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How Axel Springer uses start-up lessons in digital and print

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How Axel Springer uses start-up lessons in digital and print

“Each and every start-up has a so-called mission, and our mission is that we would like to become the leading digital publishing house,” Drensek added during his presentation at WAN-IFRA's World Printers Forum in Hamburg, which took place Wednesday as part of World Publishing Expo 2015.

While such statements might seem more in line with a digital conference than one devoted to print, Drensek also pointed out that Axel Springer still prints more than 3 million papers every day and has applied some of their digital learnings to their print operations.

One of Europe's largest media companies, Germany-based Axel Springer is best known for its Bild and Welt Group brands, and is active internationally in some 44 countries. The company has a staff of 14,600 and had a turnover of more than 3 billion euros in 2014, Drensek said. In just the past two weeks, Axel Springer acquired Business Insider for approximately 395 million euros, and then one day later announced its intention to acquire a minority stake in Thrillist, a US-based digital media group.

Bridging print and digital

Among the ways Springer has tied its digital learnings to print, is through the development of an inkjet imprint as a bridge between print and digital in that each printed paper carries a unique code of numbers and letters. This print code enables the buyer of the print newspaper to access content behind the Bild-plus paywall for a fixed period of time. Bild-plus itself has gained more than 260,000 digital subscribers since 2013, he said.

However, Drensek added that inkjet technology could do much more – in areas such as micro-zoning and real-time bidding.

Likewise, he sees many opportunities in the area of 3D printing, which can be used in the harmonising of the product with technology and marketing. For example, printers could produce spare parts “on demand,” which would minimise storage costs, or developing new added values and markets for readers and customers.

“We could do lots of things, but we need to have the willingness to do so,” Drensek said.


Brian Veseling's picture

Brian Veseling


2015-10-08 14:21

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