BusinessWeek last week had an article on the Berlin daily Bild, which in 2007 had its most profitable year ever.
Wait!? A newspaper that’s more profitable than ever?!? How is that possible?
Once again, a magazine buries the lead. Here is most of the last two paragraphs:
I suspect the real reason German papers still thrive is their embrace of competition. Unlike so many U.S. papers, Bild was never part of a quasi-monopoly that allowed complacency. It’s telling that Bild doesn’t deliver —it depends on newsstand sales. “Bild has to prove itself at the kiosk every day,” says Deputy Editor-in-Chief Michael Paustian.
That pressure helped Bild maintain its focus on original content. It uses almost no wire copy and brags that every story is an exclusive. Even during the crisis years, Bild kept its 800-strong editorial staff intact.
How about that? A paper that focuses on local news and passes up the crutch of wire copy, and it thrives.
Another moneymaker for the paper is both intriguing and a bit disconcerting, and can be found if we peruse the penultimate pair of paragraphs (he he):
German papers also took advantage of how slowly Europeans embraced the Web, which gave editors a chance to learn from U.S. mistakes. Bild used a partnership with Deutsche Telekom, Germany’s biggest Internet provider, to gain a foothold online at minimal cost. Now most of Bild‘s Web readers go straight to the site rather than via a search engine or portal. Diekmann says YouTube (GOOG) is sufficiently impressed to mull working together.
I’m impressed by the way Bild is staking out the mobile Web. Via a partnership with Vodafone Group (VOD), Bild became a mobile-phone provider, selling prepaid airtime at the same newsstands that sell the paper. Bild Mobile gives customers unlimited surfing and downloads as long as they stay tuned to bild.de. That’s a compelling way to keep users glued to your site, and it has made Bild Germany’s No. 1 mobile Web news destination.
I’m not sure I want my mobile service linked to specific media, but I may be a Luddite fuddy-duddy.
In other news news, Georgian journalist Tamara Urushadze took a bullet and kept on bulletining.
When she displays her wound at the end of the clip, she says “I have been hit by a bullet. You can see I am scratched here. Most likely it was a sniper. It has most likely been a light weapon since it’s a minor wound.”
Bonus T-ball news:
We held our opponents to three measly runs in the top of the first extra inning, then got our first two of ten batters on base. Things were looking good but a force-out at second and four straight pop outs/line outs to shortstop put us in a hole. We got one single to load the bases, then another pop out to first led to the inattentive baserunner at first being doubled off. Our last batter came up with two on and could only ground one in the deep hole at first. It scored two runs, but we needed three. We play to win the loser’s bracket tomorrow.