Burda’s transformation detailed at FIPP Ibero American conference
Fabrizio D’Angelo, CEO, Burda International and chairman of FIPP today spoke about the transformation of the company at the Ibero American conference today in São Paulo, Brazil.
D’Angelo said that since the mid-90s, Burda has been undergoing significant change, which started with realising that the “digital turn” was going to be important. Lots of experimentation occurred, and money was lost. But D’Angelo said that this helped Burda to learn, and as the company moved into the 2000s, flexible tools became available and the company experimented with venture capital participations and startups. “We also experimented by buying small stakes in companies,” he said. And from 2010, Burda began starting companies from scratch.
So what works for Burda? “Young, talented executives can be trained and they understand the digital business. Not just young in terms of age though – you have to be willing to run forward,” he said. “Some managers understand what it takes to create integrated business models. This has changed over the years, though, when one or two main revenue streams fragmenting into 10/12. And this differs by country.”
After being involved in so much transition, D’Angelo’s advice to attendees was to “brutally change habits”. “We still launch and buy magazines, we still do launches, but they’re not based on the old business models. We activate a multiplicity of things, and print is just one of these things. When it works well, print can be 30-50 per cent of the game.”
Interestingly, Burda has started using new software that connects its sites to ‘real’ shopping experiences. “We either get commission on what we’ve sold, or revenue for the link,” he said. “And it’s working incredibly well.”
He concluded: “Down the line, there will be segments that do not make it and specific areas that might not be quick enough to adapt. But in our experience, in terms of business models, it’s possible. We made it work in niche sections (e.g. craft), and there’s a chance with others.”