Baden-Württemberg’s Diverse Media Landscape

Baden-Württemberg is home to international media companies, established publishing houses and the second biggest broadcasting station in Germany’s ARD network. The European Cluster Observatory in Stockholm rates the Stuttgart region as among Europe’s strong clusters in the media and publishing sector with 1,201 businesses and 21,381 employees. The excellent reputation of Baden-Württemberg’s training institutions (>> see Education & Research section) attracts media talent from all over Europe, and a vibrant film and digital media scene has grown up alongside the established media companies. Creative individuals in this new scene know exactly how to leverage the available media production expertise, along with innovative solutions borrowed from the IT and creative industries (>> see Information Technologies section and >> Creative Industries sections).

Media companies: names of distinction

Diagram: top 10 media companies in Baden-Württemberg Georg von Holtzbrinck publishing is the top revenue-generating media company (picture: Horizont).

23 of Germany’s 100 largest media companies are based in Baden-Württemberg, according to trade journal Horizont. Their combined yearly turnover in 2009 was some 10 billion euros. The top revenue-generating media company by far is the Georg von Holtzbrinck publishing group, owner of social networking platforms studiVZ and schülerVZ as well as a number of daily newspapers and book publishers. Hubert Burda Media also ranks among Germany’s ten largest media companies, capturing the attention of high-profile international figures with its annual BAMBI awards (since 1948).

The Baden-Württemberg top 10 also includes several specialised media companies. Many of the specialist publishers are making their name on the Internet with radically new business models, e.g. by offering sample contracts to buy and download, special interest portals or e-learning services.

Furthermore, the south of the region is home to one of the most important media analysis studies, used by communication and advertising departments throughout Germany as the basis for their planning – the Allensbach market and advertising medium analysis study, AWA.

Print: a long-established industry undergoing major change

Diagram: market segments in the cultural and creative industries in Baden-Württemberg. Market segments in the cultural and creative industries (picture: BW Regional Statistical Office).

Baden-Württemberg’s newspaper market is characterised by independence and variety. No other region of Germany boasts as many publishers, with 48 daily newspaper publishers based in Baden-Württemberg. The region is typified by medium-sized local newspapers with a circulation of between 10,000 and 25,000, according to the Association of Southwest German Newspaper Publishers (VSZV). Five publishers have a paid circulation of more than 125,000 – first and foremost the Schwäbische Zeitung, followed by the Badische Zeitung, the Stuttgarter Zeitung, the Südkurier, and Südwest Presse.

According to the Association of German Publishers and Booksellers, the region’s 500 or so book publishers are responsible for around 18% of the total turnover generated by all book publishers in Germany (figures for 2008). The regional Economics Ministry’s 2010 Data Report on the cultural and creative industries in Baden-Württemberg indicates that approximately 30% of total turnover in the cultural and creative industries was generated by the book and press market in 2008.

The highly diverse nature of the publishing sector helps ensure that the printing industry is well positioned in the region, despite structural changes and digitisation leading to declining revenues worldwide. The industry has a particularly long history in Baden-Württemberg. In 1896, the forerunner of the Heidelberger Druckmaschinen printing press company was established. Today it is a leading international manufacturer of sheet fed offset printing presses with around 16,000 employees. In 1908, Hubert Burda’s grandfather founded a printing works in Offenburg, thereby laying the foundation for today’s successful media company. The printing industry meeting “druckforum”, held annually in Stuttgart, is Germany’s biggest printing industry event after the print trade show, drupa. Many printing companies have evolved into full service providers offering a range of different skills across the media spectrum, from gravure and offset printing to designing web applications.

Broadcasting: a varied programme landscape and extensive broadcasting network

Girl turns radio on. Many local and regional radio and television stations next to SWR (picture: RMS/Michael B. Rehders).

Südwestrundfunk (SWR) is the second largest broadcaster in the ARD network and responsible for the TV channels 3sat and ARTE, as well as for the digital factual and documentary channel EinsPlus and the Internet site. Nearly 15 million people live in the SWR regional broadcasting area. SWR is also able to reach viewers all over Germany via its contributions to the ARD joint programming channel “Das Erste” and the joint venture channels 3sat, ARTE, PHOENIX, KI.KA and ARD Digital. SWR’s radio programmes alone attract around seven million listeners every day.

As well as SWR, numerous local and regional radio and television stations cater for a range of tastes and opinions. They are monitored by the Regional Communication Institute (LFK), the independent public body which is also responsible for broadcasting frequencies.

Film: a thriving industry with huge innovation potential

Screenshot of a media application. Excerpt from "The Inner World" (picture: STUDIO FIZBIN).

While Baden-Württemberg is not a traditional film location, the region’s appeal has increased enormously in recent years. Broadcasting stations, production facilities, educational institutions and strong links with the IT and creative industries all create a climate in which filmmakers can thrive. A major contributor to the region’s good reputation in the industry is the Baden-Württemberg Film Academy with its Institute for Animation, Visual Effects and Digital Postproduction, whose students win awards at film festivals all over the world.

This positive development is supported by the commitment of MFG Baden-Württemberg, founded in 1995, which works closely with the Film Academy. With a current annual budget of some 15 million euros, MFG Film Funding focuses on supporting high quality cinema and television productions. MFG Film Funding and MFG Media Development are providing resources totalling 500,000 euros per year for the development of film-related media applications with interactive content as part of the Digital Content Funding (DCF) support programme, which was relaunched in 2011.

Two essential ports of call for filmmakers are Filmbüro Baden-Württemberg, an organisation representing the interests of filmmakers which was founded in 1982 and is based in the Filmhaus Stuttgart centre, and the Film Commission Region Stuttgart, plus other location offices throughout Baden-Württemberg. They offer advice and assistance on filming locations and filming permits and can provide the details of specialist experts and service providers in each location.

Competitions and festivals for the media industry

Burda board member Philipp Welte at the DMMK. Burda board member Philipp Welte at the DMMK (picture: textbar).

Anyone visiting one of the numerous film festivals in the region is certain to be impressed by the dynamism of the industry, particularly at the Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film, which attracts animation artists and producers from all over the world and whose organisers receive over 1,800 submissions from more than 40 countries each year.

The annual FMX Conference on Animation, Effects, Games and Interactive Media is a perfect example of how designers and producers from the Baden-Württemberg film industry and experts, upcoming new talent and researchers from related disciplines succeed in inspiring and encouraging each other. Another key event, the German Multimedia Summit (DMMK), brings together leading media designers from different disciplines and regions of Germany to discuss strategies for the digital environment.

Award ceremonies that attract widespread attention throughout Germany include the DMMA OnlineStar, one of the most sought-after creative prizes for outstanding online advertising in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and the German Media Prize for individuals who shape contemporary history.

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Diagram: top 10 media companies in Baden-Württemberg

Georg von Holtzbrinck publishing is the top revenue-generating media company (picture: Horizont).

Diagram: market segments in the cultural and creative industries in Baden-Württemberg.

Market segments in the cultural and creative industries (picture: BW Regional Statistical Office).

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Robert Gehring
Robert Gehring

Head of Project Team
Media Literacy/Online
Phone +49 711 90715-322