Media Association of the Free Press e.V.
Industry crisis resilience strained | Up to 30% of magazine titles are in existential danger | Non-discriminatory promotion of magazines and newspapers now urgently needed | Regulation of gatekeeper platforms is essential
Berlin, April 26, 2022 – Dramatic increases in energy and paper prices as well as constantly rising postal delivery costs are weighing heavily on magazine publishers in Germany. The relevant turnover recovery achieved in 2021 after the corona crisis in 2020 is largely wiped out by the current cost explosion. As the Media Association of the Free Press (MVFP) pointed out at its annual press conference in Berlin, these uncompensable cost increases threaten the substance of the diversity of journalistic media in Germany. The high level of resilience and innovative strength of the industry, demonstrated during the digital transformation and the economic and financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, faces the biggest and most complex challenge of this century.
If current developments continue, the existence of 30% of magazine titles will be seriously threatened by 2024. That’s over 2,000 out of a total of over 7,000 magazine titles. These are up to 30% of headlines in specialist media, up to 80% in faith-based media and up to 20% in popular media in Germany. This is shown by an industry-representative analysis that management consultancy Schickler conducted in March/April 2021 with the VDZ, which was replaced by the MVFP in April. Because this analysis does not take into account the recent increases in paper prices of up to 150%, nor the scale of the minimum wage increase in 2022, nor the extremely high energy costs, the concrete economic threat to individual titles and entire publishers is much sharper.
Ahead of the annual press conference Dr Rodolphe Thiemannpresident of the MVFP: “It is now more than clear that the Berlin coalition must initiate the promotion of the products of the periodical press in the direction of a non-discriminatory and politically irreproachable promotion of magazines and newspapers – otherwise there is a risk massive damage to the diversity of the press, freedom of information and opinion-forming.” According to Thiemann, a non-selective and objective funding criterion that does not distort competition within the press is utmost importance.
Philip Welt, MVFP Board Spokesperson and Popular Media Board Member, said at the annual press conference in the face of the multifaceted economic threat to journalism from publishers: “A Healthy democracy needs healthy publishers, because a free press is essential to the stability of our democracy and to the diversity of our pluralistic society. But neither freedom itself nor the survival of the free press can be taken for granted in the 21st century. The implementation of non-discriminatory financing is now absolutely essential in order to guarantee the independent journalistic services of more than 7,000 print magazine titles and digital channels of these brands for the future. Welte: “Otherwise there is a risk of losing more than 2,000 titles in the next two years”. The publishers and thousands of authors of these editorial offerings have thoroughly informed millions of people across all media channels about everything a company needs to know at work or in private. “This achievement of continuous in-depth information and education is just as unique and relevant to democracy as current information in the daily press.”
The call for non-discriminatory funding enjoys broad support among members: 86% of media companies participating in the current MVFP trend survey consider it important to also fund magazines in order to cushion delivery, paper and energy costs that increase significantly and continuously. give publishers the opportunity to invest more in digital transformation.
Holger Knappboard member of MVFP and spokesperson for the German trade press, explained in a statement at the association’s annual press conference: “The acute crisis has made the economic framework conditions for the trade media in Germany much stricter, without you having any influence on it. The crisis is exacerbated by the extreme increases in the prices of energy, paper and the increase in the minimum wage and therefore the increase in the cost of delivery even more increased. This is why the non-discriminatory promotion of the periodical press announced by the federal government is essential to prevent the discontinuation of numerous titles from having a lasting effect on the journalistic foundations of our knowledge society”.
“The digital transformation strategies of magazine media are seriously jeopardized by these cost explosions linked to the crisis, because the editorial staff cannot be financed in the long term by digital economic models alone the non-discriminatory promotion of the periodical press provided for by the coalition agreement is urgently needed,” said MVFP National Director Stephen Scherzer. One possible approach for objective, non-selective measurement of funding is, for example, linking to copies of magazines and newspapers that have been sent or distributed, Scherzer added.
