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Media and communication

Germany boasts a free and broadly representative media world. Over the past few years, digitisation has significantly changed the way people utilise the media.

Smartphone user
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Insight

Guaranteed freedom of the press

Reporter und Journalisten
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The freedom of the press and freedom of expression are among the nation’s most important basic principles.
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1945
1945
1945
dpa
1945
After the end of Nazi rule, in Germany initially newspapers may only appear under Allied licence. In the US zone of occupation the first licence is awarded on 1 August 1945 to the Frankfurter Rundschau.
1950
1950
1950
ARD
1950
The six West German broadcasting houses agree in Bremen to join forces to form the “Arbeitsgemeinschaft der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland,” or ARD broadcaster.
1984
1984
1984
dpa
1984
In Ludwigshafen the Programm-gesellschaft für Kabel- und Satellitenrundfunk, or PKS for short, starts broadcasting. This marks the birth of private TV channels in Germany.
1995
1995
1995
taz.de/Sabine Sauer
1995
The first German newspaper, namely the leftist/liberal taz, goes online only six years after the foundation of the World Wide Web. After its go-live, the membership of the digitaz community surges.
1997
1997
1997
Claudia Paulussen/stock.adobe.com
1997
About 4.1 million German citizens over the age of 14 use the new online access channels at least occasionally. In 2014, the figure rises to around 55.6 million, or 79.1 percent of the over-14s in Germany.
2020
2020
2020
PhotoPlus+/stock.adobe.com
2020
Around 38 million users are active on social media in Germany, most of them on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. Virtually all German media companies are now represented in the social networks, too.
Overview

The media sector

Around 63 million people in Germany are online, and daily newspapers are increasing their digital reach, too. In terms of media usage, however, television and radio continue to play the biggest role.

Fernsehprogramme auf Bildschirmen
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Radio and television

The extremely wide-ranging media in Germany are organised according to the dual principle of public-sector and private broadcasters.

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Zeitschriften
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Newspapers and magazines

Thanks to their digital editions, newspapers are seeing ever greater circulation, although the number of printed copies sold continues to fall.

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SoMe
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Digital media

The Internet is fundamentally changing the media landscape in Germany too.

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Daily media usage for the Internet, 2019

Source: ARD/ZDF online study 2019

Media time usage by individual medium, 2019

Source: Various studies, compiled by Vaunet