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28. August 2006 | Die deutschen Zeitungen in Zahlen und Daten

The situation of newspapers in Germany 2006

Just under three-fourths of the German population over the age of 14 (73.7 percent) regularly read a daily newspaper. That is around 48 million men and women. Slightly more local and regional newspapers delivered to subscribers are read by women (63.2 percent) than by men (62.0 percent). More newspapers purchased at newsstands and national newspapers delivered to subscribers are read by men (25.9 percent and 7.2 percent respectively) than by women (15.9 percent and 4.4 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 76 and 84 percent. Nearly 83 percent of persons over the age of 70 regularly read a daily newspaper and just under 69 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 58.2 percent of the 20-29 age group are reached by newspapers; the figure is over 47 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 (there are 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. Numerous efforts of this kind have also begun to target elementary school children. Just as much importance is attached to providing interesting content for these very young readers as to other measures to promote newspaper reading.



Overall sales remain stable


In 2005 newspapers showed a slight growth in overall sales from advertising, supplements, and distribution, rising from the previous year's figure of 8.99 billion euros to 9.03 billion (an increase of 0.45 percent). Out of the total sales figure, daily newspapers accounted for 8.49 billion euros, an increase of 0.2 percent.


The economic situation in 2005 turned out to be positive but not as good as many had expected, gross domestic product growing by price-adjusted 0.9 percent compared with 1.6 percent in 2004. The inflation rate rose to 2.0 percent (compared to 1.6 percent in 2004). Newspaper publishers shared in the economic growth for the year only to a limited extent. Although 2004 had shown promising gains in advertising sales for the first time in three years, 2005 showed a decline of 0.3 percent in this area; by contrast, there was an increase of 1.2 percent in distribution earnings. In view of these results, 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 2005, 53 percent of sales revenues came from advertising and 47 percent from distribution.



Trend in advertising sales


With advertising sales of 4.4 billion euros in 2005 (a decline of 0.6 percent) daily newspapers continue to be by far the most important advertising medium. Advertising sales by weekly and Sunday newspapers rose from 240 to 253 million euros (+5.6 percent); newspaper supplements are no longer listed separately. Total advertising sales for all newspaper categories amounted to 4.73 billion euros (-0.3 percent). The advertising market in Germany grew slightly. The average increase in sales for all advertising media was +1.0 percent in 2005. The share the newspaper industry had in overall advertising sales stagnated at just under 24 percent. In the year 2000 it had been 29 percent.


Regional newspapers in western and eastern Germany showed total advertising sales of 3.19 billion euros for 2005. From January to December 2005 the volume of advertising declined by 1.1 percent. Newspapers in eastern Germany suffered a loss of 3.2 percent in advertising volume, while their western German counterparts fared much better with a loss of 0.9 percent. Net advertising volume trends varied considerably in the different advertising categories. While there was growth in job advertisements (+2.7 percent) for the first time in years as well as slight increases in national advertising (+0.1 percent) and travel advertisements (+1.0 percent), there were decreases in real estate advertisements (-4.1 percent), car advertisements (-3.4 percent), miscellaneous advertisements (-3.0 percent), event advertisements (-2.9 percent), local business advertisements (-0.6 percent), and family advertisements (-0.1 percent).


In the first half of 2006 the volume of paid advertisements in local and regional subscription newspapers declined by 0.5 percent compared with the same period the previous year. A positive trend was shown by job advertising (+15.1 percent), other advertising categories (+0.9 percent), and local business advertising (+1.7 percent). This was not the case for travel advertisements (-5.5 percent), car advertisements (-9.2 percent), family advertisements (-4.9 percent), and event advertisements (-5.3 percent). Losses were also shown by real estate advertising (-7.3 percent) and national advertising (-0.5 percent) in the period from January to June 2006.


The insert business failed to show a uniform trend in 2005. In the western part of the country the overall volume of business declined slightly (-0.3 percent) while sales increased by 0.7 percent; in the eastern part of the country, on the other hand, the overall volume of business showed a decline of 8.4 percent alongside a 3.7 percent drop in sales. Given that the first half of 2006 showed an average decline of 0.1 percent in the insert business, we are not likely to see a reversal of this trend for the time being.



Slight decline in circulation


Newspapers in Germany have a total circulation of 26.96 million copies per publication day (German Audit Bureau of Circulations, 2nd quarter 2006). Western Germany accounts for 23.79 million copies and the eastern German states for 3.16 million. This means there was an average decline in circulation of 478,239 copies (-1.74 percent) in comparison with the same quarter the previous year.


Western German newspapers showed a 1.58 percent decline in circulation (-380,857 copies), while sales in eastern Germany dropped by 2.98 percent (-97,328). Overall declines amounted to -1.96 percent for local/regional newspapers, -3.42 percent for newspapers sold at newsstands, and -2.89 percent for Sunday newspapers. Weekly newspapers, on the other hand, showed strong gains (+5.19) while national newspapers remained at nearly the same level (-0.33 percent).


The sold circulation of all categories of newspapers breaks down into 21.19 million copies for daily newspapers, 3.72 million copies for Sunday newspapers, and more than 2 million copies for weekly newspapers. Of the total figure for daily newspapers, 14.8 million copies are accounted for by local and regional subscription newspapers, more than 1.6 million copies by national newspapers, and just under 4.7 million copies by newspapers sold at newsstands.


By: Anja Pasquay pasquay@bdzv.de

Status as of: 8/2006