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“The ‘FR’ has become smaller but stronger”



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“The ‘FR’ has become smaller but stronger”


In the spring of 2007, the “Frankfurter Rundschau” was published in tabloid format for the first time. The conversion was considered daring, but the experiences are encouraging, as editor-in-chief Uwe Vorkötter emphasizes in an interview with absatzwirtschaft.

What is your interim balance about nine months after the format change at “FR”?

Uwe Vorkötter: The experiment was a success. For the first time in ten years, the “Frankfurter Rundschau” sold more newspapers in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2007 than in the previous quarter. This means that the long-term trend of falling circulation has come to an end. I’m sure that wouldn’t have been possible in the old format. In short: The “FR” is smaller today, but stronger.

Experience has shown that every relaunch initially costs readers. How many subscribers has the “FR” lost?

Vorkötter: We analyzed that very carefully. Around 1,500 terminations are related to the changeover, according to inquiries from those who have canceled. The majority of these are long-term subscribers, i.e. tend to be older readers.

The distribution area of ​​the “FR” is distributed approximately one third each between the city of Frankfurt, the surrounding Rhine-Main region and the rest of Germany. Where is the most movement in the edition?

Vorkötter: Definitely for national readers. Here we observe the strongest exchange, ie the number of canceling and new subscribers is the highest. I am assuming that the “FR” will grow most strongly in the national market in the medium term.

While you were remodeling “FR”, other national newspapers invested heavily in the Internet. Are you losing touch?

Vorkötter: Online is rightly a big topic – for us too. But we initially concentrated on the print relaunch. In 2008 we will deal intensively with online.

That sounds very vague.

Vorkötter: There isn’t a finished concept yet. We consider in which direction we should march and which priorities we should set. A crucial question is of course: How can we increase our online reach?

Despite the successful revival, the “FR” is far from being considered healthy. Are there enough reserves to set real accents on the Internet?

Vorkötter: It is correct that the “FR” is still in the renovation phase. However, it is clear to the shareholders that the expansion of online activities requires investments in technology and personnel.

Max Bücker conducted the interview.
You can read the detailed interview with Uwe Vorkötter in the 2/2008 issue of absatzwirtschaft.