Digital Backyards Forum “Digital Europe”: Workshop

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  • “Digital Europe”: Workshop Oct.19th

    What can “Digital Europe” mean?

    – Digitalization is a process that has started over the last 50 years and is not a revolution anymore
    – Cultural adaption is much slower
    – What does a digital context mean, also in terms of privacy?
    – Why focusing on Europe? Is there a relevant cultural and/or organisational reason? Do things in Europe work differently than in the rest of the world?
    – Even in a „Digital Europe“ you still need to have personal contact with people
    – Digitalization clashes with countries’ cultural histories
    – Find the balance between privacy and transparency
    – Europe is more difficult than the global market: what will work in Europe will most likely also work globally

    What European projects are out there?

    – Professionals in the cultural heritage sector such as archives or museums need to be present online, because for a lot of people not finding something on the internet means it doesn’t exist
    – Developers are the target audience, the will make a project widely known
    – Content from europeana is free to use for whatever purpose and is aimed to be aggregating, facilitating, distributing and engaging
    – Copyright issues: after a certain time art should be available to the public so the public and not the creator alone can profit from it, but defining if a certain piece of art is part of the public domain is difficult in Europe, we have 27 different jurisdictions and each has different copyright policies
    – Current tendency in Europe is to try and reclaim copyrights through the digitalization of specific art that has no copyright

    – Video platform for freely usable images, they are automatically shared on Wikipedia, about 2 million views per month

    – European alternative to Google and Bing
    – Founded around the same time as Google
    – It is an alternative because it focuses on providing privacy to the user
    – Advertising is not tailored to the user since no user data is saved
    – How can you do marketing? Do a lot of free publicity

    – Growing journalistic network of correspondents around Europe, reporting on topics from Eastern Europe
    – news agency, content production with a focus on stories from places where the bigger papers don’t have correspondents
    – Providing information on the story behind the story, generating content that people want to buy
    – Many newspapers don’t have their own correspondents
    – Offering paid content that is sold to German newspapers
    – Other content provided: correspondent talks, expert guest articles


    What do these projects have in common? Each fills a niche, mission-driven, provides something that does not exist

    How can we scale up?
    – Different options for a European version of scaling up, each comes with various challenges
    – What kind of scaling do you have? mostly centralized
    – Cultural Sector: not a question of scale but of innovation on all levels, you need to reach the right person to create impact, more successful approach than going for a mass audience
    – Openness of cultural information generally a good thing, but we need to find a way to monetize it in order to make it sustainable, marketing is one possiblity
    – Niche projects face multiple challenges (e.g. monetizing, equality of access), some of them because they do not supply mainstream and are spezialized
    – There is a market for niche products, even niche products can reach a big audience
    – Possible for the niche to become mainstream
    – You can be mission-driven and still find ways to make money with it
    – In the online world, where everyone expects free content, charging for a product might mean slowing down your growth

    How can we reach sustainability?

    – Giving away everything for free is not sustainable, people have to be paid
    – Change people’s mindset and perception that online it means something that content is available for free
    – How can you achieve a balance between free and paid services?
    – Work with hybrid financing models: e.g. offer basic services for free and premium contenct for money
    Pianomedia: paywall, intermediary that offers various publications to users, one-stop shop
    – Find a business model and ways of marketing that work for you
    – Successful example: photographer in the Netherlands was frustrated with spending too much time on administrative work, now offers his pictures under a creative commons license and reaches about 20 times more people, thereby getting known and creating his own brand, people request him for paid work
    – Come up with an entirely new business structure
    – Retain your customer base, they do not automatically stay with you, you have to constantly work on your sustainability
    – Do a lot of marketing and free promotion until you have reached a critical mass
    – Even artists are refocusing their business models, quality is a factor on a sector where there is no scarcity of a certain product, if there is scarcity quality is not the primary issue
    – Cultural sector: need to refocus, what used to be a product needs to become a ressoure in order to be valuable

    What kind of sustainable business model could exist in Europe?

    – Existing models such as spotify and netflix are still not sustainable
    – Finding hybrid versions of financing, crossfunding
    – Governmental funding is not a sustainable way of financing
    – Creating and selling should be seen as separate aspects, not creating to make money with it, the main goal should be to make an impact
    – Spread the message, get well known and be asked to do specific, paid work
    – Centralize networks in order to have a bigger reach

    Anne-Christin Mook ·
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