Germany's Spiegel magazine to cut jobs, launch paywall

FRANKFURT, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Germany’s influential newsweekly Der Spiegel said on Tuesday it would shed around a fifth of its staff and start charging for some articles online as it tries to fight a decline in advertising and circulation.

One of Europe’s largest news magazines, Der Spiegel has a circulation of about 870,000. Known for its investigative reporting, it is seen as required reading for the German political, business and cultural elite.

It also runs a popular free news website, which includes some content from the magazine although most of the longer articles are only available in the print version, which can also be downloaded in full for a fee.

Germany is home to Europe’s largest print media market, but it - like the industry at large - has been suffering from falling advertising revenues and the reluctance of consumers to pay for print publications they can read mostly for free online.

That has caused a number of high-profile casualties, most notably that of business newspaper Financial Times Deutschland, which shut down in 2012.

The Hamburg-based Spiegel-Verlag, part of the Spiegel group that includes monthly Manager Magazin, aims to cut its annual costs for materials and staff by about 16 million euros ($17 million) by the end of 2017. That would concern about 150 jobs

“These are tough and painful cuts that we are facing ... But there is unfortunately no alternative to these job cuts if we want to secure the financial future of our companies,” Spiegel-Verlag head Thomas Hass said in a statement.

Spiegel said it was looking to launch new offers like regional sections in the weekly magazine, a curated digital news service potentially called Spiegel daily and a fee-based international version. It will post its first pay-to-view article online in the coming weeks.

“It is important for the future of quality journalism that deeply researched and excellently written articles are not only printed but also sold in a digital form and not just given away for free,” editor-in-chief Klaus Brinkbaeumer.

Spiegel-Verlag currently has 727 employees, while the overall Spiegel group has about 1,100.

$1 = 0.9423 euros Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Tom Heneghan