Archive

Value Contributors

Newspapers dead caused by publishers.001

© 2014 by Value Communication AG, Mainz/Germany

 

By Sudarsha Rambaran, Value Art+Communication Fellow, Mainz
(This blog post is part of a new Value iBook “The Real Value of Print” which will be available soon)

 

ValueLearnings

• Beyond craziness? — The Woeful Tale of the Newspaper and its War with the Internet

• Publishers’ strange behavior (since decades): they ignore the needs of their customers

• The biggest enemy of print & publishing are newspaper publishers and their partners in the traditional media business

 

Five years ago, in an interview with Horizont, media expert and author of What would Google do?” Jeff Jarvis made some visionary comments about the future of the newspaper industry. He stated that society is being massively restructured because of the internet, however, Google is not the instigator of this process as many believe, but rather a result of it. These days, if you cannot be searched on the net, you cannot be found. The mass market for newspapers may be dead, but there is still a niche for them in the world. The news itself must change: it has to be tailored to target audiences, which is why regional newspapers can benefit so much from Google. Google itself is currently changing their whole marketing approach. They are concentrating on making the advertising relevant to local markets by personalizing the stories (nice example here). They no longer want to mass produce messages that work on a global level, and it’s working brilliantly!

The advantages of the online world for newspapers are many; low costs, cheap distribution, fast updates, and discussions with the readers. There was the nice example with the New York Times. They took down the paywall on their  site and their internet traffic rose by 40%, which started a snowball effect: they earned more money from advertisements, and they moved up the list on the Google search page, which led to even more readers.

Currently, the German regional newspapers are rebelling against Google, because they believe it doesn’t help their sites, especially on the Google News side. One prominent example of this is the “Braunschweiger Zeitung”, which has abandoned the Google News feature. Their  reasoning for this, in my opinion, made little sense: they wanted to show their confidence and independence from Google. They also want Google News to suffer for it; if many regional newspapers leave it, Google will have a problem. Yet in reality it would be their problem if they can’t be found! The whole story reminded me of this:

On the other hand, the Zeitung went about this in a clever way, as they started a massive marketing campaign in order to raise awareness and advertise the newspaper. However, They could have done the marketing campaign without leaving Google, and Google would only have supported it! The marketing campaign did increase the visits to their website by 27%, though, but I still don’t see how leaving Google helped with this.

So the big question we asked ourselves here was: why blame Google for the decline of the newspaper industry when all it’s doing is helping? (And why not Twitter, which would have made far more sense?). The facts:

  • Google is a great source of promotion. We send online news publishers a billion clicks a month from Google News and more than three billion extra visits from our other services, such as Web Search and iGoogle. That is 100,000 opportunities a minute to win loyal readers and generate revenue—for free.
  • In terms of copyright, another bone of contention, we only show a headline and a couple of lines from each story. If readers want to read on they have to click through to the newspaper’s Web site. (The exception are stories we host through a licensing agreement with news services.) And if they wish, publishers can remove their content from our search index, or from Google News.
  • The claim that we’re making big profits on the back of newspapers also misrepresents the reality. In search, we make our money primarily from advertisements for products. Someone types in digital camera and gets ads for digital cameras. A typical news search—for Afghanistan, say—may generate few if any ads. The revenue generated from the ads shown alongside news search queries is a tiny fraction of our search revenue.

Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google Inc, writing for the Wall Street Journal

It all speaks for itself, really. Readers also don’t necessarily want to read newspapers solely on digital platforms, as many in the newspaper industry fear. The actual percentage of people who do exclusively want digital content is at 10-12%.

“News is not one-size-fits-all” – Jeff Jarvis

The newspapers do not just have a problem with the Internet, they also have a content problem. They need to change their approach by tailoring news to target audiences rather than trying to reach everyone, which is why regional newspapers, like the Braunschweiger Zeitung are so important today. Dr. Andreas Vogel put it quite nicely in a study:

“Bloß die Verlage glauben, [dass sie] mit einem Einheitsprodukt alle Leser [gewinnen können]“

Roughly translated, this means that only the newspapers themselves believe that they can reach all types of readers by creating one mass product.

