Two years into the pandemic – print media is booming across Europe

Mike Richards

Director of Capital City Media Mike Richards takes a grand tour of European media and looks at how print has fared during the pandemic.

Two-years ago the acronym WFH wouldn’t have been used as much as WTF or VPL; two years on, while things are slowly getting back to normal, I’m looking at what’s happened in that time to Europe’s mainstream, quality media.  

In between learning what a podcast is and actually noticing flora and fauna where you live (megafauna if you live in Plymouth) rather than driving past it, what have we been looking at and/or reading these past 24-months?

So, no carbon footprint here, as we go on a modern-day virtual Grand Tour – only without a portmanteau or three.

Before we leave our sceptred isle, closer to home we witness the success during these times of the FT. Worldwide circulation of the paper is up 29.3% since December 2020. The UK FT Weekend sales continue each month to build on their circulations and the e-paper sales also continue to rise.

The FT has seen similar growth globally, not just in the UK or EMEA. impressions have grown 53% over this period we’re looking at and unique users up 40% - more people looking at the site more frequently.  

Getting a virtual overnight ferry to Gothenburg, in Sweden, there was a 60% hike in traffic on Dagens Industri’s website and in print form. People were spending 10% more time reading each issue, as its circulation also increased.  

The Berkingske brand, a leading quality paper in Denmark, saw its paying subscribers go over 100,000. One of the factors being a very credible blog about the coronavirus(which is, despite Denmark being open again, is still running) showing the credibility of quality journalism.

In Norway, the financial brand, Finansavisen, having had an almost imperceptibly slow decline in recent years, witnessed their print readership, suddenly shooting up and continuing to rise.

Finland is the only country in northern Europe not to see its quality media gain readers/subscriptions – might be because Sibelius isn’t writing his weekly music column anymore?

In Belgium, the two financial dailies, De Tijd and L’Echo, have seen their subscriptions rise steadily since 2014 with significant jumps in 2020 and 2021.  They anticipated having doubled their subscription base within a decade.

In nearby Netherlands their financial daily, Het Financieele Dagblad, has increased its visits to its website,, by 13% and their reach of B2B financial intermediaries has also increased – by 25%.  

In Switzerland, the top-quality news outlet, NZZ, has also seen a 25% rise in visits to their media offerings, most of this is through subs to

Print has remained stable and has always been a strong medium in Switzerland so no real surprise this hasn’t grown, it would have been strong to start with.

Il Sole 24 Ore is Italy’s equivalent to the FT. They have undertaken in-depth research on their readers. Their online site has seen significant growth numbers with a 71%increase of people reading about news; 43% more reading about books and reading of newspapers and magazines generally is up 35%.  

Reuters in Italy produced a survey which showed that Il Sole was the leading newspaper for credibility within Italian readers. Corriere della Sera remains the newspaper with the highest circulation

To the biggest economy in Europe and home to Füssball Gott Thomas Müller, two of the leading quality print titles – FAZ and Süddeutsche Zeitung have shown increase both in print circulation and online usage and Die Zeit, launched in 1946, continues to regularly increase its subscriptions.  

In a report by Reuters in Germany, it shows that there has been a massive increase in the trust of its readers to the output of the print media in Germany. From this research the order of the different media available in Germany for truthful news is: radio; TV; daily German newspapers; international media.  

Instagram is bottom and what the Germans call “Boulevardpresse” (red tops in the UK) second to last. So, if you want the latest, factual Bundesliga transfer news, don’t go to BILD!

So that’s it: a whistle top tour without Michael Portillo’s Bradshaw’s Guide, showing that quality journalism has been the go-to place for most Europeans and, if you’re a company where branding is important, this is a strong message highlighting the best publisher brands for your products and services to be seen in and aligned with.

And as they say in any zoo in Bavaria, Auf Wiedersehen, pet.