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WAN-IFRA 2009: ‘Why pay a price, when ideas for innovation come free’

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WAN-IFRA 2009: ‘Why pay a price, when ideas for innovation come free’

“We know it is the hardest topic, but we prefer to go further and come up with a formula,” said the duo of Inaki Palacios and Francisco Amaral, Directors, Cases i Associates, as they began their presentation at the session on ‘Content monetization – a lot to do… but at any price!’ on Day 3 of the World Newspaper Congress. The other panelists included Matt Kelly, Associate Editor, Daily Mirror, UK; Roman Gallo, Director for Media strategies, PPF, Czech Republic and Oliwia Serdeczny, Director for International partnerships, Niuu, Germany.

According to the duo, the formula for monetising content could come from following two models – control the medium and define the offers for users. Elaborating further they said, “Online consumers are spending more time accessing content and search is the best way to reach news.” According to the duo, in 2009 the number of email users worldwide stood at 276.9 million – growth of 21 per cent, while social users accounted for 301.5 million users – growth of 31 per cent. “As technology evolves, people move from one medium to another. If social networks are the place where people want us to be, we should be there,” they added.

Matt Kelly sought to take the audience a little back in time – two years to be precise at the very own WAN-IFRA event, as he told them of the advice that was doled out by Google. “They had told us through their presentation on ways to approach the web and that if we got it right, news on Google will revolutionise the future for print. From then on we have gone on to realize that content isn’t king, traffic is – the need was to increase the audiences.” Presenting the ground realities of the web market in the UK, Kelly said that the UK had about 30 million users per month from different dailies. “But the oversupply in content leads to a collapse in value and that is the reason why 90 per cent of the page views go unsold. This has led us to bring in network agencies to help our cause.”

Urging the audience of the recent trends, Kelly said that it would be wrong to refer to users as they are your customers, readers and viewers as well. “We realized this need and when we relaunched our website a few months back, one of the aspects that we decided upon was to stop thinking about them as users and rather address them as viewers and readers. This helped us attract a large base of our users from the social networks and from bookmarks too.”

Roman Gallo of PPF Media proceeded to cite he example of his very own ‘futuroom’ that was aimed at training media professionals. He cited the example of Kromerz district Czechoslovakia, where they launched three weeklies with the help of the local community and locals.

“While web continues to remain the centre of all our activities, we are unique through the several cafes that we have floated which is unlike a classical newsroom. It is a place where journalists have direct contact with their customers or locals first-hand just like any coffee or tea shop. It has continued to grow our base by enormous amounts and it is also a channel of income that finances our projects.” To come up with innovations such as these, we need to find the right people for the job. “So an editor-in-chief also has to be a mediator, encourage the people, fid new contributors, etc.” Based on the enormous response, we have received the green light to launch 150 weeklies, 1000 websites and 89 more cafes in 18 months – even bigger than McDonalds.”

Oliwia Serdeczny was the last to put forth her case. She cited the example of ‘niiu’, a newspaper that was a direct result of posting of blogs that was done by the readers themselves. “We provide a platform for readers where they can compose the content from any source they want – papers, blogs, sites, etc. We take sections that are most liked on the site and paste them on to the newspaper that is ready to print the following day. Though barely a few days old, we have attracted the attention many young readers and advertisers too. BMW was one of the big clients that liked our innovation and tagged along to unveil one of their models.”


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