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    New deal brings Scandinavian global film production player together with leading Swedish independent.

    Still from Waltz for Monica, starring Edda Magnason

    Scandinavian film producer and distributor Svensk Filmindustri has entered a three-year deal with Swedish independent production company StellaNova Film and producer Lena Rehnberg. The deal includes all rights for the StellaNova new slate of films during the time period.

    Lena Rehnberg and StellaNova Film have produced some of the most successful feature films in Sweden during the last five years, including the 2013 biopic and box-office hit Waltz for Monica.

    "Lena Rehnberg  and StellaNova Film are a very strong force within the Swedish independent film production community and we are thrilled to have her as a partner," says Jonas Fors, CEO for Svensk Filmindustri. "Her films have an undisputed track-record at the Swedish box-office, so it is of course very exciting to represent her films locally and on the international market. We couldn’t be happier."

    The first film included in the deal to premiere is the romantic comedy Love is a Drug. The film stars Izabella Scorupco and is planned for a Christmas 2014 theatrical release in Sweden. 

     


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  • 05/26/14--06:52: Trading Places, Part 2
  • Bethany Whitfield of Flying Magazine in the U.S. and Jonathan Nordin from TV4 in Sweden talk about what it’s like to switch positions under the GROW program. 

    Bethany Whitfield and Jonathan Nordin

    What are you working with?
    Bethany Whitfield: My job is to work with TV4’sYouTube channel, but I’ve ended up working not only with YouTube a lot, but even other social media, like setting up a contest on Facebook. I’ve been helping a lot with Welcome to Sweden, which is the only English show that TV4 does itself – things like putting together a blooper video for YouTube, for example.

    Jonathan Nordin: It’s great that Bethany can help with Welcome to Sweden, since it’s a show that’s been bought in the U.S. and they’ll show it there as well. It’s a good example of how we can really cooperate across countries. Bethany is creating buzz for the show that will help with selling it further.

    BW: You bring the techniques and knowledge from your own brand, it’s something I can really contribute with.

    JN: As for me, I’m doing some of what the managing editor at Flying does – which is coordinating the whole editorial process. But I’m also spending half of my time working with digital stuff, using my experience to help the team with doing videos.

    Do you have a lot of contact?
    JN: Pretty much every day.

    BW: Exactly. Any questions or concerns that come up, we get in touch. For example I just got a suggestion from Jonathan for a headline.

    JN: For both of us, we’re working in a constant editorial process so we just shoot questions to each other when we need to.

    BW: It’s funny, we have a very unique relationship, we’re always in touch online but we’ve never met each other! I’m jealous of all my colleagues in Winter Park who work with Jonathan.

    JN: And I’ve met Bethany’s parents and brothers! When I first got here, Bethany’s father took me out for a plane ride, since I’m working for Flying magazine. I’ve been up three times now. A few of the guys on the team are pilots and I actually thought about getting my pilot’s license but it takes a lot of paperwork ahead of time so it ended up not really being practical.

    BW: My first week here, Jonathan and my manager Niclas Janson set it up for me to see a live taping of Let’s Dance, it was the first time for me to be on a TV stage set. It was so exciting even if I had never heard of the Swedish stars on it. But now I’ve been working with the show so much, I feel like I know them, it would be fun to go back and see it again.

    What have you learned so far?
    JN: I’ve learned the whole process of putting together a magazine. I’ve never worked with magazines before even though TV4 cooperates with newspapers like Expressen and Dagens Nyheter. But it means I know more about what Bonnier does, and I can use that to be better at collaborating.

    BW: I’ve been surprised at how similar things are really. But here in Sweden, the balance of life and work is much more important. And society is so calm and orderly, it’s less chaotic. Cars actually yield for you here when you’re walking--

    JN: All the cars here in the U.S.! It’s almost impossible to walk, people stare at you and cars definitely don’t yield. And it’s extremely hot, I didn’t expect it to be so hot. I really understand now why people like air conditioning, I’m almost sick of the sun.

    When it comes to the job, I’m impressed that there’s a team measuring just social media. We’re good at social media at TV4, but not quite as good at measuring it.

    BW: All the video skills I’ve learned are invaluable. We’re working hard on improving our video content at Flying and this will really help. And I don’t know what I’ll do without the Swedish chocolate fudge cake when I go home.

    Any final words?
    JN: I didn’t know so much about the bigger Bonnier and I’m much more interested now – I had no relation to it but with GROW, I’ve gotten so much more of a broader perspective and a feeling for what we do and how we can cooperate. I hope that will continue.

    BW: I agree. I have so much more appreciation for the large spectrum of what Bonnier does and how we relate to each other. We have so many similar challenges, like how to innovate and how to reach younger audiences, and so much we can learn from each other.

     


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    Self-published in Norway, with extra help from book publisher Cappelen Damm.

    DinEbok

    Late last year Cappelen Damm’s online e-bookstore Digitalbok.no launched a new self-publishing book service in Norway: DinEbok. The service lets aspiring authors put up their books on the e-bookstore under a special section just for them.

