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A subscription (abbreviation Abo ) is the regular use of a service , often for a fee . The recipient of the service is the subscriber .

The word subscription has been in use since the 18th century and comes from the French , in which s'abonner à quelque chose stands for "order a recurring service".

Legal and sales aspects (Germany)

A subscription can be concluded for a certain period of time (e.g. twelve months) or upon revocation . As a rule, the price for a subscription is lower than for a single purchase.

In Germany, subscription contracts can run for a maximum of 24 months. The maximum term for tacit renewals is 12 months. The maximum possible notice period is 3 months at the end of the subscription term. These terms and conditions are set out in § 309 No. 9 BGB (duration for long-term obligations).

The legal differentiation to a season ticket can be seen in the fact that it is not automatically extended, but only applies for a period (season), and this always allows entry or access, so that when subscribing the direct purchase of a service z. B. a magazine with other services z. B. Delivery to the address is linked.

The sale of subscriptions is attractive for companies because they guarantee continuous sales. Customers have the advantage of not missing any thanks to regular delivery. Subscriptions are therefore touted to the consumer as a superior product: cheaper, more convenient, with bonuses.

Sometimes people who are not interested in subscriptions, at the doorstep of so-called push-columns to conclude magazines advertised subscriptions. Such contracts, formerly known as doorstep selling , can be revoked within fourteen days under German law in accordance with Section 312g of the German Civil Code (BGB).

Examples of subscriptions

Borderline cases to season tickets

Forms of advertising for subscriptions


The kiosk subscription is more widespread in English-speaking countries, rarely found in some of Germany's major cities. This is a kind of reservation for a magazine that can be picked up daily at a particular kiosk or shop. This subscription is usually cheaper than normal newspaper subscriptions. In the UK , this reservation is the preferred one, as popular newspapers often sell out quickly, and a regular subscription is expensive and not always reliable.

Statistics on the distribution of subscriptions (Germany)

The following list of the online cancellation service Aboalarm shows how widespread the form of subscription sales is in the German economy:

  • 70% of all copies of German daily newspapers were distributed in 2008 (second quarter) as part of a subscription.
  • 84% of all weekly newspapers (for example Der Spiegel , Die Zeit , Der Freitag ) were distributed in 2008 (second quarter) as part of a subscription.
  • 61% of German households have a daily newspaper subscription.
  • 11% of Germans between the ages of 14 and 64 have a subscription to a pay TV channel.
  • 62% of the more than 100 million mobile phones in Germany are contract phones .
  • 30% of German households have a DSL connection.
  • 40% of all Germans with a car in their household are members of an automobile club .
  • There have been over four million BahnCard holders since 2007. The popular Bahncards 25 and 50 are regularly sold by subscription and are automatically renewed for one year each year.

Web links

Wiktionary: subscription  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Interesting statistics on the subject of subscriptions. In: Aboalarm GmbH, Munich, accessed on November 26, 2015 .