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    Internet News Provider: Integration or separation?
    The Media Conference 2000


Integration or separation? Newspaper or media house? Does the newspaper have a future in its present form? These and other questions were discussed over and over again at this year´s media conference. Looking back, we have learned at lot regarding the challenges and pitfalls, the newspapers should be ready to face.

BY: Niels Messerschmidt
nm@agi.dk

In future the new strategy for SAXoTECH is not solely to develop systems to the newspaper industry, but also to develop online workflow solutions for, among others, magazines and corporate publishing, reflecting the paradigm shift which the newspaper industry is confronted with today. The subjects on this year´s Media Conference 2000 touched some of the same problems as last year´s conference, and thereby underlined that newspapers cannot enter the 21. Century without considering new media.

Several of the speakers pointed out that, among the newspapers, which already use new media (read: Internet), too many are too conventional in their way of using new media – implicitly saying that on-line editions more or less are a copy of the printed edition. Werner Elhauge, SAXoTECH, spoke out for the many new possibilities, which electronic publication has opened the way for; user customized access to the home page, links to e-commerce systems, interactive forums and chat functions, etc. Furthermore, the newspapers should make use of the statistics they can get about reader net habits in order to better target the content.
On this site you can watching free movies online for every taste and any time

Integration or separation?

A discussion panel, on the first day of the conference, disclosed that access to the new technology, and with it also the new business possibilities, are is not something people totally agree on. The relationship between the traditional and internet-based activities was the subject of discussion – should the electronic activities be integrated in the company, separated into an independent company or offered to a 3. party supplier.


Through the use of screens the size of what you find in a movie theatre and the most modern in audio visual equipment that stage was set for delivering the many messages of the Media conference to all the participants. Here is a glimpse of SAXoTECH´s product presentation.

That asking questions comes natural to news providers was evident among the more than 130 participants. The questions mainly focused on the newspapers role in the new media environment.

Werner Elhauge from SAXoTECH (in the background) giving a more indepth introduction to the company´s strategy to some of the participants who wanted to get the low down on what is to come.

With a clear understanding of the journalist´s role as creator of the newspaper´s main competence Uffe Haagerup, from Jyllands-Posten said that the objective remains – for the journalists to collect, process and communicate trustworthy information – because the net activities originate in the employees, who can version the articles for use in the different media. As spokesman for gathering the activities in one place he pointed out that you thereby can secure the newspapers voice much better in the new media and achieve a certain synergy effect between the two media.

The opposing point of view was stated by Arne H. Krumsvik from Dagbladet in Norway. Here the net activities have been separated out in an independent company and its competences are handled by employees without links to the traditional newspaper house. Arne Krumsvik referred to an analysis by the Forrester research institute. This shows that European offline publishers consider the new media from a paper angle, and that this is the primary reason why they did not succeed in going online. Forrester´s conclusion is that „print must reinvent content creation“.

According to Arne Krumsvik´s opinion newspapers who divide the time between running traditional and Internet based publication, will soon be overtaken by pure on-line newspapers, who work more determined with the media and therefore faster get a foothold. As spokesman for separation he thinks that the business area gets an intensified strategic focus, a larger economic freedom with increased flexibility, which promotes the development of new business areas.

However, both agreed that the question of integration or separation has a basis in the complexity of the newspaper, both internal and external. Local newspapers will therefore typically with advantage be able to integrate the net activities in their other activities, however there are many indications that larger and more national newspapers obtain a better focus by isolating this area.

On the way toward becoming a (multi) media company.

As a convinced backer of the pure net newspaper the Founder of the net newspaper “Nettavisen”, Norwegian Knut Ivar Skeid in another speech made the provoking statement that the newspaper as a paper edition is dead within the next 20 years. Not only as a consequence of a declining advertisement basis, but also because of a number of social factors, among others.:

• telecommunications creates a boom in teleworking

• the value chain within traditional newspaper production is too expensive and

inefficient

• increasing environmental requirements

• a newspaper subscription is developed for the old-fashioned, traditional family with a stable and lifelong relationship

• increasing demands for fast communication of information

• The PC-generation turns its back on the print newspaper

Knut Ivar Skeid pointed out that the Internet newspaper at the same time is both a mass media, a business-to-business and an interactive media. Linda Overgaard from DR Online went even further in her view of the possibilities to integrate audio and video in on-line newspaper (à la CNN). And spoke out for the point of view that a real multi media Internet newspaper has to focus on enabling the citizens in a democratic society to act efficiently.

The basis of the media house of the future, where all media are equal, is a movement away from selling a newspaper to selling solutions, which to the largest possible degree consider and match the customers demands. With this statement in mind Magnus Sønstebø, Tønsbergs Blad in Norway, formulated the three T’s slogan– Things Takes Time; implicitly saying that even this change demands tempo and a certain amount of action. You cannot start out with a total solution, as you continuously have to re-estimate the strategy in a concurrent motion on the road to the goal. Furthermore, Magnus Sønstebø, emphasized the importance of maintaining a fix point in the business area from where you started, so you do not put all eggs into the same basket. Going on-line in his opinion should take place in cooperation with close allies, which fill in the media, where it is efficient – by means of which width and depth at the same time are achieved.

SAXoTECH extends its position

The Conference arranged by SAXoTECH has a debate forum for Scandinavian SAXoTECH users and a presentation of the latest products of the company as a returning item. This year SAXoTECH could reveal a new and very comprehensive co-operation agreement with Quark regarding OEM-rights for among others Quarks Digital Management System. On the basis of which the company achieves a quite unique position in the market. At the same time SAXoTECH starts a new business area. SAXoTECH offers newspapers to have their systems running centrally at SAXoTECH, whereas the newspapers should only have thin clients on the workstations. In American this means that SAXoTECH will become ASP (Application Service Provider), a supplier of EDP-services. In this way the newspapers can subscribe to a complete software solution, in which SAXoTECH takes all the trouble of maintaining hardware and software for a fixed monthly amount. In relation to this Werner Elhauge said that SAXoTECH will upgrade the existing products, so they in the future will support parallel cross media production.

Once again this year the media conference introduced an informative and exciting program, which more than 130 participants from all over Scandinavia could bring home as an inspiration to how exactly their newspaper should pull through in the coming years.


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