    “First, the author has to register himself or herself as a publisher at DinEbok,” says Tomas Schreiner, the brain behind the service at Cappelen Damm. “After that she has to upload metadata, including an ISBN number for which you have to register separately with the proper authorities, a cover shot and an ePub file. Once this has been submitted, we publish the book under the “selvpublisering” tag on Digitalbok.no.”

    While self-publishing might seem on the surface to be in competition with traditional book publishing, for Cappelen Damm the decision was clear.

    “With the positive results from self-publishing in North America, it will be only a matter of time before every country in Europe follows suit,” says Schreiner. “It makes much more sense to be part of and develop this end of the book market if this is an unavoidable part of the book market's evolution.

    "Plus, looking to North America again, there is no reason to believe that self-publishing will not produce some bestsellers, and that new bestselling talent will be discovered through this channel.”

    Cappelen Damm handles both distribution and sales of the titles, so it also takes a cut of the sales.

    And how have the authors, self-published with a bit of help from Cappelen Damm, done so far?

    “We did expect that some quality books would be submitted and that they would perform good, but not necessarily as quickly as we have seen,” says Schreiner. “We have considered one of the contributions so far, due to his popularity, but nothing has been picked up by Cappelen Damm yet.”

     


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    Today, Sydsvenska Dagbladet’s contract to acquire Swedish local daily Helsingborgs Dagblad was finalized, pending approval by competition authorities. The contract was based on a letter of intent announced on April 23.

     


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  • 05/28/14--09:55: Little Bee Books Launches
  • New U.S. imprint focuses on books of all kinds for kids.

    little bee books

    Bonnier Publishing is crossing the Atlantic.

    The U.K.-based book publisher has started up little bee books, a new imprint in the U.S. The titles from little bee books will be aimed at children 12 and younger, and will include from non-fiction and picture books to early learning concept books, plus board books, novelty books and activity books, as well as licensed products.

    Plans are to launch 50 titles in spring 2015, and 150 total by the end of that year.  The books will be distributed in the U.S. and Canada by Simon & Schuster.

    “This is something we have been planning for some time,” says Bonnier Publishing CEO Richard Johnson. “It is a major part of our international expansion strategy.”

    The new imprint will be run by Shimul Tolia, who will serve as president for the imprint. Tolia most recently served as editorial director for Sandy Creek, a division of Sterling Publishing.

    “All of us at little bee books look forward to launching and growing our business,” says Tolia. “Our goal is to curate a vibrant and robust publishing program that engages and connects with our audience.”

     


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  • 06/05/14--07:33: Trading Places, Part 3
  • Elizabeth Besada and Per Widell discuss trading magazines for books and New York for Stockholm, in Bonnier’s exchange program GROW. 

    Per Widell and Elizabeth Besada

    What are you each working on?
    Elizabeth Besada: I’ve been working at Bonnierförlagen with marketing e-books on Google Play and Apple iBooks, finding more creative ways to sell books. I’ve also gotten pulled into a lot of side projects that make sense for me to work with, like an app that we’re developing for outside Sweden that will be in English, plus a book from Henrik Fexeus that we’re thinking about producing in English to launch in the U.K. and the U.S.

    Per Widell: I’m working with the Integrated Sales Development team of the Men’s Group at Bonnier Corporation. I've been involved in the work to increase sales of enhanced digital ads in the iPad editions of our magazines.  I also have some smaller side projects, like linking products in our iPad magazines for purchase through affiliate programs, comparing our digital ads to those of our competitors and some database management as well.

    Do you have a lot of contact?
    EB: We spoke quite a bit beforehand, but not much since we started.

    PW: We follow each other on social media a lot though. But in terms of work, I get all the help I need from my colleagues. They’ve really helped me both on and off the job.

    EB: Yeah, my great New York co-workers – you’ve become friends with all my friends now!

    Have you experienced any major differences?
    PW: One of the biggest differences is that here in the U.S., I’m working more for the underdog since people really don’t know Bonnier much, in comparison to Sweden where Bonnier is almost more well-known than some of the brands.

    EB: For me, it’s totally different to be working at this amazing old publishing house, it’s just, well, beautiful. And here in Sweden the work-life balance is so important. People are really focused on making sure your life is a happy one, on being healthy. For instance, one of my favorite things has become biking. I’m obsessed with it, we have bikes we can use at the office and you can bike everywhere here, totally unlike New York where it’s too dangerous to be biking in traffic. But I think Stockholm is easy to live in for a New Yorker.

    PW: Same here. Even if as a Swede you’ve never spent time in New York, it’s so familiar from TV and movies. You feel like you’ve been here before, it’s strangely familiar. And New Yorkers are actually much friendlier than you think. People talk to strangers more.

    Anything you’ll be taking home with you?
    PW: I’ve learned that the digital revolution is posing similar challenges for all of us. Magazines have an advantage in that they have more direct access to consumers because of the subscription model; they know their readers better. It's probably inevitable that consumers will eventually expect to be able to subscribe to digital books as well, maybe like the "all you can eat" business models of Spotify and Netflix.

    And the market for digital books in the U.S. is way ahead of Sweden. Being here, I’ve had a chance to go to conferences and listen to my colleagues and see how things are in a more advanced market. One good thing for Sweden in being a bit behind is that maybe we can learn from some of the mistakes that have been made here.

