Media and culture in Germany - cities

A plot point in the film The Lives of Others related to the fact that there was a Stasi spy working at Der Spiegel. This got me wondering whether the magazine was published in West Berlin.

According to Wikpedia, it’s published in Hamburg. FOCUS, meanwhile, is out of Munich. Stern’s HQ was not listed. Is publishing and other media focussed in just one or two cities in Germany (as is the case in every other country I can think of), or is it more dispersed as my initial research seems to show?

Hamburg is definitely one of the media publishing centers in Germany. About half the national print media in Germany are published there, iirc. This includes Stern, btw. I seem to recall that several broadcasters produce shows there, too. I don’t know in what order other cities come after that, but my guess would be that Munich is in second place.

Hamburg is the magazine capital of Germany, with publications like Der Spiegel or stern (the one with the Hitler diaries) being published there. There’s a number of important daily papers in other cities, most importantly the Sueddeutsche Zeitung in Munich, or the Frankfurter Allgemeine and the Frankfurter Rundschau in Frankfurt. Another important daily, Die Welt, is headquartered in Hamburg, and the tabloid Bild is in Berlin, together with the broadsheet Tagesspiegel and the left-wing Tageszeitung.
With regards to television, Hamburg’s role is less important than it is in print, although Germany’s most popular news program, Tagesschau, is produced there. Cologne is an important center, with two of the largest stations (RTL and WDR). A number of smaller, but still important, TV stations, especially private ones, is headquartered in Munich.
The advertisement and public relations industry definitely has its center in Duesseldorf.

All in all, I’d say the German media sector is less centralized than in many other countries, but there’s a handful of cities where news companies tend to cluster. This is for historical reasons; after 1949, West Germany did not really have a true capital, as Bonn, where the government was located, was seen as a rather provisional measure and remained a rather small and unhurried provincial town. After reunification, most media acquired offices or studios in the new capital Berlin, but chose not to shift their HQ there.

What about book publishing, and radio?

Regarding radio, it is important to keep in mind that Germany has a dual system of broadcasters (both TV and radio): There are private stations which generate revenues from commercials, and there are semi-public authorities which operate TV and radio stations. These were set up by the states (there is no federal competence in broadcasting), are governed by independent administrative boards and funded by a combination of broadcasting ads and collecting license fees which every owner of a TV or radio set has to pay.

All in all, there are nine such authorities in Germany (there are 16 states, but several states have decided to set up a common authority for their territories). Each one of these operates at least one TV channel and a variety, usually about five, radio stations. Hence, there is quite a large number of regional centers of radio broadcasting; the largest of these bodies are the WDR in the Western states of Germany, headquartered in Cologne, and the BR in Bavaria, headquartered in Munich.

Private radio stations usually don’t operate on the federal level either, but serve regional sectors.

Book publishing is much more centralized. There’s a variety of publishing companies, but most of them have been taken over by large media corporations. The most important ones are Bertelsmann in Guetersloh (an otherwise rather unimportant town in the North East of Cologne), Holtzbrinck in Stuttgart in the South West, Springer in Berlin, and dtv in Munich.