The internet in general and news portals in particular are becoming increasingly popular in Germany. According to the German Association for Information Management, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM), the 20 most used news portals were visited almost 3.6 billion times over the first nine months this year which is an increase by 31% as compared to the same period in 2007.
“The internet is the fastest medium. In addition, the journalistic web contents is constantly improving. As a consequence, an ever growing number of people inform themselves over the internet”, says Mr. Achim Berg who is vice president of BITKOM. News portals publish important news immediately and not the next day or in the next edition of a news programme on TV. Online reports can be updated over and over again.
At the same time, for the first time in many years Germans spend less time in front of TV. While in 2006 they switched on their TVs for on average period of 212 minutes every day, this figure fell to 208 minutes in 2007.
The leading news portal is still Spiegel Online. The most successful German news portal attracted almost 89 million visitors each month in the third quarter of 2008. Runner-up was Bild.de which caught up significantly after its relaunch at the end of 2007.
One of the shooting stars is Der Westen.de which belongs to the WAZ media group based in the Ruhr area. At the end of July Der Westen made it for the first time among the top 20, but lost ground again in September to business portals which were more frequently visitors in times of financial crisis.