Dr. Vogel believes that one possible solution to this content problem is to differentiate the product by offering different versions of it. Not too many, however; perhaps three or four intelligently created versions, which can be decided on by polling the readers and asking them about their interests. These versions might be smaller/thinner than the original edition, and cheaper. This is a great idea, as it is more personal, which is so important these days, and it views the buyer as a reader/consumer. Many newspapers seem to ignore this; fact is, what might be academically recognized as quality journalism may not be something the reader can cohere. Newspapers need to connect to their readers, or at least write pieces that their readers can relate to.

Now back to the evil that is Google, according to publishing companies. A German organization, VG Media, own by a number of media companies like Axel Springer SE, sued Google for copyright reasons; they claimed that Google was stealing from them by showing short snippets of their articles on the search page. The result was a law, called the Leistungsschutzrecht, which forbids Google from showing these snippets (it is rather vaguely written, though). The result of all of this ridiculousness was this: October 1st, 2014, Google announced that it would no longer show the snippets, instead just the name of the article and maybe the author. They don’t even show the paper’s logo on the search page. And the papers are crying wolf at Google again. At the end of the day, what really happened is that the newspapers blamed Google for the problems they were having (and still are). They were simply afraid that Google was taking business away from them and thus making more money. Whereas in reality, Google only promoted and linked to their content, thus delivering readers to them on a silver platter! The PR brochure promoting this stated that “If someone wants to use our content, they have to ask.” It’s pretty easy translate this into what they really meant, and German blogger Stefan Niggemeier did so flawlessly: “Google must use it and pay”. Now Google isn’t using it or paying, and they’re left crying in the corner because they got what they wanted; Google doesn’t showcase their content anymore. And they will lose clicks.

Newspapers dead caused by publishers.001

ValueCheck! — Zeitung

© 2014 by Value Communication AG, Mainz/Germany

 

By Sudarsha Rambaran, Value Art+Com Fellow, Mainz

 

ValueLearnings

• Learn why Google is de facto a vital source of promotion for newspapers, rather than “the enemy“.

• Newspapers no longer have a mass market, but a new niche. Discover it!

• What a lot of newspapers think Google is doing vs. what they are actually doing.

 

Five years ago, in an interview with Horizont, media expert and author of “What would Google do?” Jeff Jarvis made some visionary comments about the future of the newspaper industry. He stated that society is being massively restructured because of the internet, however, Google is not the instigator of this process as many believe, but rather a result of it. These days, if you cannot be searched on the net, you cannot be found. The mass market for newspapers may be dead, but there is still a niche for them in the world. The news itself must change: it has to be tailored to target audiences, which is why regional newspapers can benefit so much from Google. Google itself is currently changing their whole marketing approach. They are concentrating on making the advertising relevant to local markets by personalizing the stories (nice example here). They no longer want to mass produce messages that work on a global level, and it’s working brilliantly!

The advantages of the online world for newspapers are many; low costs, cheap distribution, fast updates, and discussions with the readers. There was the nice example with the New York Times. They took down the paywall on their site and their internet traffic rose by 40%, which started a snowball effect: they earned more money from advertisements, and they moved up the list on the Google search page, which led to even more readers.

Currently, the German regional newspapers are rebelling against Google, because they believe it doesn’t help their sites, especially on the Google News side. One prominent example of this is the “Braunschweiger Zeitung”, which has abandoned the Google News feature. Their reasoning for this, in my opinion, made little sense: they wanted to show their confidence and independence from Google. They also want Google News to suffer for it; if many regional newspapers leave it, Google will have a problem. Yet in reality it would be their problem if they can’t be found! The whole story reminded me of this:

On the other hand, the Zeitung went about this in a clever way, as they started a massive marketing campaign in order to raise awareness and advertise the newspaper. However, They could have done the marketing campaign without leaving Google, and Google would only have supported it! The marketing campaign did increase the visits to their website by 27%, though, but I still don’t see how leaving Google helped with this.

