World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Starting from scratch

Starting from scratch

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What if you invented a newspaper today without the legacy of 400 years of newspapers? That was the challenge of News+, a Bonnier iPad publication that bills itself as "beginning where newspapers leave off."

Pontus Schultz, Head of Business Development for Bonnier R&D

In May 2010, Bonnier gave iPads to its existing Dagens Nyheter subscribers and asked them what the company should do with the new device.

Here is how Pontus Schultz, Head of Business Development for Bonnier R&D, described what happened:

"They started to tell us about the downside of tablets. How will we share different sections around the table? It's so heavy, how can I read it in bed? Then they started talking about the digital advantages – beautiful pictures, video and the ability to do updates.

"We realized that the subscribers we had still quite liked their newspaper – they're not out there looking for a new solution. So it probably wasn't going to be a replacement product."

The company then determined what people were willing to pay for. "If you ask the newsroom, they'll say news," says Mr Schultz. "We talked to 300 subscribers, and I'm prepared to say that news is in 4th place, and is moving lower and lower. It's actually behind advertising as a reason to buy a newspaper. That's not so surprising – news is a commodity, you can get it everywhere.

"What's coming out on top is the identity part – someone would say, 'I'm a business person with a good career, I want my business paper, because I want to go to my meeting and be smart.' But what was more interesting is, there is a new tiredness with the internet. Not the internet itself, but the constant flow of the internet. That's not the point of the newspaper, the point of the newspaper is to create a point where times stand still.

"What is also interesting is that both our existing subscribers and our free readers have a clear willingness to pay for the role of an editor. They expect us to be innovative and new, but with a newspaper perspective."

The result, News+, provides updated news, opinion, analysis, culture, interactivity, video, extensive use of photos, new ad formats and more – a paid-for news product for the new tablet devices, created with the help of existing newspaper subscribers.


Larry Kilman's picture

Larry Kilman


2011-04-13 18:41

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Here are the summaries of all speaker presentations at Digital Media Europe, that was held in London from 11-13 April 2011. Read more ...