (+1.4 percent), and car advertising (+0.3 percent). All the other advertising categories showed losses in advertising volume from January to June 2005: national advertising (-0.3 percent), local business advertising (-2.0 percent), real estate advertising (-5.3 percent), job advertising (-0.6 percent), event advertising (-3.9 percent), and miscellaneous advertising (-3.1 percent).


The trend shown by the insert business in 2004 was not as good as in the case of classified advertising; there was a decline of 0.3 percent. In the first half of 2005 income from inserts showed a slightly greater decline, 0.5 percent, compared with the same period the previous year.


Slight decline in circulation


Newspapers in Germany have a total circulation of 27.40 million copies per publication day (German Audit Bureau of Circulations, 2nd quarter 2005). Western Germany accounts for 24.17 million copies and the eastern German states for over 3.2 million. This means there was an average decline in circulation of 788,870 copies (-2.8 percent) in comparison with the same quarter the previous year.


Western German newspapers showed a 2.5 percent decline in circulation (-623,622 copies), while sales in eastern Germany dropped by 4.86 percent (-165,248). Overall declines amounted to -1.93 percent for local/regional newspapers, -2.93 percent for newspapers sold at newsstands, -7.92 percent for Sunday newspapers, and -1.25 percent for weekly newspapers. National newspapers, on the other hand, showed a slight increase, amounting to 0.63 percent or 10,390 copies.


The sold circulation of all categories of newspapers breaks down to 21.6 million copies for daily newspapers, 3.83 million copies for Sunday newspapers, and a little more than 1.9 million copies for weekly newspapers. Of the total figure for daily newspapers, 15.1 million copies are accounted for by local and regional subscription newspapers, more than 1.6 million copies by national newspapers, and over 4.8 million copies by newspapers sold at newsstands.



By Anja Pasquay pasquay@bdzv.de

Status 8/2005