IFRA Conference: Beyond the Printed Word 2008 -- Day 1 summaries
IFRA Conference: Beyond the Printed Word 2008
20-21 November, Novotel Budapest Congress & World Trade Center, Budapest, Hungary
Chairpersons: Theo Blanco, marketing director, Upsala Nya Tidning AB, Sweden, and Jennifer Carroll, vice president new media content, Gannett Co., USA
220 participants from 23 countries
> Visit the multiblog: http://www.iframagazine.com/beyond_08
20 November - Day 1
Stig Nordqvist, director of digital research for IFRA, welcomed participants, suggesting that although it may be challenging to keep a long-term vision during such difficult economic times as today, publishers should still consider investment in a variety of digital media channels as the way forward and as the path to success in the mid- and long-term future.
Keynote: Shaping the media of tomorrow -- today!
Kjell Aamot, CEO, Schibsted ASA, Norway
Schibsted has long been a pioneer in online activities as Aamot presented the company’s development between 1994 and 2008, including years of investment which he said are only now becoming profitable.
Schibsted’s path to growth included many difficult decisions such as cutting staff and consolidating print products while constantly pushing online growth as well as internationalisation through acquisitions. Aamot said the company strategy is based on creating media houses that dominate markets, roll out proven products and aim to be the best in: organisation, innovation, sales and market insight.
Trendy social networks -- what’s their secret?
Kate Burns, vice president and marketing director, Bebo Europe, U.K.
Bebo is a social network with extensive reach in the 18- to 24-year-old market in the U.K. and other English-speaking countries. Burns presented three case studies (Message from Earth, The Gap Year and Conquering Demons) demonstrating the possibilities to exploit and multiply brand exposure through special projects on social networks like Bebo, incorporating audience engagement, interaction and amplification. The brand creates content, and the audience can interact.
Bebo has more than 11.7 million unique users in the U.K. and a total membership of more than 45 million worldwide. Bebo says its worldwide users spend an average of 29 minutes a day on the site. Bebo forms part of AOL's newly created People Networks business unit which combines Bebo, the AIM and ICQ personal communications network, widget technology company Goowy Media and social search and answer service Yedda. Bebo is a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL LLC, a majority-owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc.
Making Money with online video
Steve Filler, commercial director, Videojug Corp, U.K.
Videojug is a well-known “how to do” collection of more than 50,000 professionally produced films. Filler said that online video is expected to be 30 percent of worldwide Internet traffic by 2012. Growth is being driven by new technologies, improving quality and search engines. It is fundamental to have the right content for the site as well as to motivate users to contribute to the content and to help expand the audience. Once the content is right, there are endless opportunities for brand awareness and services promotion.
"Produce the right piece of content to meet user expectations,” he said. “The challenge for publishers is to assess how much quality they can sacrifice to meet users' demands for volume and immediacy, at the right price, while maintaining brand values.
Separating facts from myths
Ole Petter Nyhaug, director of trend research, Synovate, Norway
Myth: That young men are the trendsetters, said Nyhaug. Fact: Women are increasingly using new gadgets and technologies, and it is not only young people who are attracted to new games and online interaction. However, young people remain the majority with online interaction.
Myth: Many believe that blogs will bring edited newspapers to an end. Fact: Not true. But for sure, Nyhaug said, blogs are indeed serious competition.
Myth: There is also a belief that social networks allow for worldwide reach and open several channels to source individuals information. Fact: Truth is that these networks are more popular in some regions or countries than in others and if three years ago anyone had access to view over 70 percent of Facebook profiles, today they can only access 0.5 percent.
Content creation is not for everyone but those who do it are very powerful.
iPhone – Breakthrough for mobile Internet and opportunity for 20 Minuten Online
Stephan Obwegeser, head of marketing and new business, 20 Minuten / Tamedia AG, Switzerland
20 Minuten launched first offers for mobile use in 2001. In 2008 it launched the iPhone version of the mobile portal.
The idea of mobile is to be fast and competent, said Obwegeser. The company developed its mobile activities over several years. First step was the SMS news back in July 2005. Second step was MMS news in May 2006, followed by a WAP site in July 2006. Afterwards came the mobile Internet in October 2006 and finally the iPhone version.
In Switzerland iPhone constitutes only 3 percent of the mobile market (approximately 250,000 devices) but 80 percent of mobile data traffic. Features on the iPhone application are aimed at an average use of 15 minutes per session.
Although the mobile market for newspapers is not very profitable today, 20 Minuten firmly believes in the increase of mobile market penetration and the advertising opportunities from this.
Silver surfers – a golden opportunity
Hervé Sauzay, managing editor, Bayard Presse, France
Dirk Ceuppens, web manager, Bayard-Europe, The Netherlands
Bayard launched a magazine (Notre Temps) in 1968 and since then it has developed several products now aimed at the 50-plus-year-old market.
The company has carefully studied this segment to grow revenue. Sauzay said age, steps of life, main events and generational effects all influence behaviour. Age has to be understood within the physical, social and psychological aspects. Out of these, it is psychological that mostly influences behaviour.
The average Internet user over 50 varies from country to country, but it is evolving very fast. It also has been noted that they buy a bit less than the average online user, but they tend to spend more on each purchase.
When designing a site for this demographic, it is important to consider their lack of experience with computers and Internet, as well as specific needs regarding visualisation, navigation and interaction. Naturally, all the physical and behavioural changes that age brings have to be taken into consideration here.
From science fiction to reality
Stig Nordqvist, director of digital research, IFRA
There are many advantages to e-reading, but key here is that content presentation remains a high priority, said Nordqvist. There are quite a few devices available this year and some are already on the their next generation.
Amazon Kindle launched a year ago and it has been a success, not so much for its design but for the amount and variety of e-books available (92,000 at launch, more than 201,000 available now). The number of newspapers available on the device also increased from 11 at launch to 28 today. Nordqvist said several industry players are investing millions into the development of e-reading devices and related technology.
His presentation was followed by a film made during a recent IFRA e-reading conference in Paris. Both suppliers and publishers shared their views on the latest developments, business models, target markets and, naturally, the revenue-generating possibilities for newspapers.
Can printed newspapers carry moving images?
Jan Halin, editor in chief, Aftonbladet, Sweden
Mobile tagging: The newspaper decided to be the first in the world with “moving pictures.” The tag (barcode) is printed next to a photo on the front page, and readers can scan the tag with their mobile phones and soon a short video clip will appear on their mobile screen.
Aftonbladet also uses the tag for reader interaction, publishing questions about possible developments in town. All that is required is to pass the phone over the tag which said “Yes” or “No.” Tags are also used in competitions relating to loyalty clubs and “tagvertising.”
The technical process for printing the tag is quite easy and straightforward. There are many possibilities for future uses for tagging and once transmission security is improved, tags will also involve payments, etc.
How do people use new technologies? A user’s experience
Andy Budd, managing director, Clearleft Ltd, U.K.
Clearleft is a consulting firm for web design, interaction and strategy. Budd said revolutions generally are not driven by those in control of present systems but by those able to offer a possibility of change that pleases the majority.
The music industry learned that the changes on the Internet were beyond its control and the best solution was to adapt to this new distribution channel. News now reaches us from a wider variety of channels and sources than ever before. Print will not cease to exist but will simply not be the primary source of news for readers.
Budd said publishers need to “‘turn the ship,” head in the right direction, and stick with this direction until the destination is reached.
> Visit the multiblog: http://www.iframagazine.com/beyond_08
> To the summaries of Day 2.
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