    EB: For me, I like how things are more thought-out here in Sweden, working with books. In the U.S., we have more freedom to test things but sometimes we just go blindly ahead. Here, people stop and look and weigh all the options, they want to make the right decision and not just take the fastest option. I like that. And I’m going to enforce fika [the Swedish coffee break tradition] when I come back.

    PW: Well, I’ve been impressed with the efficient and well-planned meetings, sometimes in Sweden we start every meeting with fika! And one more thing: conference calls like this with Skype, it’s a really good alternative to meeting in person.

    EB: I’ll also be taking back all the friendships I’ve made here, they’ll always be my friends. I love Stockholm!

    PW: Same here. And I love New York City.

    EB: We have to meet, Per – I mean, we have all the same friends now!

     


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    Swedish market leader in digital news services in environment and sustainability complements portfolio.

    Bonnier Business Media Sweden has purchased majority shares in MiljöRapporten Förlag, a knowledge company within the environment and sustainability that provides education and conferences, publishes the industry monitor MiljöRapporten Direkt and the paper MiljöRapporten. 

    MiljöRapporten Förlag focuses primarily on people who are environmental or sustainability officers within business, government agencies and localities. Miljörapporten is a market leader in Sweden within digital news services focusing on the environment and sustainability. The largest portion of revenues come from courses, seminars and conferences. 

    "We believe that this is an area that will continue to grow, since an increasing number of companies and organizations need to train their staff in sustainability issues," says Mikael Nestius, CEO for Bonnier Business Media Sweden. "Plus, rapid development within legislation, methodolgy and practices is taking place. W'e've been impressed with the strong credibility that MiljöRapporten has with the market, its digital success and the high-quality content of their training and conferences."

    MiljöRapporten will continue to function as a separate company for several years, even once Bonnier Business Media Sweden has taken over as majority owner. MiljöRapporten's founder Claes Sjöberg continues as minority owner and manager for the business.

     


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  • 06/10/14--07:33: Digital Push for TV4
  • With new hires and the recent TV4 Tech Meetup, the Swedish TV network has ever more focus on digital development as a company.

    Henrik Box, Rebecca Lagerkvist and Owais Mansoor on stage at TV4 Tech Meetup (CC-licensed photo by David Hall)

    Sweden’s No. 1 commercial network, the TV4 Group, is meeting the increasing demand for digital services head on. The network is on a major hiring spree to bring top digital talents into the company – and not just from Sweden.

    Recent hires include Miranda Conroy from Channel 4 in the U.K. and Veronica Pettersson from Schibsted, both of whom will work with data-driven development, personalization and building loyalty for on-demand service TV4 Play. Heidi Harman, a 2013 alum of Bonnier Accelerator and a founder of the international GeekGirlMeetup initiative, recently started as an interaction designer for TV4’s technology development division.

    “We’re looking for people who are engaged and knowledgeable about their fields, and who are passionate about development,” says Per Åström, who is responsible at TV4 for the technical development division, which includes apps and new platforms.

    “For my division, we’re looking for different development roles as well as quality assurance. In terms of competence, it’s extending the skills we have today. Now with more people, we have a greater range when it comes to seniority, which makes things more dynamic – and even better opportunities for the more junior people to develop.”

    One of the challenges in recruiting is getting the word out. “Those we already work with – employees and consultants or their friends already know what we work with, but most other people have no idea,” says Åström. “That makes it more difficult to recruit. I think Bonnier needs to highlight more technology and technology development in order to attract the right people to focus on the digital.”

    The TV4 Group is certainly working in various ways to spread the word – it recently held the TV4 Tech Meetup, an event aimed at students, developers from consulting firms, production firms and other technology savvy people. Some 100 people attended the event, where TV4 presented six projects its working with, such as how it tests mobile apps and new cloud-based services.

    “For us, it’s a way of letting people know that TV4 isn’t just a TV company but that we work intensively with technology and technology development,” says Åström. “We’re ahead of the curve in many ways, and we have some 30 positions working just with apps and the web, so that’s a wide range of what we work with. I hope we’ll do it again in the fall since it’s a fun way to combine the talents of our division while at the same time really get the word out.”

    You can see all presentations and read about Åström's team, what they're working on and thinking about at TV4's digital development blog at http://http.tv4.se (in Swedish). Or go directly to individual videos of the presentations (also in Swedish) from the TV4 Tech Meetup:

     

     


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    Abios Gaming and Codarica to Bonnier’s unique program for entrepreneurs.

    Sanna Nilsson, Rosalyn Knapp, Lovisa Levin; Birger Myrberg, Anton Janér, Oskar Fröberg

    Following weeks of jury deliberation and a series of interviews, two teams of entrepreneurs have been chosen to take part in Bonnier Accelerator 2014.

    The first team consists of Oskar Fröberg, Anton Janér and Birger Myrberg. They are founders of Abios Gaming, which aims to be the industry standard and go-to place for gaming enthusiasts who want to keep up with the latest tourneys, matches and teams on the eSports scene, including live matches. The company launched Abiosgaming.com last August.

    Fröberg and Myrberg are recent graduates of the Stockholm School of Economics and Janér is finishing up a degree at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology.