 

ValueCheck! — Zeitung Illustration.001

© 2014 by Value Communication AG, Mainz/Germany

 

So the big question we asked ourselves here was: why blame Google for the decline of the newspaper industry when all it’s doing is helping? (And why not Twitter, which would have made far more sense?). The facts:

  • Google is a great source of promotion. We send online news publishers a billion clicks a month from Google News and more than three billion extra visits from our other services, such as Web Search and iGoogle. That is 100,000 opportunities a minute to win loyal readers and generate revenue—for free.
  • In terms of copyright, another bone of contention, we only show a headline and a couple of lines from each story. If readers want to read on they have to click through to the newspaper’s Web site. (The exception are stories we host through a licensing agreement with news services.) And if they wish, publishers can remove their content from our search index, or from Google News.
  • The claim that we’re making big profits on the back of newspapers also misrepresents the reality. In search, we make our money primarily from advertisements for products. Someone types in digital camera and gets ads for digital cameras. A typical news search—for Afghanistan, say—may generate few if any ads. The revenue generated from the ads shown alongside news search queries is a tiny fraction of our search revenue.

Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google Inc, writing for the Wall Street Journal

It all speaks for itself, really.

 

ValueCheck!
Please also check out Andreas Weber’s post, “Zeit-ung ist gleich Zeit-um?”, about a local newspaper here in Mainz, the Mainzer Allgemeine Zeitung!

 

Value Art+VCom | ValueCheck Bruno k. Ingelheim.001

© 2014 by Value Communication AG, Mainz/Germany | Photos/Animation: Andreas Weber, Edition Value Art+Com

By Şükran Ceren Salalı, Value Art+Com Fellow
on her preview experience, September 4th., 2014

The time for saying good bye to Mainz is arriving, so I plan to see the places that I have never been before. As a nice coincidence, Mr. Weber prepared us a very nice trip to Rheinhessen, where I had not had the time to visit, in order to do our last ValueTalk! about my Erasmus internship and the overall experience here in Mainz.

While we were traveling across the scenic Rheinhessen area, we passed through several towns and one of these was Ingelheim. We stopped by a nice building which has a wine cellar and looks like a wine factory. There, we met Bruno K. alias Bruno Kleber, an artist who has been creating a very disruptive art for almost thirty years. His next surprising exhibition, Saalwächter 20/14 — Eine skulpturale Intervention (The Door Guard 20/14 — A Sculptural Intervention) will take place in Kunstverein Ingelheim’s temporary new location between September 11th., 2014 to October 12th., 2014. It’s changes and transforms the environment in a way I’ve never seen before.

As the first guests of the exhibition which is still ‘‘under construction‘‘, we had the chance to see his impressive installations. And we had a personal conversation with Bruno K. who is a charming person, full of ideas and humor. From a wine storage to a rocket, Bruno K. created a wonderful atmosphere in different rooms to create on a premium level an Art Center for Kunstverein Ingelheim. The building consists of several rooms (spanning many floors) in which Bruno K. depicts his installations in different themes but mostly related to soldiers and guards. For instance, he organized the basement with an Utopic name Apollonia (just opposite the fascinating Olga!) with a huge rocket (of which you can only see the bottom part) and the rest with various equipments from the military. The content is pretty artistic, even down to the smallest details; he  arranged a sound systems room in which you can hear melodies from old Western movies. Yet, the sound effects are not the only contributors to the impact of the exhibition: the artist also makes use of very compelling lighting effects.

If you want to experience a disruptive artistic style with a beautiful collection of installations, please visit Bruno K.’s exhibition which will take place in an extraordinary, inspiring and last but not least very unusual and unique environment. — Sorry I cannot join the opening today because I had to leave already to get back to Istanbul. Enjoy and be inspired.Dankeschön. Tschüss. Perhaps I will have a “come-back” quite soon!

 

Value Art+VCom | ValueCheck Bruno k. Ingelheim.002

© 2014 by Value Communication AG, Mainz/Germany | Photos/Animation: Andreas Weber, Edition Value Art+Com

 

 

Deutsche Fassung (Übersetzt von Andreas Weber)

Für mich war der Zeitpunkt gekommen, meine Abreise aus Mainz vorzubereiten. Dazu gehörte, noch einige Orte in der Region zu sehen, die bislang fehlten. Zufall oder nicht, Andreas Weber hatte die Idee, eine kurze  Fahrt nach und durch Rheinhessen zu unternehmen, um währenddessen die Zeit meines Aufenthaltes, die damit verbundenen Erfahrungen und die Ergebnisse unserer Projektarbeiten im Rahmen meiner Erasmus Internship abschließend zu besprechen.

