Recap: Publisher Business Conference 2019

On June 13, 2019 the Publisher Business Conference took place in Hamburg for the second time – the first time we attended it. Uncertain what to expect, as we had little experience in the Publisher Business, we were looking forward to the program.

The keynote speech was given by Martin Schulz, former German Chancellor candidate. In the foreground was the challenge of publishers transferring the monetization of their content into the digital world. But also topics such as how to deal with the direct communication of politicians without intermediary journalists via Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Co. were discussed. The subsequent questions from Stefan Schmitz, editor-in-chief of Stern’s magazine for politics and business, were quite provocative as far as the future of politicians is concerned, but also made it clear that everyone has to face up to change.

The first steps had been taken – but now to the really exciting topics.

The first presentation was given by Mittmedia – and a major topic of the Swedish publishing house was the optimization of the customer experience to increase the number of subscriptions and the improvement of monetization through ads. The whole thing is an in-house implemented and long-term project, with in-depth data analysis for the optimization of the own algorithm.

Our aha moment: Publishing and e-commerce have many similarities

In fact, we had something of an aha moment here: technically speaking, that’s exactly what we’re already doing in e-commerce and have done for a major publisher: Optimizing the ad playout according to interest, or rearranging the content according to the user’s reading preferences. And not only according to departmental interests, but the whole thing can also be combined according to regional characteristics in combination with past user behavior on the site.

Ad-optimization should not only be based on the interests of the user. When it comes to earning money, optimization according to CTR may also come into focus, depending on the payment model. Here it is necessary to design a suitable strategy for the most diverse use cases, placements and page environments that optimizes the overall result. Mittmedia has shown figures that clearly indicate that an investment in personalization is worthwhile.

Presentation by Mittmedia at the Publisher Business Conference


So the first presentation was already quite interesting for us, followed by many other exciting topics from speakers from the most diverse publisher areas. Whether Spotify MD Michael Krause on the subject of audio, the MOPO with its regional strategy for digital or the panel with participants from a classic publishing house, a TV giant, as well as the program director of N-Joy (unfortunately without Thomas Promny – we wish you a good recovery ;-)) with the question: “What does a media house look like in five years? In any case, it will be much more technological – but the creativity of journalists, program directors and Co. will continue to be an integral part of it.

Perfect weather and top location

The culinary catering was a highlight – who gets truffle poularde for lunch at a conference? The beautiful weather and the ice cream sponsored by tisoomi then naturally led all participants to move the networking outside. And the location with all its traditional Reeperbahn charm (the conference again took place in Schmidt’s Tivoli) was perfectly complemented by the Spielbudenplatz, which had been converted into a summer island.

Spielbudenplatz for the Publisher Business Conference


After lunch, the programme went on. Under the title “Falling on your snout is also moving forward” you could imagine everything and nothing. Oliver Wurm, a speaker who reported about his heart project with humor and charm, found his way onto the stage: GG – The Basic Law as a magazine. We liked it. The topic of human rights is always important and should be heard in more conferences.

Closing the circle: technology meets publishing

The final interview was conducted by a genuine Googler with the CDO of Gruner + Jahr, Arne Wolter. As in the morning, the focus here was also on audio. But that was not the only thing being discussed – in addition to the “voice” that a publisher wants to give to himself, it is just as important to connect the user to the digital channels, to provide him with the relevant topics again and again and possibly also to create added value by linking data. And indeed, the circle closed for us – once again, the technological aspect was emphasized in classical publishing houses. We have noticed that publishers in many areas have similar thoughts to classic retail – it’s always about understanding the customer, addressing him with his interests, converting him into a loyal customer.


As a sponsor, Teads took care of the rest of the evening – with beer, wine, long drinks, and delicious snacks (yes, even Hamburg can make currywurst) and you could dance in the basement of the club “Bahnhof Pauli”. To be honest, only very few of them made use of it, even though the music was really good – the weather lured everyone outside. However, this didn’t harm good networking, a lot of exciting conversations with acquaintances or new contacts (at least for us as Publisher-Conference newcomers). On the contrary: a very successful day with a nice ending will make us regular Publisher Conference visitors!

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