Quality EU financial and traditional media buck the trend as readers snap up print editions across Europe

Mike Richards

High quality print media in Germany, France, Italy, The Netherlands and Switzerland are bucking the downward trend which has afflicted many peers in other parts of the world, says Mike Richards, director at Capital City Media.

In my last piece I wrote about the resurgence of UK national press media usage and that, if you’re a paper boy or girl, your job’s safe for a year or two yet.

This time I’m metaphorically going across the channel (La Manche if you’re a Les Echos reader or der englische Kanal if you’re tucking into today’s Bild) to see how their quality media is faring in these unprecedented times. Spoiler alert: bon; gut and prima.

In Germany: Die Zeit, a daily newspaper published in Berlin and similar to the UK’s Telegraph or The Times, has recorded its highest circulation since its launch in 1946 and has increased 6% from the end of June until September.

Handelsblatt, a weekday daily with content similar to the FT, has also grown its audience 5% over the same time period and Wirtschaftswoche, a weekly magazine like the Economist, is up, again. In June - September it was up 10%.

All these are print titles, so if you think your job as a paperboy or girl is in jeopardy in the UK, moving to Berlin might be an idea.

If you’re a journalist who believes they are writing quality material, then Milan is the destination for you. In Italy Corriere della Sera (again, like the UK’s Telegraph/Times) is the 4th most popular medium for people seeking news coverage.

The top three are social media sites, but people in Italy are gravitating more and more towards quality media to consume their news rather than social media where they believe a lot of fake news persists.

In la belle France their FT equivalent, Les Echos, has seen its print and online readers rise by 40% year on year. In August they had 6.9 million unique users, a record for them.

And in the land the Von Trapps escaped to: Monday to Saturday editions of the quality newspaper NZZ, published in Zürich but serving all of German-speaking Switzerland, has gained readers in the past six months, as has their sister publication, NZZ Sonntag.

Handelszeitung, the weekly financial newspaper, has also recorded readership gains in the past six months. Given that Switzerland had the highest inflows of investment funds in September across EMEA, this makes this even more relevant with their population’s media habits.

From the country which gave us tulips, Van Der Valk and Arjen Robben: FD - the Dutch equivalent to the FT - has seen its performance of delivering top-class financial journalism rewarded in the annual readership survey undertaken in the Netherlands.

Their readers are over 3.5 times more likely to be involved within financial services, higher than any other Dutch medium. It also has the highest propensity to have the top social class in the Netherlands (AB1) than any other newspaper within their readership, which has risen 8.2% since January.

The sister website, fd.nl, has consistently, since January, added to their viewers and with this an increase in page traffic of 39%. All this shows the resilience of the FD media offering throughout the crisis.

So, for those of you who thought print was dead/mort/tot, time to re-evaluate.