Auf unserem Weg durch die wunderbaren Landschaften Rheinhessens, durchfuhren wir einige Orte und landeten (für mich unvermittelt) in Ingelheim. Wir hielten an einem besonderen Gebäude an, das wie eine Mischung aus Weinlager und Weinfabrik aussah. Dort trafen wir Bruno K. alias Bruno Kleber, einen Künstler, der eine für mich disruptive Art und Weise pflegt, Kunst zu schaffen. Und das seit über 30 Jahren. Die jetzige, hiesige für mich überraschende Ausstellung “Saalwächter 20/14 — Eine skulpturale Intervention”, die vom 11. September bis 12. Oktober 2014 im neuen temporären Ambiente des Kunstvereins Ingelheim stattfindet, verändert die Räumlichkeiten, indem sie transformiert werden. Und das in einer Art und Weise wie ich das noch nie sehen konnte.

Als erste Besucher einer Ausstellung, die noch nicht eröffnet, also noch “under construction” war, konnten wir beeindruckende Installation sehen. Und wir konnten persönlich mit Bruno K. sprechen, der sehr charmant, voller Ideen und humorvoll ist. Im Zentrum: Eine Weinabfülllagerhalle, nun Raketenbasis — die Werk- und Arbeitsräume werden in eine wundervolle Atmosphäre versetzt, die alle Räume erfasst und künstlerisch transformiert. Damit erreicht der Kunstverein Ingelheim aus dem Stand heraus das Premium-Niveau eines “Art Centers”. Das Gebäude verfügt über zahlreichen Räume (über mehre Etagen verteilt), die Bruno K. mit unterschiedlichen Themenideen bestückt, um- und ausgestaltet. Oft mit Versatzstücken aus dem Soldatenmilieu und Militärbereich. Zum Beispiel widmet er in der grossen Halle unter dem utopischen Namen “Apollonia” (gegenüber der faszinierenden Figur der Olga!) in eine Ragte mit Abschussbasis um, wobei man nur den ganz unteren, kleinen Teil der Rakete sehen kann. Alles ist umgeben mit militärisch anmutendem Equipment. Jedes Detail stellt aber einen künstlerisch geprägten Inhalt dar, verstärkt durch Sound Systeme, die zum Beispiel Melodien von alten Western Filmen wieder geben. Es bleibt aber nicht nur bei Klangeffekten, der Künstler setzt mit hohem Geschick die unterschiedlichsten wirkungsstarken Beleuchtungseffekte ein.

Es lohnt sich diese disruptive Kunstauffassungen, das disruptive Kunstschaffen mit einer wundervollen Sammlung von Installationen im Raum (und in einem Ensemble von Räumen) im Detail zu erkunden und zu erleben. Bruno K.’s Ausstellung wird der außergewöhnlichen, inspirierenden und letztlich ungewöhnlichen sowie einzigartigen Umgebung gerecht. — Sorry, dass ich nicht selbst bei der Eröffnung dabei sein kann. Ich musste schon nach Istanbul reisen. Genießen Sie es und lassen Sie sich inspirieren. — Dankeschön. Tschüss. Vielleicht bin ich ja bald wieder zurück!

 

Value Art+VCom | ValueCheck Bruno k. Ingelheim.003

© 2014 by Value Communication AG, Mainz/Germany | Photos/Animation: Andreas Weber, Edition Value Art+Com

 

 

Foto: Andreas Weber

© 2014 by Value Communication AG, Mainz/Germany (Left: Sükran | Right: Sudarsha)

 

By Sudarsha Rambaran, Value Communication Fellow, Mainz

A couple of days ago, became clear to us that many print companies believe that the internet and social media are fatal to their business. After discovering this, Şükran and I went on to research why that is; as digital natives, we could not imagine why print is believed to be a dying breed, especially by the printers themselves.

