That is why newspapers in southern European countries are hardest hit by revenue lost from classifieds and advertising. A decade ago, newspaper sales accounted for perhaps only one-third of revenue, while the rest came from ads and classifieds. Now, it is a 50-50 mix. Ten years ago, carmaker BMW regularly ran two-page ads in most newspapers in Germany. Now, the Bavarian company advertises in fewer papers and less often.
More significant for many papers in the last few years is the collapse in sales to classified ads as people switch to online portals to sell their cars, find apartments, and search for jobs. Those big, fat sections in weekend papers are still common in Europe, but not likely for long.
While searcing on the Web for an apartment has been the norm for years, it is new for jobs. For decades, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s want ads section has been the go-to place for job seekers. This year, the Frankfurt paper is faced with a deficit of around 15 million euros because of declining ads in its popular section, according to the Hamburger Abendblatt. FAZ officials confirmed that they were facing a loss this year but would not confirm a figure.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two continents is reader loyalty. When they go online, readers throughout Europe head to the digital version of their trusted newspaper, ENPA’s Cunningham said. Still, until their owners figure out how to make a profit from those mobile apps, each paper that folds means one less outlet that is hiring, according to Martin Hock, a financial journalist for the FAZ.
“Right now,” he said, “you have a huge numbers of highly skilled, highly qualified, well-educated people searching for jobs that aren’t going to appear any time soon.”