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15. August 2007 | Die deutschen Zeitungen in Zahlen und Daten

The situation of newspapers in Germany 2007

Over the past fifteen years numerous publishing companies have developed editorial material for young people (there are well over a hundred 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. In the meantime many of these activities have been directed towards children of elementary school age. At least as much importance is attached to creating attractive on-line content for this very young age group as is attached to taking measures aimed at developing an interest in reading newspapers.


The latest audience penetration studies show that these efforts are having a positive effect. For the first time in years there were slight increases in audience penetration levels in the 14-19 age range (48 percent) and the 20-29 age range (59 percent). Daily newspapers traditionally have their highest levels of audience penetration among persons in the 40-69 age range, i.e. between 74 and 85 percent. Slightly more than 83 percent of persons over the age of 70 regularly read a daily newspaper and over 68 percent of those between the ages of 30 and 39.


All in all just under three-fourths of the German population over the age of 14 (73.2 percent) regularly read a daily newspaper. That is around 47.5 million men and women. Slightly more local and regional newspapers delivered to subscribers are read by women (62.5 percent) than by men (60.7 percent). More newspapers purchased at newsstands and national newspapers delivered to subscribers are read by men (26.6 percent and 6.9 percent respectively) than by women (15.8 percent and 4.6 percent respectively).


Slight growth in overall sales


In 2006 newspapers showed a slight growth in overall sales from advertising, supplements, and distribution, rising from the previous year's figure of 9.03 billion euros to 9.14 billion, an increase of 1.2 percent. Out of the total sales figure, daily newspapers accounted for 8.59 billion euros, once again an increase of 1.2 percent.


The economic situation in 2006 turned out to be considerably more positive than had been expected, with gross domestic product growing by price-adjusted 2.9 percent compared to 0.9 percent in 2005. The inflation rate declined slightly to 1.7 percent (compared to 2.0 percent in 2005). However, newspaper publishers shared in this economic growth only to a limited extent. After a slight decline in advertising sales (-0.3 percent) in 2005, there was an increase of 1.3 percent in this area in 2006; parallel to this 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 2006, 52 percent of sales revenues came from advertising and 48 percent from distribution.


Trend in advertising sales


With advertising sales of 4.5 billion euros in 2006 (an increase of 1.2 percent) daily newspapers continue to be the most important advertising medium by far. Advertising sales by weekly and Sunday newspapers rose from 253 to 260 million euros (+2.9 percent); newspaper supplements are no longer listed separately. Total advertising sales for all newspaper categories amounted to 4.79 billion euros (+1.3 percent). The advertising market in Germany grew slightly. The average increase in sales for all advertising media in 2006 was 2.6 percent. The share the newspaper industry had in overall advertising sales stagnated at 23 percent. In the year 2000 it had been 29 percent.


Regional newspapers in western and eastern Germany showed total advertising sales of 3.61 billion euros for 2006. From January to December 2006 advertising volume declined by 0.8 percent. Newspapers in eastern Germany showed a gain of 0.3 percent in advertising volume, while their western German counterparts fared much worse with a loss of 0.9 percent. Net advertising volume trends varied considerably in the different advertising categories. While there was once again a strong rise in job advertising (+21.8 percent) in continuation of the recovery trend shown in 2005, there was little or no movement in national advertising (+/- 0 percent) and other advertising categories (+0.5 percent). At the same time declines were registered for travel advertising (-4.3 percent), car advertising (-7.4 percent), real estate advertising (-6.1 percent), event advertising (-3.3 percent), local business advertising (-2.3 percent), and family advertising (-2.7 percent).


In the first half of 2007 the volume of paid advertisements in local and regional subscription newspapers showed a gain of 2.8 percent compared with the same period in 2006. There was a renewed strong rise in job advertising (+36.4 percent). There were also increases in family advertising (+1.8 percent), real estate advertising (+0.8 percent), and event advertising (+0.3 percent). There was a slight rise in the cumulative figure for national and local business advertising (0.4 percent). Declines were posted for car advertising, travel advertising, and other advertising categories in the period from January to June 2007.


The insert business showed a positive trend in 2006 with increases of 3 percent in western Germany and 7.6 percent in eastern Germany. This trend did not continue with the same strength in the first half of 2007, showing a cumulative gain of 0.9 percent (+1.2 percent in western Germany and -3.1 percent in eastern Germany).


Slight decline in circulation


Newspapers in Germany have a total circulation of 26.45 million copies per publication day (German Audit Bureau of Circulations, 2nd quarter 2007). Western Germany accounts for 23.4 million copies and the eastern German states for over 3 million. This means there was an average decline in circulation of 508,655 copies (-1.9 percent) in comparison with the same quarter the previous year.


Western German newspapers showed a decline of 1.62 percent in circulation (-384,875 copies), while sales in eastern Germany dropped by 3.91 percent (-23,780 copies). Overall declines amounted to -1.91 percent for local/regional newspapers, -2.68 percent for direct newspaper sales (mostly at newsstands), and -4.23 percent for weekly newspapers. National newspapers showed no change while Sunday newspapers showed a slight decline (-0.34 percent).


The sold circulation of all categories of newspapers breaks down into 20.78 million copies for daily newspapers, 3.71 million copies for Sunday newspapers, and just under 2 million copies for weekly newspapers. Of the total figure for daily newspapers, 14.5 million copies are accounted for by local and regional subscription newspapers, more than 1.6 million copies by national newspapers, and just under 4.6 million copies by newspapers sold at newsstands.


By: Anja Pasquay pasquay(at)bdzv.de

Status as of: 8/2007