Don’t reorganise because you’re in bad shape, reorganise because you want future growth

Tell us how you’ve changed the company in the last three years… (0:02)

We wanted to reorganise the company. We don’t have to reorganise the company because we have been in bad shape, we had to do it because we could see that for the future the old model isn’t working anymore. And therefore we had to develop the company towards a multi-platform publisher and that was a move we went through in the last three years. It’s never done, it’s never ended, it’s a living strategy, but there are learnings from that process over the last three years.

Is more radical thinking required throughout the publishing industry? (0:30)

I absolutely agree the discussion in our industry is about, well, conserving the things we have, but it has to be about how to develop the things ahead of us. And all that discussion about for example ad-blocking… it’s a little bit worthless. Because that’s how the world is changing, we have to deal with it. We don’t have to try to stop it, we have to deal with the developments, and have to see what we can do outside of these developments. That’s a point we have to do deal with and our industry is very conservative, and from time to time they are talking about innovation but they do not do innovation!

How important is it for publishers to embrace ecommerce and grow their income streams? (1:07)

For our understanding it’s very important, because we have to establish a link – a direct link – to our audience. And that has to be an ecommerce platform where we can sell anything. We can sell our products: subscriptions and magazines, we can sell that, we can sell the digital editions, we can sell single articles, we can offer them for downloads, we can offer lead generation programmes through the ecommerce platform, but we can sell anything else. We are selling merchandising products, we are selling the tickets for our events, for our seminars and congresses – we are even selling tickets for our journeys we are doing. Therefore, we consider our ecommerce platform to be absolutely important, and absolutely necessary.

Are there any particular areas of the industry holding back change? (1:50)

No it has not to do with special departments, it has to do with the question ‘Are you able to go a different way?’ Are you able to rethink what you are doing, and to develop new ideas out of what you are doing? If you are only following one way – don’t look right and left – then you will not succeed. That’s the most important part of the whole change process. You have to educate your people that they are able, that they are indeed willing to rethink their approaches and then to develop out of these new ideas. It has to do with the people, it has not to do with the CEO or the people at the top of the company. It has to be a bottom up process and not a top down process. We can only help them to rethink it, we can’t order them to rethink.

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