Annual Report 2017

The trend shown in the Edelman Trust Barometer is reinforced by the results of the "Media Confidence in Germany 2017" study, conducted by the University of Mainz. The study found that 17% of those surveyed had “no” or “absolutely no” trust in media reports about environmental problems, health dangers and political scandals. In 2016 that figure was still 22%.

As the leading German news agency, dpa is working continuously to strengthen citizens’ trust in quality journalism. For example, dpa supports the international “Trust Project,” which aims to make quality journalism more visible and identifiable online. Furthermore, dpa is part of the fact-check network “First Draft Coalition,” whose members help each other with verification and research.  

This means that Germany’s leading news agency is taking on an important role as a supplier of trustworthy reports, images, graphics and videos within the German and international media industry.

2. Business performance  

In 2017, dpa pressed ahead with numerous initiatives and projects and further expanded and strengthened its leading position in the news agency market. 

The newly organized international picture network, dpa-Bildfunk, has played a central role here. It has ensured that editorial teams have access to an improved and increasingly local supply of images. The separation from epa and the expansion of our own international network with around 35 partner agencies around the world has allowed dpa to provide a picture service that accurately and clearly meets the needs of customers. In principle, the wishes and needs of customers are at the center of any further development of dpa’s editorial services. That is particularly true of the “Profile Process,” which is designed to improve and optimize dpa’s various services, as well as the project “Performing Content,” which is focused on learning more about the actual use of digital dpa content by dpa customers and the end user, in order to deliver material that better meets their needs.  

Another project that is central to the news agency’s future is the “dpa-Connect” strategy, which was launched in 2017. Its aim is to create a digital exchange platform that offers all dpa customers easy access to dpa content and at the same time provides new opportunities for integrating the content of external partners. With its Connect strategy, dpa underlines how important customers from companies, organizations and institutions, as well as media customers, are to the agency.  

Furthermore, dpa has invested in many areas to improve quality and further development. In 2017 it created the post of verification officer, who is tasked with identifying fake and false news and anchoring the necessary skills and tools within the dpa editorial teams to deal with it. In addition, dpa has used various event formats to maintain an intensive exchange with its customers. That includes the editor-in-chiefs conference, which proved tremendously popular once again in 2017, as well as hackathons, several conferences held by individual departments, and the dpa infographics award, which many German media companies participated in. In addition, dpa takes an active role in many future-orientated industry events such as the Scoopcamp, which focuses on innovative digital storytelling.  

The company’s subsidiaries and holdings have also played an important role in the innovation process and further development of dpa services. For example, the acquisition of the Buzzrank monitoring service has made it possible to observe and evaluate the development of issues on social networks. The record result of dpa-infocom shows that dpa has understood how to harness the digital transformation and build profitable business models. This is also clear from the fact that the dpa-initiated next media accelerator (nma) entered a new phase in 2017 with greater financial resources and an expanded group of investors. nma, which helps promote media-related startups, has proved a strong innovation partner for dpa’s partners and customers.  

The 10th anniversary celebration of the popular children's news service in 2017 was further evidence of dpa's ability to sustain its market success in the long term with new and innovative services. It is and will remain a core concern of dpa to familiarize children and adolescents with quality media and to provide them with intensive support in the development of their media literacy. 

3. Position 

Earnings performance 

At 93.6 million euros (previous year: 94.0 million euros), the turnover of the German Press Agency has remained almost constant. The decline of 0.4 million euro, equivalent of –0.5%, is very moderate when viewed in the context of the above-mentioned general circulation decline in newspapers. In addition to the foreseeable decline in revenues at the dpa basic service and the national services, due to the continued decline in circulation figures, foreign-language services were also unable to match the sales level of the previous year. Here, the Arabic and English services were increasingly affected by the persistent crisis throughout the Middle East region, which forced various customers to either lower their costs or terminate services altogether. There was unfortunately no sign of a turnaround here.