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Which megatrends are influencing publishers? How sustainable is the industry? Our study provides the answers.

Publishers have a unique role and responsibility in our society, as they convey information, attitudes and values. As important multipliers, they play a key role in shaping public debates. On the other hand, publishers are also companies and are subject to market principles and regulations. 

What challenges and fields of action does this pose for media companies? For our annual "Publishing trends" study, we asked 117 publishers from Germany how they prioritise their activities.

Demographic change and artificial intelligence take centre stage in the publishing industry

In the first part of the study, we focus on the importance of selected megatrends such as artificial intelligence, demographic change and new work, as well as the strategic priorities of publishers. Almost all of the megatrends surveyed have gained in importance compared to the 2022 survey.

For example, demographic change is of great or even existential importance for 85 per cent of the publishers surveyed, as it is changing reading habits and preferences. 

78 per cent of the publishers surveyed consider automation, such as robotics or artificial intelligence, to be an important trend in the publishing industry. In addition, 75 per cent of respondents state that threats to corporate security, such as data misuse or hacker attacks, are a risk to the publishing business.

Focus topic: Own assessments of sustainability are deceptive

In the second part of the publication, we focus on the topic of sustainability. We ask: Where does the German publishing industry stand on this topic of the future and where is there still a need for action? 

The analysis shows that many publishers have taken measures in recent years to improve their ESG aspects. But there is still room for improvement: Only 46 per cent of the publishers surveyed have a clear sustainability strategy and for just 41 per cent, sustainability is an important part of employee training and development. Extensive reporting along the ESG dimensions is also only practised by around 20 per cent.

Quick action is needed here. Publishers are required to respond to changing customer needs, fulfil their social responsibility and implement regulatory guidelines.

The study is a co-operation between KPMG and MVFP Medienverband der freien Presse e.V.