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Changes in the cross-border business environment, explained

Julie Hansen, president of Business Insider, Alexander Broch, head of international business and licensing, Axel Springer, David Woodley, managing director of Time Out International and Mike Lovell of Meredith Corporation spoke with host John Cabell, founder and CEO of Cue Ball about how companies are restructuring their businesses to operate in a new environment of cross-border business and branding.

John Cabell ()

The session took place today at FIPP’s World Congress in Toronto, and some of the opportunities and issues discussed included business models, the digital to print transition, traffic and analytics and audience development.

The new model

Cabell said there is a “brave new world in international publishing” where the model has moved to be much more free form, often is digitally lead with a focus on content with multiple revenue sources. The old model was print based.

Not that print is dead, though. Broch says that he still finds print interesting. “It is reliable,” he said, “It still leads.” That said, he believes this is changing: exemplified with the interest he gets from partners that are interested in purely digital content.

Lovell said: “It depends on the market. Digital has its advantages,” for example, building databases. He gave the example of Successful Farming in Brazil, where they struggle to distribute a print-based product and so have focused on digital circulation – but they hope to have a print product in about a year.

“We are digital first, and mobile first,” Woodley countered, explaining that the print market has been suffering.

“What makes Business Insider so successful,” added Hansen, “is that we are digital first. We love digital. If you analyse our content, there is plenty of tradition matter there – like text based articles and interviews. But we also have GIFs and digitally specialised content. Digital is the best platform for story telling.” 

Importance of platform and brand

Hansen said, “what makes Business Insider great is the platform.” Platforms have names now and “Viking” is the one that Business Insider has. “Viking is built for speed and social distribution and has all the tools our editors need to create a website.” The real time analytics are built in to the site, which is good for business. You should believe “your platform is built to support your brand,” she said.

Lovell added that “passion and excitement and enthusiasm for brands is necessary. If it’s lukewarm that’s a big red flag. You’re not marrying potential partners, but you are dating them – and you want to date someone who is enthusiastic.”

What’s trending in cross-border business

Broch: “Video. The content is perfect for us. The passion of cars is easily transmitted in video.”

Woodley: “Blogging to engage our audience. And films.”

Lovell: “Sharing information and new marketing ideas quickly between partners.”

Hansen: “Video, social sharing, ideas and content.”

There was a consensus that technology has become a necessary aspect in moving forward.

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