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Borja Bergareche, director of Digital Innovation at Vocento

Within the framework of the Worldwide Seminar on Journalism and Communication held last week in Córdoba, inside the framework of the Ibero-American Congress of the Spanish Language, Borja Bergareche, director of Digital Innovation at Vocento Lab, shared with Adepa his experience with the modifications that the Spanish media group in recent times. He additionally reflected on the totally different challenges that journalism faces to obtain revenue within the digital age.

How does the digital innovation area work in the Vocento Group?

We created it at the top of 2014, when the Spanish media began to lookup after the disaster. Then we saw that it was time to make selections. Every thing changed very quick and at the strategic desk, the place the choices have been made, because there must be individuals with a profile with more editorial sensitivity, for the content material, for the product. And that's where, little by little, the position that I’ve now as Director of Digital Innovation is created, which has two elements: doing and considering.

The considering half focuses on analyzing developments and touchdown them and packaging them for the Management Committee, for the CEO. Up, but in addition down. And here is the place I say that the problem is rather more to say “no” than to say “yes”. That is, figuring out find out how to determine that not every little thing new is relevant to your corporation. We have now lived in a moment that stated “How cool is Snapchat!”. Properly, identical to Snapchat in my life I have not spent a minute.

And the part to do is a small finances of pilot tasks, to not only preach innovation in the word earlier than an audience. We do pilot tasks as a result of to generate realities, making an attempt things …

Where do you assume innovation happens in European media at the moment?

I feel the large change has been a sort of abduction of the business by certain platforms -Google and Fb above all-, which led us to optimize every little thing we do within the distribution of content material outdoors our properties. Be good at Google, be good at Fb, capture audiences. As a result of the speculation stated that it might be sustainable with the mannequin of digital advertising. I consider that, thank God, we’ve got spent slightly introspective moment in the business. We took a moment, we appeared inside and we look at what type of content we’ve to do to unravel the large drawback of this business, which is the era of revenue. In different phrases, past saving journalism, saving democracy, and all of the grandiloquence that we will put, in the long run what is going to save the business and, subsequently, save democracies sooner or later, is to generate revenue.

In terms of content material we have now gone on to find out what content material we should always do for these readers who will assist us be more worthwhile.

That’s, those most loyal readers, most recurrent, most frequent, and optimize what we do in journalism each day. In the “funnel” of clients we went from being very targeted by those who handed by once in a while (who discovered you on Google or Fb, who come a few times a month to read your content material, which haven’t any relation to your model and they do not search for you) to the ones under, people who do look for reference manufacturers, because it is theirs that we will get hold of extra profitability in any case.

That is, yet one more innovation in technique, in the strategic view of the business …

In the menu of what we do the contents for, it’s to inform clearly. But in addition considering of loyal readers which might be going to make us more profitable in any case. Not so much within the distribution outdoors our platforms, however come to us because we are necessary in their lives. There’s born the guess to the subscription mannequin, and that is the nice change: of the algorithmic distribution of content material in platforms that we do not management -and that have messed up the conversation- we go to work so that folks get from us what involves look in us.

Why has not it been straightforward to impose a subscription model in Spain, because it has occurred in different European nations?

I feel that to research a market the question is what sort of stability / imbalance exists within the relationship with the large platforms. And Spain is one of the markets that, as a result of it is an intermediate market (that’s, the place publishers are actually small, with a language that’s common), the asymmetry could be very, very robust.

In the Nordic nations it’s a lot much less robust. It’s much less asymmetric, as a result of Google and Fb have less incentive to enter, as they are smaller markets. But the French just like the Spanish we are confronted with markets where Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Amazon are very lively … There was a sure stability and a certain rearmament of the editors with respect to the platforms, for what we compete, which is the advertising market. And there was a rearmament in several issues.

The subscription model is a approach to rearm us because, as I stated earlier than, it makes us give attention to journalism and quality content material versus viral contents, which have been dangerous for our manufacturers. It makes us consider our clients, not on Google and Fb clients who land on our headers occasionally. And it makes us think about a direct monetization strategy, which does not rely upon Google and Facebook changing their algorithm in order that our outcomes fluctuate.

So, there have been some essential rearmaments, which in Europe has been very clear. I consider that somewhere else it’s much less. They are the alliances of publishers and rivals for programmatic promoting or consumer registration. I feel these are the 2 areas. In Spain it was the first and not the second with Godó, Vocento and Prisa. We are about to increase the market in early April. The programmatic advertising alliance … to which others can be added, which is one thing that we’ve got seen publishers do in the United Kingdom, in France, in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland …

To what extent have they innovated and developed in the era of new revenue channels?

