VICE: Changing of the guard in media for generation Y

March 25, 2014 by  

Carsten Kritscher, Commercial Director, VICE Media (Germany) shared during Digital Innovators Summit how his company has collaborated with forward thinking brands to form unique partnerships and develop cutting-edge, disruptive solutions for their needs.

The algorithmically confounding exponential growth of the internet has challenged all of our previous marketing “givens.” Not only has it rewritten most of the rules in media, it has also changed the playing field. Because of this revolution and the rise of its revolutionaries— Gen Y—new methods of strategy, production, content, and activation are needed. New solutions for this rapidly shifting environment have become essential. VICE Media is a leading youth media company that provides these solutions for some of the biggest brands in the world.

Generation Y is the rising power, it is the largest generation ever. 75% of the global workforce will by Gen-Y by 2025. It will be a 2,45 trillion USD purchase power in the next year.

The entire generation was raised in the age of constant connectivity. They’re moving away from traditional media, and their media consumption habits move towards mobile, apps, and consuming news on the way. 65% of Gen-Y is disconnected for only an hour a day or less – they are always on. They also like visual content.

Most brands don’t understand how to be interesting but loud. They have no experience in building reach but know only how to buy reach. VICE, on the other hand, is able to communicate with Gen-Y the way they understand and like, thanks to their immersive experience, authentic content and social currency.

Key principles to successful Gen-Y communication:
1. Drive relevance by creating immersive experience for the audience
2. be content first – this is digital currency of young people today
3. realize the value of your audience and provide them with the mechanisms to turn them into brand advocates

Brands must behave like media companies nowadays. As an example, VICE gave its latest content marketing deal with Intel that gave birth to The Creators Project. According to latest figures, it has 50 million unique visitors, 375 million video views, and gives more than 1 billion USD added media value. Average visitor spent up to ten minutes on the site.

Condé Nast – Programmatic ad transactions for publishers

March 25, 2014 by  

At Digital Innovators Summit, Rick Welch, Head of Programmatic Sales, Condé Nast (USA) provided an overview of the programmatic ad landscape, and ways magazine media companies can approach building programmatic capability.

Condé Nast is home to some of the most iconic magazine brands: Wired, Vogue, Vanity Fair among many. Traditionally it was a print magazine publisher, but for the past 3-5 years they have been making strong move to digital: preparing tablet editions, developing new version of the websites, etc.

Condé Nast has 95 million influential consumers only in the US (print and digital), 44 million are in digital. 49% come from mobile, the rest is desktop. Over two times of these numbers are seen globally.

4 major areas they are investing in: video, digital advertising, integrated marketing, data (ad-tech: programmatic and data).

The area of programmatic is not only complicated and fascinating, but also a crowded area of business. Question is how to most effectively navigate that “mess”?

Publishers, according to Rich Welch, have three main goals:

  • create compelling content,
  • great users experience,
  • create compelling packages to advertisers.

By navigating AdTech correctly and not ignoring it, Conde Nast can better achieve their three goals as publishers.

What they cover:

  • all programmatic media trading: buying and selling media
  • audience extension
  • data application
  • management of partner relationships
  • advisory on strategic investments

Programmatic is a problem, because it is used very often and incorrectly. For Condé Nast programmatic means automatization. It’s more than auction-based inventory, it also includes campaigns with data, and can also be used as a workflow efficiency. It’s in every place that involves data.

Thanks to programmatic, clients are given options, and it becomes another way of accessing the inventory – it’s giving clients a better access.

Recommendation how to build own programmatic strategy:
1. build your programmatic team
2. educate your sales force
3. co-sell: existing products plus programmatic options

The Onion’s evolution towards digital only publication

March 25, 2014 by  

Steve Hannah shared at the Digital Innovators Summit how they have transformed their weekly newspaper into a 24/7 digital media brand with new business models while staying true to their core brand.

The U.S. satirical news brand The Onion has become more successful by moving almost entirely to digital, increasing video production, creating native advertising that fits their brand and becoming a creative services agency that extends its comedy talents to advertisers.

