April 02nd 2015

What's new with the new media.

Veit V. Dengler, CEO of the NZZ Mediengruppe, Zuerich

The MCI’s graduate club Alumni & Friends recently welcomed Veit V. Dengler, CEO of the Swiss NZZ Mediengruppe. A native of Austria, Veit V. Dengler has been running the old established daily “Neue Züricher Zeitung” since October 2013 and is responsible for developing a business model for the newspaper for the digital age.

The CEO started off by saying that media companies are dammed to success in a new environment. Revenues from advertising in the print media, which is the main source of income for newspapers, is decreasing at an average rate of 5–10% a year, and that cannot be compensated by increasing online advertising revenues. Many publishing houses are responding to the situation with cost-cutting measures in the editorial offices, with negative effects on the quality of the news offering. So what can be done to reinvent the newspaper as a modern medium?

To answer the question, Dengler first considered the question of how media define their function and he took a look into the past. He said that the original function of the newspaper, namely to disseminate news, had been taken over by new media like Twitter, which offer an innovative form of communication and interaction with the reader. The job of the journalist, therefore, must be less that of a communicator and more that of an analyst of news.

The CEO of the NZZ Mediengruppe closed his presentation with a look at the way in which his company is responding to change in the media industry. He outlined the strategy adopted by the NZZ, which can be represented by four concentric circles, with “Become better”, i.e. learning and improving quality, at the center. In the outer circles, the media group is active in the development of new products for various target groups, geographic expansion (including Germany and Austria) and increased involvement in media-related business fields. With the group’s online medium NZZ Österreich, Dengler has been making a revolutionary contribution to quality journalism in Austria since the beginning of this year.

Hans Herbert Holzamer, freelance journalist, author and lecturer at the MCI, chaired the lively discussion that followed Dengler’s fascinating presentation.