    “It’s going to be great to work together with Bonnier,” says Fröberg. “We look forward to continuing to develop Abios Gaming and giving eSport the recognition its fans are looking for.”

    The second team includes Rosalyn Knapp, Lovisa Levin and Sanna Nilsson. They are founders of Codarica, which produces educational material to teach children 5-10 to code, making coding more accessible and less intimidating while puncturing stereotypes. The company has launched an e-book in Swedish and English and has an app in development with more planned for the future.

    The three studied digital data strategy together at Hyper Island. Knapp has interned at digital agency CREATETHE GROUP, Levin at Spotify and Nilsson has worked at Klarna.

    “We have a ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ feeling!” says Knapp. “We are very excited to join Bonnier Accelerator and looking forward to all the intensive challenges ahead of us.”

    Under the program, participants get three months of business development training, a mentor, networking opportunities, office space and a stipend. At the end of the program they will decide with Bonnier whether to continue together and how. The program requires no equity of participants.

    “With so many interesting and well-developed digital business ideas, our work was cut out for us. But we narrowed it down to two exciting startups that we believe have a lot to offer and can really benefit from the program and the resources we have,” says Ulrika Saxon, CEO for Bonnier Growth Media and chairman of the jury. “Bonnier Accelerator is a win-win for us, it’s not just a way for us to support the digital startup scene, but also for us to find promising new companies to invest in on the ground floor.”

     


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  • 06/17/14--07:55: CEO News
  • Manfred Aronsson to C More och Johan Kleberg to Adlibris.

    Manfred Aronsson and Johan Kleberg

    Today it was announced that as of October 1, Johan Kleberg will be the new CEO for the Adlibris Group. At the same time Manfred Aronsson was presented as Kleberg's successor as CEO of C More.

    Manfred Aronsson has an extensive background in leading positions in the Swedish television market, including CEO of MTG Sweden from 2008 to 2012 and CEO of Kanal 5 (Swedish Channel 5) from 1999 to 2006. He also held the position of chairman of Canal+, as C More was previously called, from 2006 to 2007.

    Johan Kleberg got his start in the TV4 Group in 2004 and held a number of leadership positions in TV4 before he became CEO for C More in 2011. He began his career at MTG, with assignments including program director and vice president.

    C More Entertainment is the Nordic Region's leading provider of premium pay-TV services with a uniquely strong rights portfolio, particularly in sports, movies and television series—with some of the most popular sports and leagues, as well as films and series from many of the world's leading content providers. 

    The Adlibris Group is one of the leading e-commerce companies in the Nordic Region and consists of Adlibris AB, Discshop Svenska Näthandel AB and Bamba.se. The Group has a turnover of SEK 1.3 billion and 200 employees in Stockholm and at the distribution centre in Morgongåva.

     


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  • 06/23/14--04:30: Safeguarding Speech
  • In an excerpt from the Bonnier Annual Review 2013, Peter Wolodarski, Dagens Nyheter and Thomas Mattsson, Expressen discuss the biggest issues for media in 2013.

    Thomas Mattsson and Peter Wolodarski

    Meet two of Sweden’s leading editors as they talk with reporter Fredrik Sjöshult about the situation for journalists in Syria, the consequences of the scoop on NSA’s global monitoring and Edward Snowden, the Leveson Inquiry, Dawit Isaak and threats against press freedoms.

    On Syria

    The threat to journalism hit home for the Swedish media when journalists Magnus Falkehed and Niclas Hammarström were kidnapped in Syria at the end of 2013. The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists reported at the beginning of 2014 that 63 journalists had died in Syria since 2011. The organization also reported some 30 journalists were being held captive in Syria –several days later, the two Swedish journalists were released.

    Dagens Nyheter Editor-in-Chief Peter Wolodarski was heavily involved in the case, since Falkehed is a regular freelancer for the paper, even if he hadn’t been sent to Syria by DN: “Syria is hellish, mainly for the civilian population but also for all who are trying to bear witness to what’s happening there. We would like to send reporters and photographers there, but for security reasons we can no longer do so.”

    Expressen Editor-in-Chief Thomas Mattsson: “Expressen still has, from time to time, a presence in Syria but our reporter is extremely experienced and speaks Arabic. Journalists’ security is vital, but it’s unfortunately impossible to ensure the safety of the work environment for war correspondents.”

    On the NSA

    The Guardian’s revelations of mass surveillanceby the U.S. National Security Administration (NSA), based on documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden, wasn’t just the scoop of the year but also turned into a public debateon the role of media.

    PW: They were incredibly important to publish, perhaps the most important thing the Guardian has ever done. By revealing NSA’s mass surveillance of ordinary people, the paper started a global discussion of the individual’s right to privacy. The publication of the information will lead to big changes.

    TM: The disclosures in the Guardian and the Washington Post as well are signs of another strong media trend: the whistleblower. A number of the biggest stories in recent years, such as the Daily Telegraph’s news of the expenses of British members of Parliament and all the big papers that have published Wikileaks data, came from sources who often have turned to the media to provide news desks with information.

    Wolodarski puts the British debate following the Guardian’s disclosures into a global perspective.

