Online advertising and new content fees have helped Europe’s largest news publisher become the latest to reach a print-to-digital tipping point. But Axel Springer also warns this digital growth is jeopardised by mobile apps competition from publicly-funded rivals.
Warner Music Group (NYSE: WMG) and Future Publishing (LSE: FUTR) were amongst those to reach the same tipping point in Q4, as digital gains begins to offset decline across the industry. Through 2011, Axel Springer’s digital revenue rose 35 percent to €962.1 million, while digital profit rocketed 84 percent to €158.1 million.
Axel Springer publishes the highest-circulation English-language newspaper in the west, Germany’s Bild, as well as Die Welt. And it has moved rapidly in to online services, including the Hamburg.de, Gamigo.de, Motortalk.de, Auto.cz, Students.cz, AuFeminin, OnMeda.de and FondsDiscount.de, classified sites like CarWale.
It led the second paid content wave in 2009 when, ahead even of News Corp. (NSDQ: NWS) it introduced content fees for mobile apps,. Now it has 35 paid mobile apps, 24 paid tablet apps and has introduced web fees for several of its news and magazine titles, along with a recently-introduced tablet aggregators for its titles, iKiosk and MyEdition.
And the company is concerned about “the expansion of state-owned TV stations into the internet”…