The research yielded some surprising results. I googled the term “print companies” and I found quite a few print companies from the US that are using the digital world wonderfully to their advantage. For example, Print Three is a Canadian company which has a beautifully designed website and a modern and innovative advertisement on YouTube. I loved the advertisement, since it was very customer-oriented and did not focus on explaining the technology of the printers, as printing companies tend to do. Instead, it elucidated the products, and fixated on what the company can do for “you” (i.e. the customer). They also have a sister company, Eden, which offers help on a social media level and also utilizing the web in a coherent way. Another impressive example was a company called AlphaGraphics, which works with a similar business model as Print Three.

I also came across a blog, written by UK expert Matthew Parker. It was like social media marketing for dummies, as he breaks it down into three simple steps and their advantages:

1. Create interest

  • Customers will take more of an interest in you if you stay in touch and send them valuable information.
  • Become a valuable resource for the customer; make sure you are the person they go to if they need something

2. Start engagements

  • Post interesting information, thus encouraging discussions. Why? Because every action has a reaction!

3.   Create opportunities for offline engagement

  • In order to truly do business successfully, you have to move the relationship away from social media in the final step
  • Use social media to set up human-to-human meetings

The above is such a simple concept, so I really don’t understand why it seems to be such a problem for printing companies.

 

Please read as well Sükran’s survey results.

Or watch the full movie with all results by both of us.

 

 

Vortrag Dresden 2014.046

© 2014 by Value Communication AG, Mainz/Germany

 

By Şükran Ceren Salalı, Value Art+Com Research Fellow, Istanbul

Even though print became very practical and popular with the new personalization techniques provided by attempts of various printing companies, the sector faces a crisis. Based on this, our intention was to research about the value of printing with its two faces that we called as the beauty and the beast.

My personal experience during the research was a kind of surprising. What I know as huge and famous companies in printing sector like Xerox, HP (as vendors) or Vistaprint (a leading Online printing service provider), were actually the ones who had the largest amount of complaints from their customers. Actually, the situation is also somehow related with the high amount of customers they have, however; this does not mean that they are successful and satisfying as much as they preach. Most of the complaints of customers were about the price, the technical quality of machines and the inadequate ink system. Moreover, most of the comments came with the business card demands of customers, a very simple print application.  For instance, a customer of Vistaprint was complaining about the way the company created their business cards and what he was unhappy about that they did not provide a business card holder. What he highlights made me think about the importance of personalization either by the design or by the gift attached to the printed product.

Innovation talent has to be approved

On the other hand, the success of an innovative print service provider like Elanders Germany came up as proof of increased amount of new and smart companies in the printing sector. When I read about their challenges and solutions, I was able to compare those disappointing results that came up from the companies like HP and Xerox.

As a last point, what I have found was an impressive article, or let‘s say the letter from a business developer who works for Xerox The Netherlands. In the letter, he gives several points about the value of printing and the paper. According to him, paper is much more influential than any other interactive platforms as it takes people into the digital world, being the most catchy product for customers.

Hence, as a result of the research on the two-faced value of print as the beauty and the beast, the printing sector faces with crisis which requires more innovative and communicative attempts from already famous and big companies by getting rid of technical problems of machines and by focusing more on the expectations of each customer with personalized products, benefits and even gifts.

 

Please read as well Suri’s alias Sudarsha blog post.

 

Or watch the full movie with the research results by both of us.

Value Art+Com Dietmar Collage Sükran blog post.001

@ 2014 by Value Communication AG, Mainz/Germany | Compositing: Andreas Weber | Paintings: Dietmar Gross

 

By Şükran Ceren Salalı, Value Art+Com Fellow, Istanbul

Apparently, the rich culture and environment of Mainz and the Rheinhessen area inspire many artists in town. After I arrived the city, I visited several museums and art galleries. One of them was Kunst Direkt 2014, an art exhibition that took place in Rheingoldhalle as a very nice building situated near the river Rhein. There, I had chance to meet the painter Dietmar Gross and to catch up the spirit in his artworks in detail.