    PW: The shameless attacks on the Guardian by the British government are unsettling in a larger perspective, since they risk encouraging dictators and totalitarian governments to do even worse things: “If a democracy such as the U.K. can allow it, why shouldn’t we take it even further?”

    TM: True, and you can add to that the widely publicized charges against the three Al-Jazeera journalists in Egypt. And in Eritrea, the country that ranks at the bottom of the freedom of the press index, Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak has been in prison since 2001 without even a trial.

    In the U.K., the Leveson Inquiry, established following the News of the World phone hacking scandal, has put forth a proposal for a new press law with government monitoring, which caused Mattsson to comment in his blog that “300 years of press freedom could be through.”

    PW: I’m worried that a single newspaper’s systematic abuse of press freedom could so seriously damage journalism. The U.K. has a long and proud tradition of safeguarding a free press. You have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    TM: Here we disagree, Peter, since government investigations showed that more than ten different papers used so-called “investigators” – detectives actually– in their research. Illegal wiretapping and phone hacking as working methods take things way too far when it comes to covering celebrities, but there’s another aspect here: namely that these excesses take place in a closed society without proper public policies that ensure at least transparency in public records.

    The two editors-in-chief are concerned as well about Swedish press freedoms

    PW: The misuse of Swedish press freedom laws by [criminal search database] Lexbase and other shameless online players puts the law at risk, which could restrict our tradition of a free press. I see this as a clear risk.

    TM: Lobbyists who push for restrictions on press and speech freedoms may gain support from populist trends, but it’s important that journalists stand up for and explain the importance to society of not inhibiting media’s ability to report the news.

    Note: This interview was conducted in February prior to the murder of Swedish Radio journalist Nils Horner.

     


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    Jessica MacDowall succeds Anna Bråkenhielm. 

    Jessica MacDowall

    Three years after launching Scandinavian Studios, Bonnier Growth Media buys out co-founder and CEO Anna Bråkenhielm’s shares of the TV format development company.

    The acquisition is made according to a common plan, and Scandinavian Studios is now a wholly owned growth company in Bonnier.

    New CEO starting July is Jessica MacDowall, Creative Director at Scandinavian Studios since 2011. MacDowall has developed formats and productions like Farmalicious, Top Teacher, Animal Protectors, among others.

    “Scandinavian Studios is now entering a new phase and I look forward to creating great hit shows together with our talented employees and clients”, says Jessica MacDowall.

     


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    Aquires the 35% owned by Telenor as of today.

    C More

    Bonnier and Telenor have entered into an agreement under which Bonnier will acquire the 35 percent of C More that is owned by Telenor. The change in ownership takes place today, June 27.

    “By taking over as sole owner, we are now creating full freedom of action for our work of identifying the best possible structure and direction for C More going forward, and for coming up with an optimal way of exploiting and developing C More’s very strong rights portfolio to best effect. That will be the task for our new CEO, Manfred Aronsson,” says Casten Almqvist, Chairman, C More, and Head of Business Area Broadcasting at Bonnier.

    Manfred Aronsson, who formerly served as CEO at MTG Sweden and Kanal 5, was appointed as C More’s new CEO last week. He will start work on August 18, succeeding Johan Kleberg, who will become the new CEO at Adlibrisgruppen.

    C More Entertainment is the Nordic region’s leading provider of premium pay-TV services, with a uniquely strong rights portfolio in above all sports, film and TV series – with some of the most popular sports and leagues – together with films and series from many of the world’s foremost content providers. Bonnier acquired C More via the TV4 Group in 2008 and Telenor has held a 35 percent share of the company since 2009.

     


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  • 07/28/14--02:21: Trading Places, Part 4
  • We talked with Mareike Hermes and Kurt Schulitz, who have swapped places for three months under the GROW program. They told us what it’s like to trade Hamburg for New York - and vice versa.

    Mareike Hermes and Kurt Schulitz

    What have you been working on?
    Mareike Hermes: I’m working in the online editing department for the Outdoor titles at Bonnier Corporation in New York. I’ve been setting up articles, blogs posts, social media campaigns, working in Drupal7 and getting to know more about Omniture software. For the social media campaigns, I’ve also been in contact with Weldon Owen, which publishes books for the magazines.

    I was able to participate on some meetings for sales programs and help to coordinate them, which is very interesting for me since that’s something we don’t really have to deal with in the book industry.

    One really nice thing is that I overheard some people talking about using [team collaboration software] Confluence. I introduced Confluence at Carlsen in Hamburg, so I talked to my superior Nate Matthews and ended up working together with Florida and set up a Confluence space and training for online editing with it.

    Kurt Schulitz: At Carlsen, they’re also working in Drupal and I’ve been looking at traffic numbers and engagement with it. My main duties though are in the marketing department, where we are working on turning the Pixi books, this popular children’s series, into apps. It’s been a real challenge to add animation and try to digitize all the original watercolor illustrations.

    MH: A colleague here shared with me Mag+, which they use for creating the iPad/iPhone version of the magazines here in New York, and it’s still work to put an app together, I can see a lot of similar challenges.

    KS: Yeah, there is no magic button for turning something into an app, it’s still elusive!

