Hubert Burda Media – key figures

2021 was the strongest financial year in Hubert Burda Media’s history

  • €2.945 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2021 (+6%)
  • Continued strong growth of 10% in the consumer-oriented digital business
  • Successful transformation of the publishing business in Germany
  • Expansion of international investment portfolio

Hubert Burda Media is looking back on the best financial year in its company history: In 2021, the Burda Group generated over €2.9 billion in revenue from roughly 500 products in Germany and 13 other countries. The Group employed approximately 10,500 people at the end of 2021. This positive development is due primarily to strong growth in the digital business and the successful transformation of the publishing business in Germany and abroad. Burda’s international investment arm, which provides long-term growth capital for fast-growing technology and media companies, also expanded its portfolio to include 25 active participating interests as of the end of 2021.

Despite major challenges resulting from the Russian war of aggression and skyrocketing costs for raw materials, energy, and logistics, Hubert Burda Media’s Board is optimistic about the current financial year. CEO Martin Weiss comments: “With its diversified businesses in Germany and around the world, Burda is exceptionally well-positioned – and its products are firmly anchored in people’s everyday lives. Given these firm foundations, we have the entrepreneurial, creative and financial resources needed to power acquisitions and innovations, and we plan to leverage that.”

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BurdaDruck: among Europe’s leading printing companies

The BurdaDruck Group specializes in the production of high-quality magazines, catalogs, and advertising material in high-volume gravure printing, and in all services necessary for that area. With locations in Offenburg, Nuremberg, and Vieux-Thann (France), it is one of Europe’s largest printing companies. BurdaDruck’s gravure printing revenue totaled €140 million in 2021. Despite an ongoing market decline, the Group’s sales revenue was slightly higher than the previous year.

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Strong publishing business in Germany

In 2021, BurdaVerlag published a total of 155 regularly appearing publications and around 100 digital offerings. BurdaVerlag operates a variety of business models that deliver long-term profitability and generated €721 million in the past year together with the C3 content marketing agency. In order to further grow its core journalistic business, in early 2021 Burda bundled all of its publishing activities in Germany into the BurdaVerlag integrated publishing unit.

Activities in the health area were once again a subject of special focus in 2021. Health Lab by Burda has become one of the most prestigious industry events in the German healthcare market. The "Pharmacy Pact for the Future" alliance launched with Noweda Apothekengenossenschaft eG is working with its partners to advance the creation of a comprehensive, digitally networked health infrastructure. After the successful acquisition of the Austrian and Swiss Netdoktor domains in February 2021, the Netdoktor brand is the largest German-language provider of digital health information in the Germany-Austria-Switzerland region. In the food segment, BurdaVerlag is one of Germany's biggest media providers and the market leader in copies sold for print titles. The same is true for the fashion & lifestyle and garden & living segments. Likewise, BurdaVerlag is one of the strongest providers of entertainment and women's magazines. 

The Publishing Kids unit includes children's magazine publisher Blue Ocean Entertainment in Stuttgart and is the undisputed market leader for children's magazines in the German-speaking world. Its market share grew again last year and now represents around 50 percent of sales revenue in the segment.

C3 very well positioned in content marketing

In 2021, Burda increased its shareholding in the digital marketing service provider C3, which also belongs to the National Media Brands division, to 100 percent. This agency was founded in 2014 as a joint venture resulting from the merger of KircherBurkhardt (Berlin) and Burda Creative Group (Munich). C3 had transitioned to a new agency model at the end of 2018 and precisely configured its agile interdisciplinary project teams to meet customers’ needs. This model was continuously refined and proved successful again during the pandemic in 2021.

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Digital business comprises 58 percent of revenue

The Digital Brands division generated sales of €1.701 billion in 2021, which represents a gain of 10 percent over the previous year. Thus, this division generated around 58 percent of total revenue. In 2021, New Work SE’s business with strong brands including Xing and Kununu grew as a result of the ongoing recovery in the job market and a once-again increasing shortage of skilled workers. Around 20 million members in the Germany-Austria-Switzerland region used Xing, the professional network for the modern working world, in 2021.