Dietmar Gross was not born in Mainz but studied art in Johannes Gutenberg University. He is not only a talented and productive artist but also very-well active person in art community in Germany by being the chairman of Kunstverein Eisenturm Mainz e. V. KEM and the founder and head of Oppenheimer Sommerakademie. As well as this, he is a great supporter of a whole bunch of third party art activities.

It was amazing to experience the art of Dietmar Gross. In the very beginning, I thought that I was looking at several brilliant photographs. When I got closer, I saw the colours and the painting suddenly showed itself. In that moment, I was overcome with a kind of unusual but fascinating impression built on me. I have seen many surreal artworks from various artists, however; the way Gross paints and depicts human and animal bodies made me think that it is a kind of realism of surrealism which is very disruptive and charming.

Each painting seems to have various symbols and meanings to perceive and  you cannot just look and pass it. Especially, as a part of his style, he always paints on a black background which is also makes him different than many other artists.

Two of my favorites from his selected collection, Hildegard von Bingen and Selbst und Skelett, are also like pieces of high value photographs which amazed me through the depiction and density of colours. In Hildegard von Bingen, one can see every single detail as if it is a photograph of a woman, and one can realize even the marks on her lips. Moreover, looking her eyes, a spiritual and holly impression comes over with a wonderful lineament. When it comes to Selbst und Skelett, is an example in which he depicted himself for a self-portrait with a skeleton with his surrealistic but realistic style.

As a disruptive but fascinating experience, I was glad to meet and to talk about art with such a talented and extraordinary painter, Dietmar Gross.

 

Click here to get more information on our Value Art+Com InSightOut art book publication celebrating the art of Dietmar Gross. Read More

Value Art+Com — ValueCheck Wim Koning 28.08.2014 in Mainz.001

© 2014 by Value Communication AG, Mainz/Germany. Photos by Andreas Weber

 

By Sudarsha Rambaran, Fellow, Value Communications AG

 

ValueLearnings

  • Learn what a business model looks like to innovate print communication
  • Learn how to benefit from high quality ink-jet technology innovations
  • Learn how to become a smart communicator in the field of print applications

 

The meeting this morning with Mr. Koning was my first ever client meeting, and it was certainly fascinating. Mr. Weber had already briefed Şükran and I on the product and business model that Mr. Koning is trying to promote here in Germany. The idea is simple, yet brilliant: personalized printed cards, advent calendars, playing cards, wine bottle boxes… the list goes on. The products can be printed on a special new printer model created by the Japanese company Screen. It is an inkjet printer which can print onto thick paper that already has cut patterns and markings on it. It saves a lot a time and work because the paper is pre cut, and usually the paper is printed and then cut, which can be impractical, as if there is a mistake in the cutter the whole product can go to waste.

The product not only works on a personal scale, but could also work brilliantly as a customer relations model for big companies, for example in the automotive industry. If they’ve sold a car, they can send the customer an advent calendar counting down the days until they receive their car with a picture of their new car and their name on it. The best part is, they can even put bar codes (which can be scanned by smartphones) into the doors which lead the customer to links informing them on extra products for their cars, for example, winter tires, navigation systems, tow links etc. which would certainly not only increase the profit margin but keep the dealers happy as well. Mr. Koning put it quite nicely, calling it a win/win/win situation: the customers, the dealers and the company are all happy.

The meeting was very interesting for me, as I had never experienced a client meeting and I was curious to learn what a business model looks like. Mr. Koning is a very charismatic person and he knows exactly how to present his product. The problem he is having in Germany is mainly with the printing companies, because they don’t like the idea of only printing a few copies of a product, rather than printing thousands of copies; that’s what Value Communications is going to help him with. Additionally, the printing companies charge per page rather than per product, so for them it makes no sense to only print 1 page per product, but the page itself guarantees far more revenue in this case, as it is sold as a product rather than a page. As well as this, all the other companies he has talked to up until now have loved the idea of the product, but they are simply afraid of the work it would mean for them, i.e. the data processing etc.

I also think the idea is exceptional; if I were a customer, I would definitely be happy with receiving something like the advent calendar whilst waiting for my product to be delivered.

Please watch our Video documentation as well. Its amazing!

 

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,207 other followers