Content goes mobile with iPhone.
European newspaper giant Axel Springer is more than a huge print operation, it also aims to become Europe’s most creative and profitable multimedia publishing enterprise. To this end, the company has transformed itself from an old-school publisher to a digital media powerhouse. One phase of this metamorphosis is Axel Springer’s embrace of mobile digital content delivered by Apple iPhone 3G.
“Apple is the new IT standard for Axel Springer,” says Michael Zurheide, Senior Manager Axel Springer Media Systems. “iPhone is a great mobile device that increases productivity in the enterprise. Moving to iPhone has been a positive change that has helped the company shift to digital information.”
For Axel Springer employees in Germany, iPhone provides secure, enterprise grade access to essential business information, including push email and calendar. iPhone also offers mobile access to Axel Springer’s address list of nearly all of its 10,666 employees.
“The rollout of iPhone at Axel Springer is one of the greatest mobile projects in an enterprise environment in Europe,” says Zurheide. The movement began with iPhone distribution to Axel Springer management in Berlin and Hamburg. IT set up Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and configured the devices for employees.
“We prepared the rollout in a way that employees just had to type in their email passwords on iPhone, and they were working on their own,” Zurheide explains.
Readers on the Move
The move to iPhone is part of a larger shift toward digitization of content at Axel Springer. In reaching beyond the printed page, the company is discovering better ways to distribute its massive daily deluge of information and entertainment.
“With the evolving Internet, we need to evolve our offerings for our printed paper, websites, and mobile content,” says Hans-Christian Pahlig, Team Lead for the BILD Newspaper Production Systems at Axel Springer. “The mobile content we are providing is quite new, so employees need to understand how our content will look on a mobile device like iPhone.”
With the digital initiative, Axel Springer has already begun converting some of its popular BILD newspaper content into mobile-friendly formats, starting with the most sought-after information in Europe: soccer scores.
“Our BILD newspaper is very famous for its sports section,” says Pahlig. “So we have with “Mein Klub” (My club) a mobile application that keeps readers up-to-date with the soccer schedule — it looks great on iPhone. Having an overview of soccer on iPhone is a big benefit for our readers.”
An Eye on Profits
In addition to producing content for readers with iPhones, Axel Springer has begun building custom iPhone applications for its employees. IT created iCockpit, an iPhone app that gives senior managers instant access to sales and revenue for each of Axel Springer’s publications, portals, and media brands.
With iCockpit, Axel Springer publishers and executives can use iPhone to access the SAP data warehouse figures, such as forecasts and actuals, stored on the corporate network. “Executives can see numbers and graphs calculated as percentages,” says Pahlig. “They can drill down to each division and to each newspaper, and keep an eye on profitability.”
Journalists count on iPhone, too. Axel Springer editors use the Safari browser 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.”
Due to the fact Axel Springer owns three state-of-the-art offset printing facilities, Zurheide’s team also plans to use iPhone to streamline production management. The company is developing a way for press teams to get newspaper and magazine production status updates on iPhone.
iPhone helps Axel Springer to realize its strategy of digitization. “iPhone transforms how employees see what they are doing and how they are working,” says Pahlig. “Our employees use iPhone to understand, ‘How can I make my work more efficient, better, and more fun on the phone?’ iPhone will help us to improve our company culture, and this cultural change will give us a competitive advantage.”
- Germany’s largest newspaper publisher, third largest magazine publisher
- 180 newspapers/magazines, 50+ websites, radio and TV holdings
- 10,600 employees in 35 countries
- Annual revenues of €2.7 Billion
“Apple is the new standard for Axel Springer. iPhone is a great mobile device that increases productivity in the enterprise.”
Director of IT Operations
“iPhone transforms how employees see what they are doing and how they are working.”
Hans-Christian Pahlig, Team Lead, BILD Newspaper Production Systems