For Steve Hannah content is king, and this is where Onion’s brand is built around. Onion finds inspiration everywhere, mostly from what actually happens around us. Here’s a piece that was inspired by a long time Steve Hannah had to spend on Prague airport:

The Onion is a news organization that is not afraid of tackling the truth. At the same time it follows all transitions that are happening on the market. In 1995 they went into digital, in 1999 Onion started first video operations. Or, as Steve Hannah said, Onion invented both.

In 2005 The Onion started its own programme, inspired again “by the bullshit seen on different TV stations” (yes, the logo of the programme is not coincidental):

Content is what sustains The Onion with 50 percent of the traffic coming from mobile. They moved their website from weekly to daily publication. There is much more content published today, and more news coming from the real news found elsewhere, in other media outlets.

The online performance of The Onion looks great – they have 9 million social followers. Putting pressure on the content paid of, they had 123% growth in page views, and 134% growth in uniques.

Like every publisher, The Onion needs cold, hard cash. In order to make more money they created Onion Labs. It’s purpose is to help other brands build audience. “We will build your brand with the same passion and creativity with witch we build our own” – says Onion Lab’s motto. They started to do white label works, many sponsored actions came along.

One of the examples could be the video prepared for YouTube, which by many for about 24 hours was believed to be true. It had 15 million plays, 120 mentions in media, 80.000 likes, 85.000 comments:

Another one is a piece done for Designer Shoe Warehouse. The client, DSW, had 793.000 video plays on site, and 6,450 million pageviews:

Thanks to the latest moves, The Onion managed to maintain integrity, and maintain brand.


Staying on the interactive marketing rocket – discussion

March 25, 2014 by  

Online adverting and marketing continues to increase its share of global advertising budgets. This session of Digital Innovators Summit featured the perspectives of global brands and a publisher on the state of online marketing – trends, what is working, where it is going and what publishers need to do to stay in the game.

Tina Beuchler, Chairwoman, OWM (German Advertisers Organization) and Head of Media Communications, Nestlé Deutschland AG (Germany) underlined the importance of ROBBI – the return of brand-bbuilding investment.

Advertising market in Germany is around 27 million Euro. TV is still dominant, growing last year 6%. Second biggest segment is print. Digital has grown to be the third. 11% of advertising spends is digital (in the last year it grew by 3,5% only, for the first time not being a double digit growth).

OWM supports brands to perform better. It calls for better ROBBI understanding. Tina Buechler reminded about the importance of cross channel advertising – it effects platforms and guarantees further investments in the market.


Steven Althaus, Director of Brand Management and Marketing Services, BMW Group (Germany), gave three strategic comperatives for their enveironment in the business area:
1. shift from hardware to software
2. shift from owning a car to using a car
3. shift from whole sale perspective to retail

Steven Althaus sees a strong paradigm shift from marketing. “Putting a lipstick on a gorilla” might just not be enough nowadays.

BMW has got reasons to speak about the importance of digital in their strategy. 85% of people they are targetting with i3 had never been BMW customers before. There is
a strong conversion of industries with cars becoming hotspots. “BMW also wants to know who drives their cars, and digital provides this knowledge. If we don’t do it – farewell” – says Althaus.

Key pillars of BMW strategy:
1. Evolve marketing
2. Learning from failures
3. Role of research
4. Experiential
5. Journey partners: consultants, marketeers and other very strong individuals


Marcus Rich, CEO, IPC Media (UK) underlined the role of content in digital strategy. IPC Media has 150 years of experience in creating the content. For IPC Media people are not just numbers.

IPC Media’s response towards todays digital market trends are:

  • Amplify – merging traditional content with brands, using the data and buying 3rd party audiences.
  • Inspired conversations – new revenue streams in new content areas.

For publishers content should remain king. And IPC Media employers can understand their clients perfectly.

Making the most out of Facebook

March 24, 2014 by  

How can media companies best make use of this social network with its more than one billion monthly users? Andy Mitchell talked during Digital Innovators Summit about the latest developments at Facebook that benefit media companies as well as effective ways publishers can work with Facebook.

Andy Mitchell is impressed with the mobile boom we are all experiencing. Facebook now has more than 1,23 billion users. People spend 16:50 minutes a day on Facebook on average.

Overall more news are being discovered on Facebook. 62% of social referrals come from Facebook. It drives 2 times more traffic than the closest alternative. In Germany 87% of news sharing happens on Facebook.

