German Newspaper Giant Leads Mobile Distro

As both a newspaper veteran and digital marketing expert, I’ve long evangelized for the industry’s shift to digital distribution. It’s all about niche for all but the most global of publications–and what’s more niche than reaching individuals on their phone, with specialized or local news they can’t get anywhere else? German media company Axel Springer gets it.

According to a report today from Apple, Axel Springer is using the iPhone in its search of “better ways to distribute its massive daily deluge of information and entertainment.” The media company uses mobile in two ways that are relevant to the news biz: To distribute its keenly-sought, unique information to readers; and as a research tool for reporters and editors.

Mobile news content begins (and some fans may say ends) with the most sought-after information in Europe: Soccer scores. “Our BILD newspaper is very famous for its sports section,” says Hans-Christian Pahlig, Team Lead for the BILD Newspaper Production Systems at Axel Springer. “So we have with ‘Mein Klub’ (My Club) a mobile application that keeps readers up-to-date with the soccer schedule.”

To keep on top of the news (and of the competition), Axel Springer editors use the Apple handset to access an Internet-based application that aggregates relevant industry press clippings and news. “The editorial guys use iPhone to keep up to date,” says Pahlig. “They can stay in constant contact with the wire agencies and watch the newswire.”

Sure, this case study is iPhone-centric, but it’s a terrific example of how newspapers can migrate their content to mobile. It shows how to leverage the kind of up-to-date information–in this case, soccer scores–that rabid consumers will pay to have perpetual access to. As we’ve said many times, increasingly more consumers are accessing the Internet on cell phones, so it’s not enough just to throw content up on a website. It also has to be optimized for handsets–iPhone and everything else.