Salvation won’t come from subscription alone. And salvation just isn’t going to return from balancing the promoting market. Salvation will come from having a diversified revenue mix that’s a lot higher than we’ve got now. What is going to occur? Between subscription revenue, dissemination and advertising. The subscription and diffusion develop in proportion terms, and the advertising is there however lose some proportion. When wanting at proportion phrases, the query is whether or not that market is going to decrease. Properly, I feel that eagerness is cheap. If you speak to the Financial Occasions and even The New York Occasions, they inform you: “Look, we want to reach X million subscribers because that day we will know that we can be sustainable, even without advertising”.

And we should add a third method. And there we’re too, at least once we speak about innovation. Not just video innovation, social networks, tales, however we speak quite a bit about enterprise innovation. And I might even spotlight a pair of issues.

There’s one which I feel is fascinating that we name “Local Digital Kit”, which is a business-to-business product to protect the market of our regional newspapers a bit. You’re a hairdresser from San Sebastian or Murcia, the place probably the most extensively learn local newspaper is ours, and a newspaper business involves you and says: “Hi, how are you? I’m a business of the newspaper La Verdad de Murcia. We need to provide help to digitize your absolutely analogue hairdressing enterprise and we'll offer you several things for a small month-to-month subscription payment. We created an internet web page with some very primary templates that we’ve … “

That can be put together by any service provider that doesn’t have a designer or digital editor. We place it in search engines like google, something that isn’t within attain of its prospects because we use the positioning of our informative marks. We make it easier to publicize digitally and offer you a reservation administration software.

That is very small SMEs. And nicely, with that we digitize them. We offer them a service, we convert them into digital advertisers for us and that may be a method of revenue, little in phrases of quantity, however they are shoppers that had by no means been clients of a newspaper earlier than. We launched that timidly, but we have already got it in all our newspapers.

Have additionally they innovated with the occasions?

In events we’ve got ordered the home a bit, since if we added all our newspapers we might do lots of of events a yr. Some very profitable and a few unprofitable. Then we have now adjusted a bit and we now have discovered that there are events that may be very profitable and really giant events that may be very unprofitable. But all our newspapers, and more these days with advertising, are part of the subscription mannequin. It’s a must to be present in your society, in your communities, in your corporations, in your universities, as half of your editorial advertising strategy at the service of the subscription.

There, what we have now completed just a little in a different way is that this technique of diversification in a couple of areas similar to gastronomy and Spanish. And perhaps now the two events where we earn money. We’ve got acquired in 2 years for 6 million euros the “Madrid Fusion”, which is the most important gastronomy event in Europe, which last yr, the first operational yr, has meant an revenue of virtually 7 million euros, and a revenue of virtually 1 million. They are returns that may permit us to internationalize. We are going to take it to Colombia, to the Philippines, the place we’ll search to open new avenues of revenue for the corporate.

We additionally consider that they’ve a very natural match with our newspapers, as a result of consuming and consuming for our readers and our newspapers is essential. We’ve content material, we’ve occasions, we now have signatures, we have now critics. And that is now what we are going to develop with what is a brand new unit inside our accent on gastronomy. It’s far more worthwhile. I feel it's a very fascinating route.

The other event is “El Futuro en Español”, which seeks extra institutional sponsorships … It's an occasion concerning the language and the company in Spanish, or Spanish-speaking nations on each side of the Atlantic, right? Journalists, teachers, corporations, institutional actors go a bit. We now have finished it already in Argentina and in Colombia. And in addition there, in the long run are methods … in that revenue mix it’s a must to go to the finances of other things.

What can you inform us concerning the technique they’ve in e-commerce?

E-commerce is conceived as an extension business of new local brands. In different phrases, our e-commerce known as Supply Plan. We now have developed it and you have the Supply Plan the mail, Supply Plan ABC, Supply Plan the essential journal. That’s, if you would like a discounted menu in a restaurant or tickets to go to the cinema at a reduction, your newspaper is selling it to you. Then it is in that framework of belief and relationship. It has been a number of years, but we’ve got more than 700,000 individuals they usually have left us their credit card. It leaves us a revenue of 200 million euros per yr.

And the classifieds are a stronger guess. Vocento is the one group in Spain that has digital classifieds: of motor, employment and actual estate. They’ve suffered quite a bit in the disaster, however now all three have grow to be profitable. We converse of a income of 20 million euros annually.

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