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?
The new Marks & Spencer website, two years in the making, is a feast for the eyes. As a replatform, it cost a lot of money and accompanies other changes such as an upgraded contact centre and new in-store tech and merchandising.
In this first look at the site, I'll be pointing out the most obvious changes and discussing why it's a step change and effectively gives the impression of 'luxe high street' online.
What stands out is the focus on visuals, a curated experience with magazine-style editorial, and a user experience that’s particularly impressive on tablet. This isn’t a surprising approach given that 44% of Christmas traffic to the website was from tablets and the brand is moving to a ‘lean back’ experience online for those that want it.
I’ll be following this post with more discussion of the new site and its various features that could be set to revitalise the brand across devices (the M&S mobile site and its apps have been updated, too).
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.
It isn't always easy to find what you want in the app store, or to browse for apps that might not be in the charts.
With this problem in mind, Magvault brings together digital publications, to be perused on a digital newsstand.
I chatted to Neil Morgan, Founder of MagVault, to find out more about the service.
We all loved The Beano, or Bunty, or The Bash Street Kids, or Girl’s Own, or Jackie, or Diana. We all loved them.
Now the annual has evolved, with Zappar and Pedigree books working together. Sonic the Hedgehog, Angry Birds, and others (admittedly not Desperate Dan) will have 20% of their pages embedded with content that can be seen through the Zappar app.
The content will include extended character profiles, extra stories and activities such as colouring, mazes, puzzles and a ‘make your own poster’ feature.
How does Econsultancy get people to come to its events? With the Festival of Marketing set to be an intense, fun, insightful....erm..fest, here's some of the stuff we've done to market events and to make them successful on the day.
I should add, there's a ton of stuff I've missed off, here (not least, effectively segmenting your audience), as I've concentrated on creative.
Tablo wants to be Wordpress for eBooks. Think it has what it takes?
Most of us in PR and content marketing are looking for the right tools to augment an ever increasing demand for content generation and that can also help create lasting value for referral traffic on different web platforms.
I personally forsee a lot of SaaS startups and cloud collaboration popping up soon to address this market, and we've profiled startups like Flockler, and 87seconds in the past, which are examples fitting this mould.
A new entrant, Tablo, addresses the eBook market specifically. Whether you are an author, or a web marketer, I suggest paying close attention to founder Ash Davies responses below!
In an online world, publishers need to become retailers, and brands should think about becoming publishers.
Here are three tools or platforms and some case studies which brands can use, for your enjoyment.
As companies begin to look at inhouse content creation, the lines have blurred between traditional publishing and brand publishing. It's not enough to put out sub-standard content or rely on media outlets to tell brand stories.
While companies move into the publishing space, what will happen to this long standing industry?