Monday, June 9, 2008

Bild: and covering the European Cup

If you live in Europe, or if you are a diehard soccer fan in the US, you know the European Cup is gripping everyone’s emotions. A good opportunity to talk about how the Bild, and other news outlets are using multimedia to generate clicks on their website.

This is an interesting case study, because of course the realm of major sporting events belongs to TV. Multimillion dollar exclusive contracts signed to networks in the US – like NBC to broadcast the Olympics or in the case of Germany, host of the mammoth 2006 World Cup, negotiating between public and private broadcasters.

Private media outlets, like the Bild, are of course interested in figuring out how their website can generate revenue. The pursuit of the goose that lays the golden eggs. The print version of the Bild is still the economic engine, but last week, the deputy of Bild Digital’s head dude, came down to congratulate everyone on a record 70 million hits on within the last month.

‘Congratulations,’ he told the online staff, ‘and keep it up.’ Lucky the European Cup is going on. It’s the perfect time for the Bild to cultivate online habits of their users.

If you look at their website, what’s interesting is how they keep it to an archive of the past game. So last night, the Germans not surprisingly beat Poland. The Bild’s website incorporated brief video clips, not much more than a minute, embedded with the article.

It’s done in very Bild style, with the bolded text, short sentences, but it uses video to maximize what the Bild already does: simplifying information in a very short space to make it easy for the user to digest. Only now it’s on the web.

I can’t see soccer fans replacing the television with their computers. The same way I can’t see Americans giving up the tradition of sitting around a wide screen TV with friends and family to watch the Super Bowl or the World Series. But I was impressed by the outdoor rig set up by a group in Kreuzberg. They had set up their wifi computer, connected it to a machine that displayed the images on an overhead projector and sat in their garden, grilling, drinking beer, playing a little music in the background. In much the same way that portable radios allowed people to take their media with them, that might be the wave of the future...and it might pose some competition to television broadcasters.

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