‘Every brand needs to find its own model’ – BILD Group’s Donata Hopfen

“We measure success in terms of relevance, reach and results,” says Donata Hopfen, Publishing Director and Head of Management Board of BILD Group.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | August 16, 2017

Published by Axel Springer, BILD is Europe’s largest newspaper and Germany’s largest digital news portal. Hopfen has been in her current positions since May 2014, and was previously Managing Director of BILD’s digital activities.

She joined Axel Springer in 2003 and has worked in various business development positions at BILD and T-Online, and as head of business development in Axel Springer’s electronic media department.

This autumn, she will speak at two WAN-IFRA conferences – first at Digital Media World in Berlin on 12 October, part of IFRA World Publishing Expo, and then at our inaugural Digital Media North America, which takes place 19-20 October in New York.

In this interview, she discusses who BILD sees as their competition, how they measure success and how they characterises their collaboration with Facebook.

WAN-IFRA: Axel Springer just published positive quarterly results. How much of that was due to the 65-year Jubilee Edition and how much was attributable to digital growth?

Donata Hopfen: “BILD für Alle,” the 65th anniversary edition of BILD, was the most successful edition in terms of advertising so far. Additionally, being Europe’s leading digital publisher, we benefit from the very positive dynamics of our digital activities.

What do you regard today as your main digital competitor in the German market (and why)?

In general, we compete against all media platforms that users find very engaging and they spend a lot of their time on.

How do you measure the success of BILD? What are some of the new KPIs for the newsroom?

Basically, we measure success in terms of relevance, reach and results. Additionally, the newsroom includes BILDplus subscribers, average duration of stay on our website, and the number of video views in their success factors.

The Sun in the UK dropped a freemium model to focus on reach and ad revenue. How do you see the BILDplus offer developing, and what advice would you have for other boulevard titles?

I am convinced every brand needs to find its own model, which needs to be constantly redeveloped and adjusted to current user behaviour. Our subscription model BILDplus was always a combination of paid content and advertising. This model works perfectly for us.

The original Facebook Journalism Project announcement made a point of referencing Bild. How would you characterise your collaboration with Facebook so far?

Right now, we are exploring a lot of different options on Facebook, knowing that Facebook is an opportunity but may also be a great risk for all publishers.

Many news outlets report zero growth in display ad revenue. Do see opportunities to do better than that?

I’m convinced this can be achieved through creativity, high-quality journalism, and the constant development of marketing formats such as native advertising or advertising models for videos.

How much have you been able to share learning experiences with the Business Insider team? Or is that operation run, like Instagram in the old days, slightly at arm’s length?

At Axel Springer, we have very good and open conversations between all national and international brands.

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