Bild. de reaches more than 1.3 million people on Facebook. How do they do it?

They don’t only publish headlines. They are sharing fun content too. Publishers need to think of their audiences. Share as much content as you find relevant. Facebook will pick up the right content for right people.

Facebook has done several improvements on the way, such as:

1. Improvements to NewsFeed:

  • made ranking changes to features high quality content
  • optimise News Feed for link shares
  • News Feed redesigns focusing on large images

2. Improvements to Pages:

  • making pages easier to read
  • focus on the main content column
  • simple chronological layout order

3. Launched verified pages. Trying to catch impostors as they sign up, but it’s very hard. Verifying the page by a publisher will bring up the page in News Feed.

4. Recommended articles now highlight related media content

5. New widget for page admins: stories to share. Shows page admins most popular stories on their page that haven’t been shared yet

6. Trending (only in the US) – based on your age, demographics and so on. Each of the trending topic includes headlines from Facebook media partners.

7. Paper – app launched 3 months ago. New way to navigate Facebook with new news sections.

8. Facebook Q&A’s:

  • Questions in comments in page posts
  • answered questions rank higher
  • achedule in advance and promote
  • use authentic voice

Andy Mitchell finished his presentation by saying how to get most from the News Feed. Here are his tips:

  1. Don’t set artificial limits on posting. If you are creating high quality content on your properties, you should use your Facebook page as a distribution channel for that content
  2. Nail your headline and test relentlessly. Don’t set limits on your publishing.
  3. Make your content easy to share – as many share buttons on the page as possible. Make sure users don’t have to search for the button or go back to the top of the
  4. page
  5. Make sure your content looks great when shared (use Open Graph). Also, use a Debugger. Optimise Open Graph tahs so
  6. content looks great when shared.

Cool is not an accident – how to make videos go viral

March 24, 2014 by  

You don’t have to wait for some happy coincidence to get a video that spreads across social media like a wildfire – you can make one yourself! Award winning and provocative director Joseph Wade (Don’t Panic, UK) talked during the Digital Innovators Summit conference about how to create multimedia content that people really want to share – even if it’s branded.
Joseph Wade brought YouTube’s Playbook at start – it tells all the basics about how to create a successful channel – even if most of the
information there is basic, it is always a good place to start.

Wade recognizes 4 main factors that make videos go viral:

1. Building a video on the back of another success. Some time ago this video (that in the end appeared to be a commercial after all) reached 63 million views in a couple of days.

The video appeared to be a fake but VICE decided to make a video that would be more true. It also was a great viral success. Most importantly, it was done very quickly:

2. Work on the content strategy. Don’t Panic created a scheme about how video works. According to Joseph Wade, Reddit is most important place to start the video. Once picked up there, the next step is Facebook and Twitter. Then portals like Buzzfeed or Mashable share the content. After them it’s big medias’ turn. The process is closed down again by Facebook. The whole thing takes about 3 days.

This process works everytime when Don’t Panic creates a viral video. And so did in that case:

3. Work on videos with strong emotional pulls:

4. Engage with vloggers

Fædrelandsvennen – All access success

March 24, 2014 by  

In May of 2012, Fædrelandsvennen launched a new business model. Speaking at the Digital Innovators Summit in Berlin, News Editor Christian Stavik reported his newspaper now has 75% coverage in its core market, which is the entire country of Finland.

The biggest risk was doing nothing within the changing environment, Stavik says, when the downturn in readership was generating substantial revenue loss.

The company had an idea to go from being a newspaper to selling a brand, wanting readers to engage with its content on all platforms.

The main goal of the new strategy was to provide an added value for existing subscribers, Stavik said. As such, a new editorial strategy and payment model was needed.

Fædrelandsvennen needed to change its entire organisation.

The strategy became one packet, one price. Readers subscribe to the brand, not to the platform. The company did not allow a subscriber to pick just one platform, such as the printed newspaper, for instance. The only option was to buy the full bundle.

Before the launch of paywall, thanks to its digital-first strategy, the company was seeing +34% growth in pageviews. The introduction of paywall did generate a loss, but not a huge one: 17% of reach. Currently, however, traffic is starting to grow again (+12% since May 2012), according to Stavik.