In a market that continues to be characterized by high competitive pressure, the e-commerce companies Cyberport and Computeruniverse were able to achieve slight revenue growth again in 2021. Through the acquisition of two IT services companies, Cyberport has also expanded its business model to offer its many customers not only hardware and software but also corresponding IT services in the future. Nebenan.de, a majority shareholding of Hubert Burda Media since 2020 and Germany's largest neighborhood network with more than 2 million addressed-verified users, saw continued strong user growth in 2021 and significantly increased its revenue as well. In addition, there was a special focus both on the social impact and on promoting neighborliness through Nebenan.de.

In 2021, HolidayCheck Group AG was once again impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the global travel warnings and restrictions that came with it. Nevertheless, it significantly increased revenue compared to 2020 with new offerings and became profitable again despite lockdowns.

On its transformation journey, digital publisher BurdaForward further expanded its network of publishing partners, external authors, and experts in 2021. Since January 2021, BurdaForward’s portfolio has also included Bunte, TV Spielfilm, TV Today, Cinema, and Fit For Fun digital offerings in addition to brands such as Focus.de and Chip.de. With these offerings, BurdaForward reaches around 41 million users per month, and accordingly around 67 percent of internet users in Germany. In 2021, BurdaForward developed the Constructive Score, a new metric that uses artificial intelligence to measure the effectiveness of an editorial contribution. This metric helps colleagues to create journalistic content in a more solution-oriented way in their everyday editorial activities.

Successful investment business 

With its international focus, BurdaPrincipal Investments provides long-term growth capital for fast-growing technology and media companies. In 2021, it made further investments in Germany, Great Britain, and Southeast Asia, as well as in France and the Philippines for the first time.  These include the food startup Oddbox, German startup Felmo in the animal health sector, as well as an initial foray into the cybersecurity sector with US-based Expel. PropTech startup Matera from France and Asia-based FinTech company BillEase, which provides short-term loans to consumers, also joined the portfolio.
 

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International Media Brands: international publishing activities

Burda’s foreign activities that are included in the International Media Brands division are concentrated primarily in Great Britain, continental Europe, and Asia. In addition to escalating online activities in all markets in 2021, Burda and its partner publishers published a total of 171 magazines outside of Germany. With 159 magazines, Europe continues to be the most important region by far.

In 2021, external sales of the International Media Brands division totaled €372 million and thus exceeded the previous year’s level. The international publishing business is currently organized into four independent subdivisions: Immediate Media, Publishing Europe, Burda Luxury and Burda Create!.

Most of the sales revenue in 2021 can once again be traced back to Immediate Media, a platform for the magazine business as well as the digital consumer market in Great Britain, which continued to pursue its course as an innovative platform company. Revenue for the online brands grew successfully in 2021. The print business recovered in comparison to the previous year, which was weaker due to the pandemic. This recovery was largely driven by the Radio Times, by far the most important title in Immediate Media’s portfolio.

A majority shareholding was acquired in the company which operates the online beauty product retailer Cocolita, as part of the strategic focus on B2C business models in the digital sector in Poland. At the end of Q1 2022, BurdaInternational also completed the acquisition of the media business of Switzerland's Edipresse Group in Poland, which includes a total of 13 titles in its portfolio. In France, new titles were successfully placed on the market.

Burda Luxury, a unit active in Asian countries, was heavily impacted by the pandemic in 2021 as well. None of the print, digital, event or custom-publishing activities developed as planned. Nevertheless, Burda Luxury was able to extend its reach and increase revenue in the digital business.

Activities in the area of crafting that build on the tradition of the Burda Style brand and that have also been expanding in recent years due to acquisitions in Scandinavia have been brought together in the Burda Create! subdivision. The magazine licensing business grew, with a new partner in Serbia joining and other partners adding additional Burda Create! titles to their portfolio.

