We all know when it comes to news, the paper is no longer a model of success. And it is not only the dailies that need to come up with new business models. Condé Nast for example is opening colleges and offering to write portraits for private individuals with their editorial team and photographers. Their latest coup: Style.com will be transformed into an e-commerce platform – which means the publishing house will have touchpoints with fashion from its first idea to the actual sale.
For my friends at Edenspiekermann I conduct a series of interviews with players of the industry about “The Future of Publishing”. We kick off with Lorenz Maroldt, editor-in-chief of Der Tagesspiegel, one of Berlin’s most relevant news brands.
Here’s a few highlights from the interview.
Who is the person that still reads print?
A broad variety of people. Not just the traditional ones that don’t know anything different. There are quite a number of people who say “I like, once a day, preferably in the morning, to have a one-stop read and not be exposed to this constant stream of information.” They might be a physician or a lawyer or the guy who sells vegetables who are not online all the time.
But newspapers do change radically. Today we do things that maybe happened in a weekly publication before. The traditional relaying of news is only to prove that we know the agenda.
Despite all the information that we have available at our fingertips – do you think we will always need editors, who process and condense information for us?
Yes, I think so, whatever we may call that person. Why do we follow certain people on Twitter? It’s usually the ones that condense information that’s relevant to us and present it in an interesting, reliable and quick way.
On the whole, wouldn’t it make more sense to use indicators like revenue across the entire brand as an indicator for success, rather than the number of subscriptions or clicks?
I think that many publishing houses made the mistake of being too short term with revenue. We are lucky that our publisher follows long term strategies. We do not depend on the next quarterly report and lurch from one panic to the next if the numbers aren’t right. Many other houses made journalistic cuts as they saw their revenue decreasing, so they wanted to cut expenses.
Of course revenue is a key indicator for success. However, there are other criteria – the innovation rate for example. How often does a house come up with innovations? We look at how many editors work on new projects. I think that at least half of our editors do – one way or another, so I think we’re doing a pretty good job.
Click here to read the entire interview.
Image: Andreas Labes