    What about off the job?
    KS: One of the greatest things has been being here during the World Cup with Germany winning. I’ve watched all the games.

    MH: We did it here too, I didn’t realize so many people watched soccer here.

    KS: It’s always been bubbling beneath the surface, Mareike. It was a breakthrough year though I think in the U.S.

    What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
    KS: That publishing is essentially the same whether it’s books or magazines. If you had unlimited resources, you could do anything but it’s all about prioritizing.

    MH: Yes, we’re facing similar challenges, you have so many good ideas but you need to choose what’s best and then plan for it. For me, I’ve also learned a lot about the relationship between advertising and publishing, about new market strategies, including the balanced combination of editing and advertising, how you should present online sites and how the media works here in the U.S.

    Not to mention I’ve learned about hunting and fishing. Plus I learned how to play softball, playing on the company softball team!

    Any cultural challenges?
    KS: I learned just a little German and tried to speak it, but then people would speak German back to me and I wouldn’t know what they were saying and had to ask them to speak English please!

    MH: Actually, things here are probably a little different of what you think about the U.S. – New York is so multicultural, for example, a lot of people are used to speaking more than one language and you get to know new people and cultures all the time. I really like that there isn’t really just one culture here.

    KS: Well, here in Hamburg, things aren’t so aggressive. It seems like there are no police and people drive so much more responsibly.

    What are your favorite memories?
    KS: The beauty of Germany, I went bike riding in Bamstadt, I went to the Black Forest. And I didn’t need to take pictures because I’ll never forget what it was like!

    MH: It’s going to be hard to digest it all. I met so many nice people. There’s just so much! Rooftop movies, the skyline at night, I got to go to a bunch of media and startup presentations. Some of my friends told me to write it all down, but I’m so busy actually doing the things, I will start writing on my way back.

    KS: One of the great things is that I got to see where my grandfather was born, that meant a lot to me. Really, just being able to come here as part of my job was such an incredible opportunity.

    MH: Me too! Three months is a good amount of time to really get to know a place. But it’s going to be an adjustment coming back: New York is so loud and crazy, really an amazing place.

     


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    Book publisher Cappelen Damm launches Storytel for audiobooks and e-books in Norway.

    Storytel

    Norwegian book publisher Cappelen Damm and Swedish book-streaming service Storytel.se have joined together to launch Storytel.no. The streaming service will offer both audiobooks and e-books in one subscription. The new service already offers over a thousand audiobooks from several Norwegian book publishers. In August, the service will start offering e-books as well, giving subscribers access to some 20,000 audiobooks and e-books. 

    For a monthly subscription, users get unlimited access to e-books and audiobooks in Norwegian, Swedish and English. Subscribers can listen directly from their mobile phones, tablets or computers via streaming - or offline. 

    "Cappelen Damm's alliance with Swedish Storytel is a digital milestone," say Øisten Wahl, publishing director for e-commerce and digital products at Cappelen Damm. "Together we have established Storytel Norway AS, with the two companies owning 50 percent each. At Cappelen Damm, we believe this is a huge step forward for our digital strategy. We are confident that this service will promote literature in a new way for the future. The technology behind it is absolutely world class and you can switch between listening and reading the same book.

    "In Sweden, Storytel.se already has 100,000 readers using the service and it is growing rapidly. And readers have proven to be very satisfied with the technology and the customer service. We believe that this new streaming service for Norway, like similar services in music and film, will be invaluable to the spread of Norwegian literature in digital formats."

     


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    Hot Key Books + Wattpad = Young Writers Prize.

    Hot Key Books' Young Writers Prize on Wattpad

    When Hot Key Books was looking for a sponsor for its third annual Young Writers Prize – a competition to find and publish writers aged 18-25 – it took a different tack from previous years, where the award was sponsored by the Guardian newspaper in its inaugural year, and then ebook retailer Kobo the second year. This year, the British publisher of books for children and young adults turned to Wattpad, an online community for writers and readers.

    “We knew Wattpad had built a thriving community around the written word and that there was a lot of talent to be found there. Our Young Writers Prize was in its third year, and we thought Wattpad might be a good third partner. We were about to be surprised!” says Sara O’Connor, fiction digital director at Hot Key Books.

    “The experience so far has blown our minds. We're extremely proud of our nearly 10,000 engaged Twitter followers, but that audience has taken us almost 3 years to build. With Wattpad, we hit 20,000 followers in three weeks – with probably 2,000 comments on our contest profile. 20,000 eager readers who are now aware of the Hot Key brand.” 

    People who say that teens don't read should consider that Wattpad is getting 121 million global unique visits every month, with the heaviest slant to 13-18 year olds, says O’Connor. “There are no gimmicks – these are people that are connecting over the written word, and we are absolutely loving being a part of it. Submissions close August 16, and we are eager to see what kind of voices there are to discover. Some of the entries so far have millions of reads.”

    While the competition runs and Hot Key Books has the attention of fans, the publisher is also promoting one of its own authors, Laure Eve, who is posting her book Fearsome Dreamer on the platform in installments with promotional support from Wattpad. Eve built a following of 12,000 followers in just one week. Says O’Connor: “The Wattpad community is hungry for quality content, and when they find it, they it shout about it very loudly, as you can see in the comments on Laure's story.”

