Conference Summary: WAN’s Digital Media Europe Conference

The World Association of Newspapers‘ Digital Media Europe conference was held in London, England on April 11-13. Speakers shared insights on app development, group buying sites, monetization strategies and other relevant digital trends and topics affecting the industry. Presented below is a summary of the key ideas from the conference.

Tablets and Apps

  • Currently: Tablets have 4% penetration. Owners tend to be early adopters, who work in media, and have high disposable income.
  • Advertisers: According to Daniel Rosen, Mobile Managing Director, AKQA agency (U.K.) brands including Volkswagen, E-Bay, Amazon and Gap are already advertising on tablets. He believes that brands will go where their consumers are. And some brands will use it to differentiate themselves and stand out from the clutter.

Industry Examples:

  • News+, a Bonnier iPad publication, bills itself as "beginning where newspapers leave off." It presents beautiful pictures, video and the ability to updates. In research they learned that there was a willingness to pay for apps that are effective editors as well as being eloquent presenters of the materials.
  • Die Welt newspaper app was chosen App of the Year by iTunes in Germany for 2010. It is like a newspaper but is always up to date, includes videos, can be stored, shared and provides tomorrow’s issue the night before. It sells for 15.99 Euros a month or 129.99 a year.
  • Bloomberg gives its app away for free. Their objective is to build the brand. They found there were many people who learned about Bloomberg for the first time through the app. At present, they are using the platform to increase engagement and grow the business.
  • One month after launch, the iPad-only magazine, Project, is the best-selling paid app in the world. Project is a joint venture between Virgin and the agency Seven Squared. The app changes constantly because it’s always connected. And it reacts to the environment, using geo-location and positioning.

App Lessons
Renate Nyborg, Head of Business Development for A&N Mobile & TV (U. K.), presents some insights into what they have learned about apps:

  • Be careful about data collection and advertising in paid-for apps – users might object
  • App Store reviews can make or break you. "If you get five bad reviews, people won’t download it after that."
  • Leverage what you have internally – get advertising space and support from your own products
  • Use external marketing but if you’re new to this space, consider hiring an agency or a person with experience in marketing apps
  • Don’t spend millions building an app for just one platform
  • Don’t launch an app without marketing in place – it will die

What is Google’s One Pass?
One Pass is a tool that manages access, authorization and payment for publishers’ content, directly from the publishers’ websites. It allows publishers to control pricing, content and the business rules, while Google responsible for authentication, payment processing and customer support. The two share subscription data. The revenue share is 90/10, with publishers getting the bulk of revenue.

Building a Coupon Site
Serge Taborin, Group Business Director of the UK regional publisher Archant, presented a case study of how the company bought the group buying site ‘Tickles’ and developed it in their local markets as an alternative to Groupon. Mr. Taborin poses that the following are critical: sales force buy-in, focusing on the right deals, maintaining commission rates, recognizing that not every deal works (but 4 or 5 bad deals in a r