Skip to Content

Stock photo

Crash of print media in Germany continues

The crash of print media in Germany continues. More than 80 percent of major titles lost buyers in the fourth quarter of 2018. Top titles lost readers in the double-digit percentage range. 

Published: January 20, 2019, 5:30 am

    It has been all downhill for print media in Germany. According to a recent analysis by an information company to determine the distribution of advertising in media, of the 100 magazines with the highest subscriptions available at the kiosk, only 19 were added in the previous year.

    Kiosk sales of Focus and and fake news weekly Spiegel have been reaching record lows.

    Big loser among the political weekly magazines is Stern, which lost 11.3 percent. In the nationwide daily and weekly newspapers especially Stern, Die Welt and Bild am Sonntag showed massive losses.

    The daily newspaper Die Welt plummeted by 11.7 percent. Bild also lost a massive amount of readers – almost ten percent. FAZ and taz lost slightly less, while Handelsblatt was able to gain digital customers.

    The circulation of the Berliner Zeitung today is just over 70 000, while four years ago it was still 120 912. The Berliner Kurier only sells just over 53 000 copies. Some smaller niche titles like Freitag and Das Parlament managed to win readers.

    Spiegel, Stern, Zeit and Focus wanted to conceal their circulation losses with an old trick: They only wanted to report numbers on sold copies every three months, but the ruse did not work because the advertising industry forced the to reveal real sales.

    Mainstream German magazines and weekly newspapers have been losing readers at record speed. Thanks to the advertising standards board, the  Informationsgemeinschaft zur Feststellung der Verbreitung von Werbeträgern (IVW), has tracked relevant industry figures. It means that interested parties can see at regular 7-day intervals, which titles have sold at the kiosk.

    The big publishers Spiegel , Gruner + Jahr (Stern), Hubert Burda (Focus) and Zeit Verlagsgruppe wanted to put a stop to that. From 2019 they wanted to report the current numbers of sold copies only once every three months and did not bother to disguise their true motives. There was even talk of “negative press coverage” that would scare off  potential advertisers.

    Publishers had previously given advertisers so-called conditional warranties. This means: If a magazine or newspaper does not reach the previously promised sales numbers, a refund is due. With the crisis of the print media in recent years, this has often happened.

    But the publishers apparently did not expect such a strong reaction from the advertising industry. The managing director of the organization of the media agencies (OMG), Klaus-Peter Schulz, sharply criticized the planned procedure of the media houses.

    The online service Meedia quoted him as saying: “The decision to abandon the reporting procedure for publishing issues could permanently damage the print genre.”

    Thus, in a joint press release last year, the three publishers said they heard “the loud and critical echo” from the market and from customers and apologised for “the confusion”.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.


    France to outlaw anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism

    ParisDuring his speech at the dinner of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF) [Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France] , a powerful Jewish lobby in France, President Emmanuel Macron announced that France "will implement the definition of anti-Semitism defined by the International Alliance for the Memory of the Holocaust (IHRA)".

    Matteo Salvini. Photo:

    Italian Senate panel votes against Salvini’s ‘migrant kidnapping’ trial

    RomeParty activists from the League's coalition partners led by Luigi Di Maio have been invited to vote for or against the lifting of the parliamentary immunity of the Italian Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini.

    UK faces policing crisis as cops quit in huge numbers

    Law enforcement chiefs in Britain are struggling to find enough specialist detectives with three-quarters of stations admitting that they cannot fill vacancies because of the rate at which experienced officers are quitting the force.

    French official criticises British resolve to stop illegals

    In the fight against networks of human traffickers in the English Channel, the president of the Regional Council of Hauts-de-France has pleaded for stronger cooperation between France and Britain to end illegal immigration.

    Smartphones stolen in Barcelona turn up in Marrakesh

    A profitable black market in smartphones is encouraging the theft of mobile phones in the coastal city of Barcelona.

    Bertelsmann study: Does Germany really need more immigrants?

    Germany supposedly needs 260 000 immigrants each year, a study commissioned by the Bertelsmann Foundation has recently found. But the findings have drawn much criticism and incomprehension.

    Number of migrants in German prisons at a record high

    BerlinMigrant inmates in German prisons have skyrocketed, a new survey of the Justice Ministries in in Germany's 16 federal states show.

    Hungary launches seven-point family plan

    BudapestHungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has announced a family protection plan in his state-of-the nation address in Budapest on Sunday.

    Act XIII: Protester’s hand torn off by police grenade

    ParisDuring the clashes that took place in front of the National Assembly in Paris over the weekend between police and Yellow Vests, a protester lost his hand. Tensions rose a notch in Paris on Saturday, February 9 on the occasion of Act XIII of the protest movement.

    UK Counter Terrorism interviews 8-year-old

    LondonIn Britain, an eight-year-old Muslim boy was questioned by two counter-terrorism police officers and a social worker at a school in east London because he had become so radicalized.

    Go to archive