    So, how does O’Connor view Wattpad from her perspective in the traditional book publishing industry?

    “Wattpad is a platform for discovery, for building audiences and celebrating writing and reading,” she says. “While most stories on Wattpad are not stories you could charge money for, they are all contributing to developing happy reading habits and driving excitement about books and authors. And one thing I can see clearly from the comments we've received, a huge proportion of Wattpad users still hold being published traditionally as a dream come true.”

     


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  • 08/11/14--07:43: Into the Future with Mag+
  • Gregg Hano, CEO for Mag+, talks about the advantages of the platform for business-to-business.

    Mag+ apps from Maserati and Shape

    As summer comes to a close, one of Bonnier Growth Media's portfolio companies, Mag+, has been having a busy season.  Mag+ is surpassing 3,000 apps and is looking to expand with several new employees. We caught up with CEO Gregg Hano and Bonnier Growth Media’s Ulrika Saxon.

    While Mag+ started out as a platform for publishing magazines, it has expanded scope since then – who is the target audience for Mag+? How has it changed over time?
    Gregg Hano: As one of the companies that helped pioneer content app development, Mag+ has a deep heritage in the publishing industry, with titles like New York magazine and Shape on our platform.  We are firmly committed to traditional publishing clients and to helping enable those customers to distribute content to their readers.  However, in an era where “everyone” is a publisher and where every corporation needs to communicate with customers and employees, it was natural that our dynamic platform and our business would expand rapidly into other categories with new use cases. 

    Our team always had the belief that mobile would completely change the content delivery ecosystem.  We also have believed from day one that anyone with quality content to share would be creating mobile content apps. We now support 3,000+ apps among 800+ clients in 62 countries. Our platform is being used by corporations like UnileverVolvo FH and Maserati, as well as a fast-growing number of well-known creative agencies serving businesses, who see the brand value, productivity and cost savings in creating mobile content hubs for employees, sales teams and customers.

    Gregg HanoWhat are the big advantages of Mag+ over other platforms?
    GH: To begin with our product is, as your question notes, a platform.  With all content going mobile, custom app development is simply not an affordable option for most customers.  However, apps are the ‘language’ of mobile because they are native to the device, secure, powerful, work off-line and integrate with other systems. 

    Our advantages include the ability to deploy in days, with a low financial barrier to entry, no ongoing maintenance costs and easy scalability.  The Mag+ platform appeals both to the one-man/woman operation (with no programmers on staff) who simply customizes our white label app, and to major corporations that want to build custom implementations on top of our software development kit (SDK), saving hundreds of coding hours as they customize more complex apps. 

    Can you tell us about some of your more interesting apps?
    GH: Unfortunately we can’t discuss all of the best-known global clients we serve, but a few great example of apps our customers tell us surpassed client expectations include Maserati and Shape.

    The Maserati e-Brochures App won “Gold Winner” at the World Luxury Awards held in Monte Carlo. Designed with Mag+ by Arachno, the app presents a stylish portrait of the Maserati cars.

    From beautiful slideshow images to downloadable recipes, in-app videos and fashion trend pop-ups, Shape takes full advantage of the Mag+ platform. Using our built-in third-party solutions, Localytics and Appboy, Shape is able to message specific segments of its user base.  For example, it can send offers only to non-subscribers or new issue notifications only to users who haven’t visited the app recently. These efforts resulted in powerful subscription and revenue increases.

    How do you see Mag+ developing and growing? 
    GH: The primary focus for Mag+ over the next 12-24 months will be aligning every aspect of our business to capture as much of the opportunity as possible in the exploding corporate and enterprise publishing market, while continuing to provide a great experience for our existing clients. That will mean ongoing optimization of our sales and marketing efforts to capture and close all the inbound interest. Plus we have some really exciting new developments on the product side to keep us in line with where the future of content distribution is headed and the needs of these organizations.  To accomplish that we are on the lookout for high-quality, forward-thinking talent to help us evolve and grow.  We are currently recruiting for several key positions both in New York and Stockholm. 

    Ulrika Saxon, board chairman for Mag+ and CEO of parent company Bonnier Growth Media: It’s been exciting to engage in the development of Mag+ over time, through the "evolution phases" of touch screens. We think Mag+ is a strong brand and continue to see great growth potential in Mag+ as a publishing platform for a wide range of content. 

    Read more about Mag+ at www.magplus.com.

     


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    Fast-paced performance with the best from nursery rhyme book series Barnkammarboken.

    Barnkammarbok Live

    Bonnier Carlsen’s classic nursery rhyme books, Barnkammarböcker, have long been a hit with kids and parents alike throughout Sweden. And now they’re a musical performance, with children’s program host and musical artist Nassim Al Fakir at the helm together with an ensemble of musicians and actors. The performances will be held at Göteborg’s Kulturkalas culture festival on Aug. 12 and at Stockholm’s Kulturfestival on Aug. 13.

