I. THE FUNDAMENTALS OF THE COMPANY
The purpose of the company is the collection, processing and distribution of news, archival and image material of any kind. For this purpose, a global network of editors and reporters provides their own reporting, which is impartial and independent of any ideologies, economic and financial groups or governments. This is stipulated in the articles of association of the German Press Agency. Employees and management alike feel bound by this.
All types of media are supplied with this material: newspapers, magazines and broadcasters as well as online and mobile service providers. Parliaments, federations, foundations and companies are also dpa customers and represent, alongside the media, increasingly important sources of revenue.
With its news products, the company operates mainly in Germany. The 180 dpa shareholders are also drawn from the circle of domestic customers. However, dpa services are now also offered and distributed abroad, in more than 100 countries, in German as well as Arabic, English and Spanish. As a result, dpa helps to spread German issues and the German perspective abroad and to promote the important values of press freedom and independence.
1. Overall economic and sector-specific conditions
The German economy lost some of its momentum in 2018, as the figures from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) show. Although the price-adjusted gross domestic product has risen for the ninth time in succession and at 1.5% is above the previous year's figure, nevertheless the growth of the German economy in 2017 was still 2.2%. However, noteworthy in this context is the significant and above-average growth in the information and communications sector (3.7%), which is likely to have supported the business of publishers and platforms as a whole.
Despite a slight decline in key data, the core market of the German Press Agency remains stable. At 55.8%, German newspapers continued to reach well over half of the population in 2018 (2017: 57.9%). The total reach of the newspapers is 39.3 million readers over the age of 14 and thus only slightly below the previous year (40.6 million). With 31.7 million consumers, regional subscription newspapers continue to have the highest reach compared to newspapers bought at newsstands and national titles. These figures were published by Arbeitsgemeinschaft Media-Analyse (agma) in August last year.
According to the German Audit Bureau of Circulation (IVW), the number of daily newspapers sold, including Sunday editions and Sunday newspapers, continued to decline. The fourth quarter showed a decline of 4.1% compared to the same quarter of the previous year. By contrast, the industry is seeing double-digit growth rates for e-papers. Sales of electronic newspapers increased by 14% compared to 2017, and sales of general-interest magazines by 19%. Overall, e-papers account for an ever larger share of the total circulation. IVW reports that 1.39 million digital newspapers sold daily in the fourth quarter of 2018, which corresponds to about 9% of all copies sold.
The Deloitte study "Media Consumer Survey 2018" is also encouraging. According to the survey, the popularity of digital news offerings is noticeably increasing. 15% of respondents stated that they pay for a paid content offer at least once a week – either as an e-paper, as a paid subscription or in digital retail sales. The management consultancy has also determined that e-papers are of particular interest to younger magazine readers. Almost one in two between the ages of 25 and 35 stated that they read a magazine e-paper at least once a week.
With regard to political pressure and influence as well as specific incidents of violence against journalists, 2018 brought little relief overall. According to Reporters Without Borders, at least 80 journalists were killed worldwide – 49 of them deliberately because of their journalistic activities. In December 2018, a total of 348 journalists were imprisoned worldwide. The murder of the Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which caused outrage throughout the world, can also be described as extremely worrying.
At the same time, the permanent attacks by US President Donald Trump on the press have further escalated. Trump regularly denounces media representatives as "enemies of the people" and thus fuels social tensions in the country. The withdrawal of the press accreditation of CNN reporter Jim Acosta by the White House made international headlines and was representative of the Trump Administration's dealings with the media.
In Europe, the situation in Turkey in particular remains critical for the media and journalists. Around 150 journalists are reported to have been imprisoned there in the course of the year. Worrying developments can also be observed in Hungary, where a large number of the country's media companies are controlled by a foundation close to the government. There are also tensions between the free media and the ruling party PiS in neighbouring Poland.
But the situation for the reporters has also deteriorated in Germany – especially in light of the events in Chemnitz in August 2018. There, media representatives, including dpa photographers, were physically attacked and insulted without being able to rely on the appropriate protection from the security forces. In addition to individual protective measures and crisis training for the dpa employees concerned, the dpa supervisory board decided on a resolution whereby the board demanded that free reporting in Germany be maintained.