Verlag Dierichs finds revenue opportunities in live video event coverage

By Harold Grönke

In this industry, many of us are asking where we should go with video. 

I think we have to forget about regular video advertising as a serious revenue stream — at least in Germany. “Video” is not only about live video. It’s about live coverage wherever you can get it.

Verlag Dierichs is a regional news company in the middle of Germany with a 160,000 daily newspaper circulation, more than four million online visits per month, a Web radio presence, and significant video activities. We serve a market of 1.5 million people.

As Part of the Ippen Group, Verlag Dierichs is the No. 1 German regional newspaper in the area of local videos. We were the first regional newspaper in Germany to cover/stream live events, and we have the most active YouTube channel of all regional newspapers in Germany (although we are still not in the top-100 in all Germany videos on the channel).

National video advertising revenue for regional newspapers in Germany is far below €100,000 per month (which hardly covers the streaming cost). Even the most successful regional newspapers in Germany are far below €5,000 revenue share per month, with most participating Web sites between three- and two-digit revenue numbers.

Video advertising rates per 1,000 views are high. But too few users are consuming videos, either because they are omnipresent or because the audience is too small. We earned US$700 from YouTube last month.

Production cost of unique video content is simply too high compared to the money you can make from it. And I see no indication this situation will change.

However, we can’t neglect video, of course, because it will be a relevant part of news in the tablet and smartphone era. Even if it does not make money right, we must work hard at it. Otherwise, we miss a serious chance.

So, are there other revenue opportunities for video?

We think so. With our current strategy, we have brought in nearly six-digit revenues with video this year. 

We believe it makes sense to follow the trend of TV consumption migrating to the Web.

So, Verlag Dierichs decided to be “live.” Unique and relevant. To us, live includes live ticker (covers an event with short messages), live video, and live Web radio. Sometimes all at one time and sometimes only where it fits best.

The local regional hockey playoffs offer a good example. The results:

  •  Video: 22,257 viewers at its peak.

  • Web radio: 5,110 users at its peak.

  • Live ticker: 72,454 pageviews.

Others successful video initiatives:

  • A classical music concert: Sold out quickly and sold as “proudly sponsored by” to a car dealer for €5.000.

  • Provincial celebration week: Several events, sold as a part of a solid, five-digit package.

  • Soccer: Several games, just started selling.

As I said, this is about providing live coverage wherever you are able. For example, as part of this strategy, we created a daily live ticker on Tumblr, covered by journalists and citizens, with about 2,000 users every day.

Put that together smart with the “old stuff” you have to provide, and your end result will be an impressive reach to your customer and an optimised experience to your audience.

If there is not enough advertising money, why not think about “paid content” on a subscription basis (it wouldn’t be relevant enough for a single payment in most cases). This is something we look forward to trying next year. 

About Harold Grönke