“Personalized Newspaper” Launched in Berlin

By | December 8, 2009

The Editors Weblog has a detailed blog post on the Niiu personalized newspaper that has launched in Berlin, Germany.

Editors Weblog outlines the production steps:

On the client’s side the process is very simple. After signing up for a short-term subscription (more on that later), they have until 2 p.m. to choose their news sources for the following morning’s paper. On Niiu’s website they can select from a wide variety of publications and online sources; from national, local or international newspapers like the New York Times, or internet news sources and blogs. A 24-page personalized paper, researched from and composed of their choices, then appears on the subscriber’s doorstep the next morning.

The business is based on strategic partnerships with content creators and print service providers to handle everything from content creation to the Web portal to printing and distribution.

According to one of the founders, a printed version made the most sense, “We asked this target group which is the most comfortable and which is the best distribution channel; is it an e-paper, is it only on mobile, is it printed or online? The feedback was that for now, paper is still the best distribution channel.” However they pointed out that future offerings could be delivered to mobile phones or e-paper devices.

Niiu’s website is located at http://www.niiu.de/ (German only).

Niiu’s publishing model sounds very similar to what the Knight News Challenge funded project Printcasting is building: an easy to use interface that “allow individuals to easily create ad-supported, customized publications with a mix of local news and information”

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One thought on ““Personalized Newspaper” Launched in Berlin

  1. MichaelJ

    Actually I think the business models of Printcasting and Niiu are quite different although they both depend on the value of Print as the most convenient delivery medium for certain kinds of information.

    Printcasting is a method for micro enterprises, bloggers, small businesses to publish their own “newspapers” actually newsletters on steroids. The deliverable as I understand for printcasting is a PDF. I’m still unclear who does the actual clicks. Their secret sauce is an online method of aggregating and editing RSS feeds AND populating the blogs with ads sold by the newspaper.

    Niiu is produced on Oce high production newspaper presses. The secret sauce is the software and the business arrangements the Niiu people have implemented. Everything except for the software is outsourced, including the printing and the delivery. They have made arrangements with lots of papers to reproduce PDFs of their pages. Each paper gets a fee in return for the use of their pages.

    The business model is that same as it has always been, to sell ads to well defined audiences. Knowing what kinds of articles a particular user chooses should supply awesome analytics to get the right ad to the right person. According to what I’ve read they can command higher prices given the well defined personalzied audience.

    To my mind the Niiu production method could be a game changer for high school education. Instead of a “reader,” the content could be chosen by a teacher or curriculum co-ordinator. Delivering ready to change 24 p newspapers instead of outof date textbooks should be easy to do. A pre approved library of learning PDFs would allow a teacher to choose just the right content for their class.

    It’s still to early to tell if the Niiu experiment is going to work. Their goal is 5000 subscribers in about 3 months. If it works, my sense is that demand for Oce, HP and Stream digital newspaper equipment is going to get quite a shot in the arm.

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