Challenges and expectations of the newspaper industry for 2022.


The German newspaper industry is expecting a further shift in business to digital content that will more than compensate for the loss of paper sales revenues.

71 publishers and managing directors, 39 editors-in-chief and 45 digital publishers took part in the survey “Trends in the Newspaper Industry 2022”. They represent more than half (61 per cent) of the newspapers in Germany by circulation. The survey in cooperation with the management consultancy Schickler was published for the eighth time and reveals positive expectations for the digital future of newspapers, but also some challenges that need to be solved, like the lack of skills in the newsrooms.

Digital circulation will compensate soon for the loss of printed copies sold.

Circulation figures for printed newspapers have been declining for many years: the survey suggests a turnaround in the total number of print and digital subscribers expected already by the next couple of years. Due to the growth in digital, one of three publishers expects that the total number of subscriptions is growing again.

Almost 70% of the publishers surveyed expect that in five years digital revenues will be able to fully compensate for the decline in print revenues.

Where do German news publishers see risks? Where the opportunities?

The biggest risks they see:

  • The rising costs for the delivery of printed newspapers.
  • The intensified decline in circulation, as the further decline in the advertising market.

The biggest opportunities listed were:

  • Growth through digital subscription revenues,
  • The development of new business areas outside the core business
  • Growth through digital advertising revenues.

Personalisation is expected to become the biggest driver of reader revenues.

Paid content is a central topic for companies in the digital publishing and newspaper industry; new in 2022 is the driver of personalisation as an opportunity to bring content to the audience even more successfully.

Personalisation is seen as the booster for paid content: What already works in entertainment and retail is now becoming relevant for the newspaper industry. Publishers are building algorithms for personalised offers. The focus is on article recommendations and newsletters.

Publishers also see the ability to serve content to different audiences over different channels as crucial for sustainable business.

  •  88 per cent of publishers see the e-paper as an important bridge to paid content. The age structure of e-paper users is on average 20 years lower than that of print readers. 
  • Online subscribers are another 20 years younger with a focus on the mid-30s to 40s. 
  • New offerings such as podcasts reach an even younger target group.

What about digital skills? And data skills?

Digital competence is being built up primarily in-house – also for complex competencies around data science and data analytics. 62% of the publishers are planning this.

They are also aware of the issues to find skilful professionals in the data fields. Special attention is therefore paid to the recruiting of employees. 68% of the publishers currently see the shortage of skilled workers as a very significant problem.

Data protection and recruiting are relevant topics.

The topic of data protection is also the focus of the 2022 trend survey. We read these days about the Austrian and the French data authorities challenging Google Analytics.

84% of the German newspaper publishers consider data protection with high existential relevance.

The transition to a reader-revenue model and a less cookie-dependent world will push news and magazine publishers to work more on how they collect, process and deal with data.

The full report here.


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🗞️ MEDIA Digest
14 january 2022
  • In this issue: RTL plans for 2022 ● BILD and scientists make peace ● Google News Showcase takes action to comply with the German Competition Authority ● ProsiebenSat.1 launches a new full-service agency.

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