The subscription trend has also turned after the introduction of the paywall. The news media company started with a loss of five subscribers a day and a gain of four new subscribers every day. It is now the other way around, Stavik said.

Fædrelandsvennen created a big campaign to explain the readers why digital journalism costs money, proving that quality journalism on digital platforms is as expensive as in print. In addition, internal communication was key in the transformation.

On the other hand, the company’s mobile experience was a failure, and it didn’t manage to launch even one successful app. An attempt at a family subscription package was also a failure due to lack of communication.

“The biggest failure was that we should have launched and learned, but we launched and left instead,” Stavik said.

Further complicating the transition was that tech support was quite limited at the time, which meant several bugs were left unfixed and the company didn’t grab opportunity to track the data.

The next step for Fædrelandsvennen is to evolve the digital strategy and learn from failures. Stavik believes it was a strong start, but the company needs to keep moving and keep developing.

BildPlus: Getting users to pay

March 24, 2014 by  

After two years of preparations, the leading German media brand BILD launched its paid product “BILD plus” in June 2013. Donata Hopfen, The CEO of Bild Digital shared insights into their experiences and results.

Bild is the largest selling newspaper in Germany, and in Europe, plus a leading news website. Axel Springer grew in two traditional newsmedia models. One is of course advertising, the other model is being active in acquiring satellite brands. In 2013 they launched application 1414 – app for users to send picture of whatever they think is interesting for them. Idea is to use those pics as a newswire again in their media.

2,5 years ago Bild started thinking about another paid revenue model – in search of new revenues. That’s how Bild+ in June 2013 was created. Objectives of Bild+:

  • shift the paradigm of free information in the internet
  • retain the market leading position on all platforms
  • build brand subscription, where users pay only once
  • replicate the second revenue source from the offline world nad remain independence from falling ad revenue

Guiding principles for editorial were:
commodity news are free
everything with added value has a price

Premium content is labelled with a plus on Bild website. Bild+ content is fully accessible to active subscribers only. Users pay only once and can use all Bild Premium products: apps, websites, smart TV apps and so on.

Axel Springer set 3 Bild Plus bundles:

  • Digital: web, mobile, tablet for 3,99 Euro,
  • Premium: web, mobile, tablet and PDF replica for 9,99 Euro,
  • Komplett: web, mobile, tablet, PDF replica (includes also premium packet and subscription of the printed product) for 14,99 Euro

These bundles were set only to attract the readers but also to integrate the online and offline world.

Bild+ is also active in print innovation. Thanks to new inkjet technology, they can individualize every single copy of a newspaper, which is useful in term of games, lotteries, and quizes for the readers.

Since August 2013 Bild+ has been offering also a Bundesliga – highlist of the soccer games. Depending on the offer, customers may choose the length of the highlights. In order to buy Bundesliga users have to be Bild Plus customers first (sell through model). Bundesliga is paid for only once and can be used on many channels.

Proof of concept:
1. technology is working smoothly
2. Editorial content triggers BildPlus signups
3. various promotions additionally support BildPlus sales (BildPlus helped
4. Since introducing BildPlus, Bild’s reach in the internet is stable (even growing slowly)

In December 2013 Bild+ already had 152.000 paying subscribers.

Juan Señor: Digital innovations in magazine media

March 24, 2014 by  

Juan Señor, Partner (UK), Innovation Media Consulting Group presented intriguing developments in magazine media at the Digital Innovators Summit. The editors from Innovation Media Consulting have scoured the industry to compile a book “Innovations in Magazines 2014″.

Digital is big business. In the “Innovations in Magazines 2014″ book the editors from Innovation Consulting outline who actually is making money nowadays. The book, according to Juan Señor is a path to success – from prognostic to preparation.

5 keys to success:

  • mobile is the dominant platform (also means wearable technology)
  • video is the dominant mode
  • native advertising is the dominant vehicle
  • programmatic is the dominant method to sell and connect
  • big data will drive more decision

Why mobile:
Tablet ownership will quadruple by 2017
9 of 10 phones sold in China are smartphones

The impact of the right mobile strategy will be huge mobile traffic boost: Atlantic and Forbes get 31-50% traffic through mobile already. So far, only 3% of publishers can transform it into real money

The questions are: Why aren’t advertisers coming along in this journey? What do readers want on mobile? Definitely not PDF’s. They want to share, but still too many apps prevent from doing that.

