Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yesterday the newspaper world changed in Berlin. Tomorrow the "textbook" world in the States. Go Oce! + Canon ? WOW.

The story is from Deutsche Welle | 16.11.2009: You can read the full story at the click.
Customized 'Niiu' newspaper launched |
"'Every Niiu is only printed once for every reader. You can also add the logo of your favorite soccer club or something like that,' he said.

Several German newspapers and magazines at a kioskBildunterschrift: Gro�ansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Newsprint is having an existential crisis

In effect, Niiu allows the reader to be his own editor, choosing the news he or she wants from the company's website. The price is not much more than the newsstand price of most German papers - 1.80 euros ($2.70).

Oberhof continues: 'I can say I want the front page of a regional newspaper, for example the Tagesspiegel from Berlin. And then I can say I want the sports section of the Bild and politics from "
The point is that the same technology makes versioned newspapers simple to adapt to fill the vacuum created by the end of textbooks.

Consider that instead of the reader, a teacher chooses just the right content for next week. Add QR codes and you get performance metrics that allow detecting early warning signs of a student at risk.

Add some quizzes, some links to YouTube Edu and reserve 2 pages for student writing and art.

It's done.


  1. I heard about this earlier this week. Great example of 'non-linear' use of content and medium. Gerd Leonhard has a great post with tips for book publishers. One of them is that (the same as with iTunes) books/content needs to be offered in a non-linear way. Same goes for education as you stated.

  2. We agree. The itune model is very apt. In 2006, I did a column for What they Think called Ipods and Textbooks http://ilnk.me/971

    At the time no one had put all the pieces together as they have done in Berlin.

    The other advantage of the non linear delivery of print is that the users choice of material emits fertile data about what interests this particular user.

    With the correct analytic engine that supplies a granular picture of what kind of offering to make to this user. Since the marginal cost of the analysis is zero, this brings a new margin back into print.

    In the education space, I bet that ads for NGOs and Public Health delivered directly to at risk high school students would be an easy sell. That means the paper could be free to the school, but with margins that could pay for the printing.

    Given that the Canon Oce deal has probably created lots of focus at all the globals, I bet the time is right for a start up to do a protoype experiement someplace in the world.

    If it turns out I'm pretty right, I can't see why it doesn't scale.

  3. The main problem with publishers is that they want to sell their titles - they think in titles...... not their content. That blocks thinking in new business models.

  4. I see it a little differently. The problem is that that many publishers don't focus enough on their customers. They focus on their advertisers. It makes sense with a business model based on selling eyeballs to advertisers.

    In the now ending industrial economy, the value publishers delivered were the quantity of eyeballs.So the drive was larger and larger circulation figures.

    In the emerging user network economy, the real value is how many people want what you have. The move to increasing markets with greater differentiation as opposed to greater scale is counterintuitive for advertisers as well as publishers.

    If Niiu works, they will have gathered a relatively defined audience of 5000 subsribers. A smart marketing person with the right product should be able to get significant sales from that subscriber base.

    The thing really cool about the Niiu model is that it can easily replicate to other opt in communities. Those communities can be interest defined or location defined.