Outlook and key growth fields

Burda will continue to exploit synergies within its individual companies in 2022 to take full advantage of its growth opportunities in the areas of data, technology, marketing, content creation, and monetization in particular.

Further expansion of the business model of Germany's largest neighborhood network, Nebenan.de, is also yielding promising opportunities. The first implementation in 2021 included advertising opportunities for hyperlocal retailers, service providers, and businesses (geo-marketing). The HolidayCheck Group AG used 2021 to implement restructuring and cost-saving measures and aims to profit greatly from expected steep increases in travel through new offerings, including as a tour operator.

Burda sees especially good opportunities for growth in the media market in Poland. It acquired the Cocolita e-commerce platform there in 2021. This should create new cross-media consumer offerings, especially in the areas of fashion and beauty.

Hubert Burda Media continues to work consistently on digital transformation and on building and expanding new business models in 2022. It anticipates a slight increase in sales revenue – not taking into consideration the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war and rising costs for energy and raw materials. If there are favorable opportunities, Burda will continue to invest and acquire new participating interests.

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Environment and sustainability at Burda

Sustainability and protecting the environment have been very important at Hubert Burda Media since the 1990s. For years, many segments within the Group have been pursuing the objective of working in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner that exceeds the established standards. These activities have focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and regenerating resources. Involving external business partners in the Group’s sustainability strategy is key here.

Detailed overviews have been generated for the years 2019 and 2020 for the purpose of showing Hubert Burda Media’s carbon emissions. These carbon footprints include the emissions of all German companies that are wholly owned by the Group. The survey of greenhouse gas emissions for 2021 will be concluded by mid-2022. The plan for 2022 is to expand the scope of the survey to all domestic and international companies in which the Group holds the majority of shares.

Concrete steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are derived and implemented from benchmarking and best practice measures. These measures focus on the areas of energy, resources, mobility and internal communication.

Hubert Burda Media is aiming to compensate for all CO2 emissions in scope 1 & 2 in the future – i.e., emissions that are either directly created during production or indirectly created by the amount of energy used that cannot be reduced despite all implemented measures. Burda is already investing in local projects to promote regenerative agriculture as part of this compensation strategy. As a media company, Hubert Burda Media is aware of its special responsibility to be a role model for sustainable and environmentally responsible business activities. In this connection, the Group also uses the reach of its brands to educate people about sustainability topics.

One key business segment is BurdaDruck, which naturally generates a large portion of the COemissions. For that reason, one of BurdaDruck’s core concerns for many years has been manufacturing its products in the most environmentally friendly way possible while ensuring high quality at the same time. Participation in the European Eco Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) obligates BurdaDruck to continuously improve its environmental performance, and the segment has made a substantial contribution to environmental protection and sustainability for decades. 

The most important resource by far for the printing process is paper. Since 2020, 100 percent of the paper purchased by BurdaDruck and largely delivered by train has been certified by FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council) or PEFC™ (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes). Print products from BurdaDruck are also produced in accordance with the criteria of the EU Ecolabel. Because of its participation in the climate initiative of the German Printing and Media Industries Federation, BurdaDruck can use the professionally respected, Federation-developed CO2 calculator to determine the carbon footprint of printing orders for its customers. As a ClimatePartner member, BurdaDruck can fulfill orders through investments in CO2-compensated climate projects.

Hubert Burda Media – sales revenue development

  2020 2021 Change
  € million in % € million in % ACTUAL (in %)
Digital Brands 1,541.6 55.6 1,700.6 57.8 10.3
National Media Brands 736.0 26.5 721.4 24.5 -2.0
International Media Brands 348.4 12.6 372.3 12.6 6.9
Print 135.8 4.9 139.8 4.7 2.9
Other 12.7 0.4 10.5 0.4 -16.9
Sales revenue 2,774.5 100.0 2,944.6 100.0 6.1

 

Contact:
 presse@burda.com