US-EU Media Conference: Evolving Business Models in the Newspaper Industry< Back
Journalism is arguably an industry in crisis. Realizing the vital role newsrooms play in maintaining freedom of speech and democracy, IESE's Dr. Bill Baker, Distinguished Professor of the Practice of Management in Media & Entertainment, recently convened a symposium to address challenges confronting newspapers in Europe and America. About 70 top-level executives from international press organizations and legal scholars met at IESE's New York Center on July 8, 2010 to discuss the present state of the industry and fresh approaches to rethinking effective business models.
Dr. Baker conducted the session's opening remarks. Dr. Eckhard Bremer, a partner of Hogan Lovells, and Dr. Jan Hegeman, a partner of Raue, began the program with insights into the current situation of the online German press. The presentation by Dr. Bremer concentrated upon the press' relationship with the dominant German search engine, Google. Dr. Hegeman then continued the program by elaborating on the press' efforts to change German copyright law. These efforts have been moderately successful; measures to grant additional rights to publishers are currently under debate in public government forums.
George Mason School of Law Professor Laura Bradford presented on protecting digital content in the United States. She discussed the possible use of copyright and misappropriation legislation to defend the rights of publishers, but cautioned that the First Amendment would make courts reluctant to grant automatic injunctions.
The program then segued into a discussion on the industry's evolving business models. Understanding the consumer is critical to regaining the business edge, stressed Tom Curly, the CEO of Associated Press. Matters are made difficult by the fact that many in the industry have been slow to adapt to the online environment and lack an understanding of the internet consumer, according to Mr. Curly. Sri Kasi, general counsel for Associated Press, introduced various innovative methods the company has developed to better understand their online market.
Alisa Bowen, a managing director for Thomson Reuters, emphasized the importance of audience management to a successful business model. According to Frank Rose, contributing editor for Wired Magazine, the internet is the perfect medium for the press. Publishers can use the participatory nature of the web to create a complete user experience. Christopher Vollmer, a partner of Booz & Co. Consulting, urged participants to focus on their own brands as media assets. IESE New York's Academic Director, Professor Luis Cabral, concluded the program with a comparison between the music and newspaper industries.