The Bild (formerly Bild-Zeitung, lit. Picture Newspaper) is a German newspaper published by Axel Springer AG. The paper is published from Monday to Saturday, while on Sundays, Bild am Sonntag (lit. Picture on Sunday) is published instead, which has a different style and its own editors. Bild is tabloid in style, although actually broadsheet in size. It is the best-selling newspaper in Europe and has the seventh-largest circulation worldwide. Its motto, prominently displayed below the logo, is unabhängig, überparteilich (independent, nonpartisan). Bild's nearest English-language stylistic and journalistic equivalent is often considered to be The Sun in the UK - the second highest selling European tabloid newspaper - with which it shares a degree of rivalry
Although it is still Germany's biggest paper, the circulation of Bild, along with many other papers, has been on the decline in recent years. After selling more than five million copies every day in the 1980s, circulation dropped below the four million mark in 2002 for the first time in almost 30 years. By the end of 2005, the figure dropped to 3.8 million copies. . Bild was modeled after the British tabloid Daily Mirror; although its paper size is bigger, this is reflected in its mix of celebrity gossip, crime stories and political analysis. However, its articles are often considerably shorter compared to those in British tabloids, and the whole paper is thinner as well. Bild has been known to use controversial devices like sensational headlines and invented "news" to increase its readership. The policy of having a topless woman on its front page virtually every day has also been criticised by German feminist groups.
From the outset, the editorial drift was unabashedly conservative and nationalist. The GDR was referred to as the Soviet Occupation Zone (German: Sowjetische Besatzungszone or SBZ). The usage continued well into the 1980s, when Bild began to use the GDR's official name cautiously, putting it in quotation marks. Bild heavily influenced public opinion against the German student movement of the years following 1967, after the assassination attempt on activist Rudi Dutschke. A popular catchphrase in left-wing circles sympathetic to student radicalism was "Bild hat mitgeschossen!" (Bild shot at him too). At the height of left-wing terrorism around 1977, Bild took a strong stance that could be said to have contributed to the climate of fear and suspicion.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War in Europe, Bild's editorial stance seems to have become more centrist. Despite its general support for Germany's conservative parties and especially former chancellor Helmut Kohl. Its rhetoric, still populist in tone, is less fierce than it was thirty years ago. Its traditionally less conservative Sunday paper Bild am Sonntag even supported Gerhard Schröder, a Social Democrat, in his bid for chancellor in 1998.
Bild is printed in Ahrensburg, Hanover, Berlin, Leipzig, Essen, Neu-Isenburg, Esslingen, Munich and Syke. Foreign locations exist in Spain in Madrid, Palma de Mallorca and Las Palmas. In Italy in Milan, in Greece in Athens and in Antalya, Turkey. The foreign locations cater mostly for German tourists.
Bild's high circulation is probably caused by a launch for sensationalism, resulting even in terrorizing celebrities (such as TV presenter Charlotte Roche) and stories frequently based on the most dubious evidence. The journalistic standards of Bild, or the lack thereof, are the subject to frequent criticism by German intellectuals and media observers.