Magazine Industry 2021 Year in Review
In the past financial year, magazine publishers, including (other) non-journalistic business areas, were able to slightly increase their total sales by 3.2% to 19.4 billion euros (2020: 18 .8 billion euros) – the pre-crisis level could not be reached (2019: 20.2 billion euros). They achieved the slight increase in sales mainly thanks to a 15% increase in other business areas, from 3.84 to 4.42 billion euros. The print advertising market and print sales business segments saw declines of 0.7% and 4% last year.
Media companies have also benefited from increased cooperation in the transformation process: as the MVFP trend survey shows, 51% have now entered into cooperations and 30% have forged alliances. Magazine publishers want to push cooperation within the industry even further: 31% plan to enter into cooperation in the future and 24% have planned alliances for the future.
2022 Trend Survey Results –
62% want to launch new digital journalistic offers
According to the MVFP trend survey, magazine publishers, who account for two-thirds of industry sales, expect mixed performance for fiscal 2022. Significant sales increases in paid content (+39%), in the digital advertising sector (+11%), in digital sales (+23%), in online businesses (+18%) and at events (+34%) are expected Declines in sales in the print advertising sector by -3.5% and -5% in print sales. In order to take advantage of additional sales potential, 62% plan to bring new digital journalistic offers to market, 37% new audio offers. Media companies will also invest in new print products. As a result, 37% want to launch new printed special editions and 26% new printed titles of periodicals.
The publishers also claim the consequences of the corona pandemic beyond 2022
When it comes to gauging how long the effects of the ongoing pandemic will last, magazine editors are more skeptical than they were the year before. According to the MVFP trend survey, the vast majority (85%) assume that the consequences of the pandemic will last longer: 30% also expect effects in 2023, 37% even longer and 18% even with permanent consequences. Only 15% think these will end in 2022.
The pressure on companies to change, caused by Corona, has also led to significant developments all the time. For 86%, this includes maintaining the home office, for 84% increasing digital income, for 78% digitizing other business areas and for 53% most media formats. digital events.
Regulation of digital monopolies and telephone readership campaigns are essential
As the trend study also shows, ensuring a level playing field vis-à-vis gatekeeper platforms and their effective regulation is very important for MVFP member publishers. 85% call for an obligation on the part of digital monopolies to reward all magazines and newspapers for the non-discriminatory use of the press publisher’s right. No one thinks it is enough for digital monopolies to remunerate selected media for exploiting their content in the manner of owners. 82% see considerable dangers for the digital publishing sector in the continued monopolization of the processing of commercial and advertising data by digital platforms such as Apple and Google.
For about two-thirds (65%) of publishers participating in the MVFP Trend Survey, telephone advertising is very important or important to maintaining subscription circulation and the much-needed contributions associated with editorial funding. These publishers assume that the confirmation solution would at least make advertising by telephone subscription more difficult or even impossible. More than half of these publishers see the risk of endangering public titles. Subscriptions are the journalistic and financial backbone of the free press – they are the largest and most loyal readers.
As shown by the sales revenue of MVFP member publishers in the areas of events, education, software and services, employment and transaction platforms, which was determined for the fourth time by Schickler Management Consulting on behalf of the MVFP, sales in almost all areas of the other business areas increased again in 2021 significantly increased. In total, publishers generated 4.42 billion euros after 3.84 billion euros in 2020. Transaction platforms, i.e. these revenues, represented by far the largest share with 2, €54 billion (2020: €2.29 billion). -commerce, comparison sites and online classifieds marketplaces. Revenue of €202 million (2020: €97 million) was generated by the education sector, €58 million by events (2020: €56 million) and 853 million euros (2020: 731 million euros) by job platforms). In 2021, the Software and Services business segment experienced significant growth of 36% and increased sales to €771 million (2020: €566 million).
Antje Jungmann, Head of Communications
MVFP – Media Association of the Registered Association of the Free Press
Email [email protected]
Telephone +49 (0) 30 – 72 62 98 110
Original content by: Media Association of the Free Press eV, transmitted by news aktuell