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.


    Zelensky’s day

    KievVladimir Zelensky is the new Ukrainian president. But who is the TV comedian who will run the scandal-prone country really?

    AfD is the strongest party in East Germany

    BerlinIn a survey by the polling institute Emnid on Sunday about which German party would be a favourite in a federal election, the AfD came out as the strongest party in East Germany.

    Ukraine elects its first Jewish president

    KievA real comedian, Volodymyr Zelensky, better known for playing a president in a TV show, won the final round of the presidential election on Sunday. The incumbent President Petro Poroshenko has conceded defeat.

    Act XXIII: Journalists targeted by police in Paris

    ParisJournalists covering the Yellow Vest demonstration have reported that some of their colleagues have been arrested by the police. Others have been victims of police violence.

    Notre Dame: Was it arson?

    ParisOne of three jihadists involved in a foiled plot in 2016 to launch an attack on the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was sentenced to eight years in prison by a French court just days before before a fire destroyed the iconic spire and roof.

    In a Yellow Vest through Paris

    ParisAn exclusive FWM reportage on the Yellow Vest movement that has riled French President Emmanuel Macron for months now. Our reporter joined a group of the famous gilets jaunes.

    Notre Dame blaze destroys French national unity

    ParisWhile French and Catholics mourn the tragedy that struck the cathedral of Paris on Monday, Internet users, especially Muslims, preferred instead to celebrate the fire with insults and shameful ridicule.

    Huge loss for France as iconic 850- year old Notre Dame embers smolder

    ParisThe origin of the gigantic fire, which devastated the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral on Monday, is still unknown, but an investigation was opened for "involuntary destruction by fire," announced the Paris prosecutor's office in the evening.

    Finns Party wins second highest score in election

    HelsinkiA conservative political party that campaigned against open borders and climate change policies won the second-highest number of seats in Finland's parliamentary elections on Sunday.

    Austria warns of new mass migration wave being prepared

    ViennaAustrian Interior Minister Herbert Kickl (FPÖ) has warned in a letter to the EU Commission that Europe will be facing a new wave of mass immigration.

    Go to archive