    Together, the ensemble sings everything from kid’s favorite tunes about crocodiles, cakes and hugs, to classic songs from Astrid Lindgren, much beloved by Swedes for generations. The performance, which combines the music with Al Fakir’s own humorous stories about his childhood, are staged before a giant open book from the series, and invites the audience to dance and sing along.

    “The popularity of the Barnkammarböcker series is based very much on the joy of singing together,” says Annika Lundeberg, publisher for the book series at Bonnier Carlsen. “Now we get to do so on a much bigger scale, with one of Sweden’s top musical artists! As publisher, it’s fantastic to see how the books come to life and reach readers in a completely new way.”

    Along with Nassim Al Fakir, the performers include Mats Nilsson, Daniel Nilsson, Ida Doverstam and conductor Paul Helander. Script and direction are by Mikael Kallin, who has also done performances at Junibacken and Astrid Lindgrens Värld children’s attractions. Amusement AB and Cosmos Music Group are responsible for the idea and production.

     


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    Major restructuring continues at MTV with new partnerships and a new division.

    MTV logo

    Starting two years ago, Finland’s No. 1 commercial TV network MTV began an extensive restructuring of its business and brands. And the restructuring continues with two new major developments: the announcement of two strategic partnerships, one with Ericsson and one with Valve; and the division of MTV Oy into two entities, MTV Sisällöt and MTV Oy.

    MTV’s new strategic partner Ericsson will be establishing an international media center within MTV’s premises in Pasila, in suburban Helsinki. MTV’s television broadcast operations and material management, as well as its television technology development and support employees will be transferring to the new center. In addition, MTV’s news and sports studios, as well as the television technical systems for OTT-services will be moving to Ericsson.

    The media center, which commences operations at the beginning of September, will belong to Ericsson’s Broadcast and Media Services department, and Joachim Bergman, Head of Playout and Media Management, will oversee its operations.

    “Our objective is to develop new services together, and to ensure the continuation of our current ones,” says MTV CEO Heikki Rotko. “Our expectations are based on Ericsson’s excellent previous experience in Sweden, as Sweden’s TV4, which belongs to the Bonnier group, has been working together with Ericsson in a similar manner.”

    MTV and its digital marketing partner, Valve, will be establishing a joint venture named Valve Media. Valve Media will carry full responsibility in the production of marketing promotions, as well as developing channel and news graphics. The aim of the joint venture, which also will operate out of MTV’s spaces in Pasila, will be to develop the production of digital marketing together. MTV will retain responsibility for its brands and marketing them.

    MTV also will be altering its corporate structure, with MTV Oy split into two separate companies, MTV Sisällöt and MTV Oy. The production and acquisition of first-rate content, as well as the management of its rights is the responsibility of MTV Sisällöt. MTV Oy’s task will be the commercialization and distribution of content.

    “With the new structure, we are turning MTV into a company capable of reacting quickly to rapid changes in the industry,” says Rotko. “The new structure allows for modern and flexible working conditions, as well as the growth and development of the company. I believe that by reinventing our old structures and strengthening cooperation with our partners, we are turning MTV into a trailblazer in the field of media,” Heikki Rotko concludes.

    Simultaneously with the restructuring, Bonnier’s Finland-based companies will be increasing their cooperation to strengthen their customer service, with the customer service operations of magazine publisher Bonnier Publications moving into the MTV spaces in Pasila.

     


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  • 08/14/14--04:45: #EatPolishApples
  • A hashtag goes viral and Polish farmers are the winners.

    Grzegorz Nawacki's viral #jedzjabłka photo

    When Grzegorz Nawacki, deputy editor-in-chief for Polish business daily Puls Biznesu heard rumors that Russia was going to announce a ban on the import of certain fruits and vegetables, he quickly did a little research and saw that Poland’s apple producers were going to be hit hard: Over half of Poland’s apples are exported to Russia. So he decided he had to do something.

    “I thought the best way to help them would be to start eating more apples and drinking more cider,” says Nawacki. “That way some of the apples will get consumed and people will show solidarity with farmers. I wrote a blog and published a post on Twitter with a photo of me eating an apple and hashtags #jedzjabłka #eatApples #EatPolishApples.”

    It only took a few hours before the hashtag began trending on Twitter and Facebook. “Thousands of people published photos with apples, it become a massive action,” says Nawacki. Puls Biznesu jumped into the act, using its website and its accounts on social media, but the hashtag really took on a life of its own, with politicians and businessmen joining in with photos and hashtags. (You can see some of them here)

    For the newspaper, promoting #jedzjabłka was part of its long-term “economic patriotism” initiative (read more here) – plus it is the paper’s mission to help entrepreneurs. “Polish farmers benefit. But I’m also sure that Puls Biznesu will benefit – the number of followers on Twitter and fans on Facebook significantly increased, and it was the cheapest promotional campaign in the history of Puls Biznesu,” says Nawacki with a smile.

    As for results, Nawacki had no expectations when he posted the original photo. But the reaction with tens of thousands of posts on Twitter and Facebook, plus a lot of foreign press with articles in newspapers in the Czech Republic, Russia and the U.K., including a piece in the Guardian, was far bigger than he imagined.

    “Best of all, it has also had a real impact,” Nawacki says. “The consumption of apples in Poland increased.”

     


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