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The world is changing followed by the change in the media space. Some ten years ago we used mobile phones mainly to call, but now a mobile phone is not just a receiver, it is the entire media centre. Electronic books tend to displace ordinary ones, and we read news online and prefer to chat on Facebook more and more often.
How is the modern media space changing? What is the cross-media? What problems are media companies facing now? How can we turn these problems into competitive advantages? We have tried to answer all these questions in a study tour organisedPby Information office of the Nordic Council of Ministers in Kaliningrad and the Agency for Support of Cultural Initiatives "Tranzit"Pwithin Kaliningrad Creative Industries Development Project. The tour included visits to various organisations, both commercial and non-commercial ones: professional associations, the mass media, business companies working in the media area, and governmental and international organisations. Such a mixture let the participants establish professional and business contacts, on the one hand, and learn more about the support and opportunities which various commercial organisations provide for the media business and creative industries, on the other hand.
MalmV, Sweden. Media Evolution is a media cluster and organisation which aims to remove barriers to the media sector development, establish networking, promote new ideas, and create new markets within the media sector. Media Evolution believes that South Sweden will become a leading platform for the development of the media sector for the whole Europe in the future. The organisation involves over 350 companies representing different sectors of the creative economy: publishing houses, TV and film producers, design companies, firms developing games and applications, and IT-companies.
Media Evolution. Photo: Vadim Khlebnikov
Media Evolution is a centre for:
- Business meetings,
- Competence building, and
- Creating new markets.
The company has recently moved from a small office in a business incubator to a new modern building Media Evolution City. It is an open space for an open business. The main idea of Media Evolution City is that you can rent an office, a room for negotiations, and even a desk. It is convenient for small and medium-sized business as well as for freelancers. Moreover, Media Evolution City is an excellent place for co-working. That is the very atmosphere that gives birth to new ideas.
Sydsvenskan. Photo: Vadim Khlebnikov
The building of a regional newspaper Sydsvenskan was built in the 70s and has become the symbol of the newspaperfffs success. However, the newspaper has recently faced a problem fff its circulation is falling. It is a problem not only for Sydsvenskan, it is a problem for the print media in general. Digital data media are gradually displacing conventional print media. Financial indicators are falling with the falling circulation. The newspaperfffs team is thinking what to do next. The first step will be to rebrand the newspaper. The first issue with the updated design is to come out the morning before our departure from MalmV. Another way of increasing financial indicators may be the sale of an individual article online and the development of the newspaperfffs electronic version. However, the race for profit will never eclipse the main journalistic principles fff true information, journalistic inquiries, and the refusal from sponsored articles. The mass media business model is based on the relationship with an end user and a recipient: a user (reader, viewer) pays for information, but receives only real information and facts. This model may seem untypical for our conditions, but we need to strive for it.
In MalmV we were also introduced to the experience of Nordic Game, a programme financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers and aimed at developing the industry of computer games in the Nordic Region. Riido presented a new platform for selling electronic books.
Danish producers and parties
Copenhagen, Denmark. The Danish Producersfff Association pools together professionals in film making, advertising, and computer games. The organisation aims to protect the interests of organisations working in the field, provide consulting, and attract investments in new products and promote their market.
Klaus Hansen, director at the Association, often visits various film festivals worldwide, where he represents the interests of the Danish film industry. Klaus is convinced that the film industry is a market of peoplefffs relationships, where decisions are made basing on emotions. Thus social exchange is not less important than just establishing pure business contacts and signing agreements. The Association has recently started holding special parties allowing the companies concerned meet in an informal atmosphere to discuss ideas and new projects.
Photograph: Klaus Hansen is telling about the model of a filmfffs budget. Photo: Alexander Korzhonok
Bombay in the centre of Copenhagen
Copenhagen Bombay is a relatively young company established in 2006 and producing media products for children (both young and old). The company focused on this target group from the outset. