Content and context will be the key to digital media success in the 21st century, according to publishing giant Bertelsmann.
This was the core message delivered by Werner Lauff, president and chief executive of Bertelsmann's broadband group, to delegates at Mipnet 2000 yesterday.
At the same time, the publisher said it will launch an interactive broadband service in Europe later this month. The company claims to be first in the region to take advantage of broadband through both TV and the internet. The service will initially be available in Frankfurt on 15 April with a full European rollout expected over the next few months.
"Content is king; it was and always will be," said Lauff. "Context will change in terms of production, delivery and new devices - you can only survive if you put content into the new context".
He predicts that fewer people will read newspapers as connectivity improves. "They will get their news from mobile devices linked to broadband."
Content providers will have to learn to customise their content for consumer demands, he said. "Consumers are not going to wait for news, they want customised news sent to them every two hours."
The same rules will apply to book publishing, music and TV, said Lauff. "You will have to think in Cs: connectivity, communication, convenience, communities, customisation, commerce and convergence," he said.
"The killer applications will be those that are interoperable and work across mobile phones, organisers, TVs and PCs. A medium that looks like the TV, but works like the net".
Lauff warns companies not to dabble in multimedia or launch ecommerce initiatives without thinking them through properly. "Don't try to do a little multimedia unless you can launch a whole service like AOL," he said.
"Ecommerce is a big opportunity, but 28 per cent of all shopping sites fail because they are too complex," he added, citing researcher the Boston Group as a source for the figures.
However, Lauff said the future is rosy for publishers and producers. "Where would manufacturers and network operators be without content and creativity?" he asked.
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