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Hubert Burda Media on making publishing profitable

With more than 200 titles across multiple global regions, Hubert Burda Media is one of the most recognisable faces in international publishing. With both Frances Evans, director of international licensing for Burda International, and Ian Levy, CEO of Burda Brazil and Burda Iberia at our disposal, we launched straight into the big questions facing the media industry today.

On data

Evans: Basically we make sure that we grow our database and that we have a depth of knowledge, a richness to the database, so that we can analyse and understand what the audience is doing and what they’re searching for, what kind of products they would like, and we create products and innovate around the data that we have. And obviously with regards to technology that’s a platform basis to an extent, so we can create different kinds of products for different kinds of platforms, and then we have a lot of live events.

On mobile

Levy: We are basically working on an operation that is addressing more. Social media yes on mobile, but it’s not a big chunk of our business so to say. I would say it’s a passive way to look at it, not an active way to look at it. We’re not building in our case in Brazil yet platforms specifically for mobile. 

Evans: Though it has to be said that Burda Style does actually have in some of the other markets some mobile apps that are geared towards choosing [sewing] patterns for downloading and so on.

On localisation...

Evans: So of course we have localised products in different markets, so you can see that our platform or our social media platforms, also our event platforms and things like that, they’re very much geared towards a local market. Most of the endemic clients are global players but they make local decisions because it’s based on the return on their investments on the sales that they make locally. 

…and monetisation

Evans: And those are not very big companies in the sewing industry so they have very limited funds. So it’s very very important to them that whatever we do for them, or the content, the creation, the strategy we provide to them, it’s actually turned into transactions for their sewing machines, or for their materials or for their other products. So if you’re unable to create that transaction or that conversion into actual sales with what you’re doing you won’t be successful. And we have actually been extremely successful in bringing in advertisers who were not interested in going into a print only platform to going into this multi-platform approach.  

On print

Levy: When we approach the endemic Clients with the print proposal they will say ‘no thank-you’ they don’t even want to talk to us. Once we introduce the ecosystem that we’ve built up around the print platform, then they were interested in talking. Print for us is still relevant on single copy and subscription revenue base, but not as advertising. It is also very important in terms of branding, in terms of being the start-up platform for launching other platforms, but the relevance of print is decreasing. The forecast is that it will decrease even further in the business model we’ve presented the Burda Style case, in Brazil.

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