Print vs. Online
Without question: The trend is for digital and against print. Nevertheless, there is an exciting counter-movement in Germany at the moment. Although the number of newspaper and magazine readers is declining, national newspapers have been able to increase their range of coverage.
Print is having a hard time across the board and is losing market share. In 2018, the number of readers of printed newspapers and magazines fell from 39.3 million to 38.1 million. This is the result of the Media Analysis 2019 Pressemedien II by the working team Media-Analyse (Agma). Regional daily newspapers hold the largest share of the range of coverage with 30.9 million readers.
The biggest surprise, however, comes from the national daily newspapers. They were able to expand their range of coverage against the trend:
- Süddeutsche Zeitung: 1.28m readers (+30,000)
- Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: 830,000 readers (+70,000)
- Welt: 700,000 (+40,000)
- Taz: 240,000 readers (+20,000)
Bild remains the largest national newspaper with 8.63 million readers, but has suffered large losses (-790,000) which may be due to the strong digital offer of Bild online, which has more than 6 million unique users every day.
Increased demand for quality journalism
There is much to suggest that the increase in readers of the national daily newspapers mentioned above is due to the increasingly fragmented media environment. Enriched with badly researched news, news trimmed to entertainment, but also click baits and fake news on the net – the need for high-quality journalism has risen again in parts of the population and has caused a return to the national daily newspaper.
The number of general-interest magazines fell. Although 57.7 million readers over the age of 14 still consume general-interest magazines in Germany the range of coverage dropped significantly from 85.1 to 81.5 percent compared to the six-month survey.
According to the current survey the biggest losers were:
- TV Direkt (-510,000)
- Kicker-Montagsausgabe (-480,000)
- Stern (-470,000)
- Hörzu (-420,000)
- Bild am Sonntag (-360,000)
- Spiegel (-350,000)
- Focus (-270,000)
- Bunte (-260,000)
Spiegel vs. Stern duel
Stern and Spiegel have been racing head-to-head for years. Since Stern had to put up with stronger losses than Spiegel, Spiegel overtakes Stern for the first time. Spiegel has now 5.4 million readers, Stern 5.2 million.
The winners in the public titles were:
- Chefkoch-Magazin and Donna: coverage growth by 26 percent each
- Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung: plus 21 percent
- Living at Home: plus 18 percent
- Vital and 11 Freunde: plus 16 percent each
Across all print titles, these media were the biggest winners:
- Chefkoch-Magazin: 170,000 new readers
- Glamour: plus 160,000
- Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung: plus 140,000
- 11 Freunde: plus 120,000
- TV Movie and Welt: plus 120,000 each
Digital Natives: Nothing works without a smartphone
The figures show that despite the digital trend there is a demand for print titles. If you have a good concept or focus on high-quality journalism with qualitative research, you still have a chance of increasing your range of coverage. It remains to be seen whether this will be the case in the long term, and it is doubtful whether this will be the case. Because one thing is clear: the digital trend in the media will continue. Digital natives and millennials, whose lives are closely linked to the use of their smartphones, might be hard to imagine with an open newspaper or magazine. At some point, however, there will only be digital natives.