The easiest way to grow revenue is mobile. New formats of videos are emerging such as Vine (6 second pieces of content) or Instagram.

Video ad views grew 76% in past 6 months in the US.

Juan Señor brought Quartz as an example of the first mobile-first magazine. It was born out of the Atlantic, as a test. In the digital world there are no dailies, weeklies or monthlies. Quartz follows users cycle of news consumption, and knows when people reach for their mobile devices. For Quartz design is content. Design begins with tablet, then smartphones. Quartz also breaks the journalist job, as journalists are expected from the publisher to turn in the whole package: text with images, videos, and so on. As a result: 80-90% of their traffic is earned. Revenue model: no banners, no paywalls, only native advertising. Result 20 premium advertisers, sold out inventory. CPMs 10 times higher than banners.

Native advertising is the corner stone of this model. : works everywhere, doesn’t interrupt, brings higher CPMs.

40 percent of US ad spending in 2014 will be native.

Forbes is expecting 30% of ad revenue to come from native advertising. Buzzfeed is projecting to earn 60 million USD from native advertising. Publishers need to maintain the standards and build different teams to sell native advertising. New ad opportunities are emerging:

Programmatic ad is growing at 54% a year in the US and is projected ot be 83% of US display advertising. How it works. Individual readers’ online behaviour can be tracked and reported to the advertiser. Makes every click impression conversion measurable in real time. And prices are going up.

Also events should be important to publishers, as 12% growth in ad revenues come from events. Their benefits:

  • Benefits of events:
  • promote the brands
  • increased visibility
  • create news covered by other media
  • create new content



NowThisNews: Native storytelling for mobile and social

March 24, 2014 by  

How do you reach a new generation of users that is constantly on their mobile phones and spends much of their time on the latest apps and social networks like SnapChat, Vine, Instagram and YouTube, or at least Facebook and Twitter? Ed O’Keefe, Editor-in-Chief, NowThis News (USA) had some tips for participants of Digital Innovators Summit in Berlin.

The news needs to be brought to the audience , to the medium and app the audience is using and in the format it prefers – highly visual and with much video. That is the approach of NowThis News, the first of its kind mobile and social news network.

Ed O’Keefe, Editor-in-Chief, explains how they prepare news for each medium individually, creating true native storytelling for news, and shares his views on the future of journalism. According to Ed O’Keefe, nothing is more important to young mobile generation than authenticity. Content needs to be authentic, surprising, natural, and platform specific. This generation is used to get what they want, how they want and when they want. That’s what publishers need to deliver.

Where is audience? Ed O’Keefe says they’re everywhere: on Twitter, Vine, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. Therefore it is so important to know the audience. Ed O’ Keefe gave brief characteristics of each type of the audience:

  • Vine: very YouTube like. With 40 million users, it was created in June 2012. Acquired by Twitter. 6,5 sec videos. Humor, surprise, personality. Highly unusual content, and brands can live there.
  • Instagram: 150 million users, launched in October 2010. In 8 hours so much content is uploaded, it would take an entire year to watch it.
  • Snapchat: 400 million messages received per day, started in July 2011, valuated at 2 billion dollars. The audience is 13-25 year old, with 70% of females. 88% of messages are sent to one recipient.
  • Twitter: 240 million, created in March 2006, 18% of US adults, 26% US teens, and 184 million mobile users
  • Facebook: 1,2 billion users, launched February 2004. 71% US adults use FB, 94% US teens, 63% visit one time a day (40% multiple visits).

Ed O’Keefe says it is very important to be in the flow of real time conversation. If news are real-time – they are good for Twitter. If something needs explanation – Facebook works better.

Ed O’Keefe showed one story about protests in Venezuela prepared for 5 different platforms – each kind of audience was strongly engaged.

How to make money from what they’re doing? Everything comes from social advertising, and real time marketing: they are looking to create specific content, native for each platform. The storytelling in the advertising must be as compelling as the content. If it’s not, they’re not doing it.

Key takeaways:

  • Radio is not the same as TV
  • TV is not the same as internet
  • the web is not the same as the social
  • different shows different content
  • different platforms, different contentt
  • remember: your digital strategy is your content strategy. If you’re not on social you risk being missed out.