The Use of the Internet by German Newspapers

von Steffen Büffel. durchschnittliche Verweildauer: about 2 minutes.

Hinweis: einen deutschsprachigen Text zum Thema gibt es drüben bei Wortfeld.

During the last decade German newspapers – like papers around the globe – have been experiencing declines in both print readership and circulation. With online ad revenues increasing rapidly, mainstream adoption of the Internet and more recently of Web 2.0-technologies and services gained momentum during the last year.

As we have shown in our pilot study on the online features of German newspapers in 2006, small papers are still hesitant and in part ignorant towards the internet. In contrast, big publishers and medium sized papers keep pushing crossmedia and innovative online strategies. The movement is clearly towards more interactive, more multimedia and audiovisual content presentation allowing commenting and remixing as well as networking amongst users.

The following results are taken from the 2007 follow up study on the online features of German newspapers. The study was conducted by Steffen Büffel (media-ocean.de), Falk Lüke (zeit.de), Igor Schwarzmann (pleon.de) and Alexander Svensson (wortfeld.de) in October 2007. The sample included the top 105 most widely circulated national and regional newspapers in Germany. To allow for comparison of results, we adopted categories and methodology from the Bivings Groups study (2006 and 2007) on the US newspaper market.

Key Findings

  • VIDEO: The number of papers that offer video has nearly doubled within the last year. 71 percent now offer video.
  • RSS:
    • 55 percent of newspapers offer RSS feeds, an increase by 12 percent compared to 2006
    • 50 percent offer category feeds, an increase by 14 percent
    • like in 2006 less than 5 percent of papers offer full-text feeds,
    • ads within RSS feeds are still not present
  • MOST-READ: 18 percent of the newspapers in our sample now offer a “most read” feature. That’s 4 times more than in the 2006 study.
  • COMMENTS: The number of papers that allow comments on articles increased from 11 to 28 percent.
  • BLOGGING: Nearly one third of papers now have reporter blogs. An increase by 10 percent. They all allow comments but only half of them have a blogroll.
  • PODCASTS: Although the number for papers offering podcasts nearly doubled during the last year, only 14 percent have this feature
  • SOCIAL BOOKARKING: In 2006 none of the papers had a social bookmarking feature. In 2007 social bookmarking took off and reached 13 percent.

We will present these and further results of our study at the Web2Expo this Wednesday afternoon („What Happens To Print as the Web Rises“). If you want to get in touch with us please do so by sending an email to newspapers2007@media-ocean.de