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Optimism and Solutions: First Day of WAN IFRA Expo in Berlin

Posted on the 08 October 2013 by Themarioblog @garciainteract

Optimism and solutions: first day of WAN IFRA Expo in Berlin

TAKEAWAY: The first day of the WAN IFRA World Publishing Expo 2013 in Berlin is now history, and here are some highlights. Challenging times, indeed, but optimism prevails.

Bursts of optimism

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It was a little bit of optimism and some doses of realities during the opening presentation here.  Ken Doctor, of Newsonomics moderated the conversation following short presentations from Mathias Dopfner, Axel Springer CEO, and Andrew Miller, The Guardian, News and Media CEO.

Ken Doctor mentioned that the addiction today is to mobile, and that in 2014 he forecasts more paywalls. “We need more young people to get used to paying for content,“ he added.

Doctor also mentioned that he anticipates more newspapers opting for less frequency of publication, while reinforcing their Sunday products.

Other Ken Doctor highlights:

-Print ad decline looks unabated. He cited a 39 percent global decline between 2007-2012. That is US$ 51 billion less than it was 6 years ago.

-There is some activity with private investors getting involved in the US. There’s Warren Buffet, buying regional newspapers.  Then, of course, there is Jeff Bezos who “sees the future, not the past. An enduring brand, massive metro penetration, hundreds of thousands of paying customers, and a rich trove of data.

-New strategy experiments. There’s Aaron Kushner’s all-out print push with Orange County Register and other titles; publishing companies like Advance in the US going to three-day-a-week print; and at the other end of the spectrum, Digital First Media.

And from the two CEOs

Mathias Dopfner, CEO of Axel Springer, confirms that there are opportunities for publishers and “these are the best of times to be in publishing, but we as publishers need to provide compelling content that readers will want to pay for.“

It is all about the story, the story, the story,“ Dopfner reminded the group.

Andrew Miller of The Guardian said that his newspapers new global ventures in the USA and Australia are doing well. “Our digital audience is growing, and so is our net growth.“

The Guardian, Miller said, is all about multimedia platforms.

By embracing all the platforms, we invest in the future; we don’t work against them,“ he emphasized.

Mobile is where the action is

In session after session, the speakers emphasized the importance of mobile products, and how readers from Finland, Turkey, Israel and Germany cling to their mobile devices to read news.

Producing content for these devices is a challenge, and what works in one place may not be the answer for another.

What technology to use to get content into these mobile devices was a frequently asked question.  The WAN IFRA World Publishing Expo 2013 provided some 300 exhibitors who were happy to do demos of their products upon demand for the 8000 participants in attendance from 80 countries.

Responsive design

Jeff Moriarty of The Boston Globe, explained the Globe’s pioneering efforts in responsive design.

We have found that more than ever responsive solutions make sense

Moriarty reminded the audience that responsive design is not a technology, or a tool you can buy or a platform.

It is a philosophy, a technique devised for a multi screen publishing world.

More importantly:

It is within the grasp of every organization

Let’s not forget advertising

One area that received careful attention: the role of advertising in mobile devices.

Better yet, how perhaps the advertising agencies are not keeping up with the technological and audience demands for mobile devices.

Moriarty mentioned that it is important to have ads that translate well across screens for maximum impact.

Another speaker, Thomas Schultz-Homberg, of Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine, said that it is important to make advertising “size convergent”.

At FAZ we are working on creating full screen ads across media channels.

I agree and have mentioned repeatedly that advertising is not keeping up with the fast development of mobile devices to transmit newspaper and magazine content.

Tomorrow: A second day of reports from the WAN IFRA World Publishing Expo 2013

TheMarioBlog post #1351

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