The Axel Springer group is pretty big, it’s active in 44 countries and generated revenue of €3.3bn in 2012.
13,650 people are employed across the group, which includes more than 230 publications such as Bild, but also companies such as Zanox (which includes Affiliate Window).
But despite its size, Axel Springer is using startups and a new culture to drive digital change and growth across the group.
This has been a big step and is a trend we’re seeing in many industries – see John Lewis’ recent announcement of JLabs, a call for entrepreneurs with a £100,000 investment to the best new startup.
At Digital Media Strategies 2014, Springer Electronic Media CTO Ulrich Schmitz talked to us about developing a digital portfolio.
How does one develop new business models in the light of digital? What is the best way to foster innovation and entrepreneurship? And when does one integrate digital investments or indeed keep them separate.
Is achieving integration of print and digital publishing the pursuit of the Holy Grail? Well, it certainly sounds nice listening to a publisher talk about burgeoning digital revenues in multiple channels, alongside beautiful print products.
Verdens Gang is a Norwegian newspaper with a daily circulation of more than 200,000, in a population of 5m. Across print and digital, 1.8m people use VG daily.
At Digital Media Strategies 2014, editor-in-chief and CEO of VG Torry Pedersen gave the lowdown on how they integrated print and digital effectively, along with how they monetised smartphone and tablet content.
Culture is the key, as is so often the case in disrupted industries where big brands have to adapt and are competing with pure-plays that have started on the right foot.
Torry used the analogy of Haile Gebreselassie vs. Usain Bolt to describe print and digital. They both run but they run in very different ways and they shouldn’t have the same training regimen. The same can be said of magazine-style high quality print products compared with the fast-moving multimedia world of online news. The two teams can’t necessarily work together.
That’s why from 2000 until 2011, everything at VG was separate for print and online, from ads to editorial. In 2011 the two were joined back together once again.
The same thing happened with mobile and desktop, the two had separate ad sales and technical teams from 2010 until 2014 (though the same content team). Now ad sales and techies across desktop and mobile are integrated.
So what are the challenges that VG has overcome and how is it moving forward?
I’m trying my best to sound literary in this post - the pseud’s headline, the confessional first line.
I was tweeted by an author this morning. The whole uplifting experience was enough to slap me in the face with the wet fish of Twitter’s usefulness to the author and publisher.
I thought suddenly, I should write this up for the blog! One of the great things about the blog is the opportunity it affords us to commit the bonne pensée to a medium slightly less fleeting than mere conversation.
The story is this: I was tweeted by an author and subsequently decided to buy her book. These things happened for a number of reasons.
I’ll detail the exchange and then discuss why this case study is symptomatic of Twitter’s use and usefulness.
Perhaps someday native advertising will mature into a viable alternative to traditional web advertising but today it creates more problems than answers.
Publishers are increasingly embracing real-time bidding via exchanges and SSPs, according to a new Econsultancy report.
Our Online Publishers Survey Report also shows how more publishers are using data to improve the effectiveness of advertising.
Here are a few tasters from the new report...
Native advertising is one of the hottest marketing trends this year. From BuzzFeed to Twitter, the most admired businesses of our generation have been built on this supposedly new advertising medium.
However, from my experience, understanding of what it really means is surprisingly low. People might understand that it’s akin to what was traditionally called advertorial, but few recognise the nuances of what is a surprisingly diverse medium.
Harper Collins and its business development team are a great example of how publishers are adapting to the business of content, not simply bound sheaves of pulped wood.
In an indicator of how service-based the UK economy has become, Harper Collins now sums up its business as following:
"We create bespoke content based on products and campaigns for our clients."
"We work with content, not just books, across print, digital, mobile and more."
"Our editorial expertise, content and creativity enable clients to communicate brand identity and values."
One of the areas of the publishing house where this is most evident is Harper Collins Children’s Books. I decided to find out more about its business model.
Pretty sounding search algorithm updates (Hummingbird, Panda, Penguin...) have plunged many digital publishers into peril as their content plummets out of search engine results pages in consequence.
The decline in visitors impacts the performance of ads, which hits revenue. Under pressure from the publisher and ad sales team, the media title’s SEO and editorial teams try to reverse engineer Google’s update and work out new tactics that will improve their search engine performance.
In the main, quality publishers producing compelling shareable editorial need not worry too much about Google algorithm updates. Google’s focus has generally been to prioritise quality content.
However, a key objective of the Hummingbird update is to accommodate the fact that more searches are being conducted, and more content is being consumed, on smartphones.
As people are beginning to use their smartphone’s voice recognition functions to actually talk to Google search apps, Google has started to respond to search terms given in natural speech, a key part of the Hummingbird update.
'Big whoop', right? No. Massive whoop, especially for the 68% of the UK’s 175 top publishers do not have a digital site that displays effectively for mobile devices.
My last post covering the mechanics that underpin programmatic media provoked some interesting questions.
In particular, the following comment...
I was reading this article on paidcontent over the weekend, which points out the value of analytics to publishers, but only if they are using the right metrics.
The key point was the danger in focusing on pageviews, as this doesn't necessarily help to build the kind of audience that publishers and their advertisers need.
I would agree with that, and though pageviews are not insignificant, there are many more useful metrics for publishers to view.
In this post, I'll attempt to answer the question by sharing some of the ways I use Google Analytics for this blog, while this post presents 10 shortcuts to Google Analytics reports and dashboards for publishers, bloggers and content marketers.