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Interview with OPA Europe President Tomasz Józefacki

"Anyone who is NOT yet considering mobile to be a priority is probably already late to the party."
Ahead of the INMA/OPA Europe Conference 2010 taking place from 29th September in Krakow, we caught up with Tomasz Józefacki, President of OPA Europe, and Head of Internet at Agora, to get his insight into Europe's publishers' digital priorities.

The economic downturn has pushed publishers to think more creatively about revenue generation. Which publishers, in your view, are making best use of data, ecommerce and other non-ad-related opportunities available in the digital space?

Almost all OPA Europe members are offering revenue-generating services like iPad subscriptions and mobile subscriptions to supplement their online advertising revenues.

I would add that none of them waited for the economic downturn to start looking for new sources of revenue. eCommerce efforts are perhaps more rare, although at my company, Agora, we do have an important eCommerce programme integrating our traditional media like newspapers and magazines with the eCommerce field.

What are publishers' views in Europe on paywalls? Are there any publishers making it work?

To the best of my knowledge, the successful paywall publishers on the Continent produce specific niche-related content, like the financial news available from Les Echos in France.

Professional groups of people will pay for these types of subscriptions. The general news publisher sites tend to offer a wide range of news for free, and then additionally propose 'premium' content to paying subscribers, which can be considered a partial paywall.

This scheme provides a recurring revenue stream and some online publishers make significant revenues in this manner.

What are your thoughts on tablets and ereaders, such as the Kindle and the iPad? Passing fad or genuine opportunity?

Given the number of OPA Europe member sites currently offering content on either the iPad, the Kindle or both - The International Herald Tribune, Il Sole 24 Ore, La Repubblica, Corriere della Sera, Spiegel Online, Sabah (Turkuvaz Media Group), El País, Le Monde, El Mundo - I think we can qualify presenting news on these new devices as a genuine opportunity.

There are some issues still to be worked out with Apple as far as revenue-sharing goes, but I doubt there is a leading online publisher anywhere not already offering or planning to offer their content on these new devices.

The last AOP Census showed that UK publishers see mobile as their biggest priority for investment for the year. Are publishers in Europe taking the same approach?

Many OPA Europe member companies, in particular in countries with very high mobile usage such as Italy and Spain, have been proposing mobile services and taking in significant revenues via mobile services for many years now.

The arrival of new mobile devices, such as the iPad, is making mobile hotter than ever. The International Herald Tribune affirms that this is a priority.

El País in particular is looking at HTML5 as an alternative to Flash video, to transfer video smoothly from the web to apps for the most popular devices. Anyone who is NOT yet considering mobile to be a priority is probably already late to the party...

The INMA/OPA Europe Conference 2010 takes place from 29th September in Krakow.

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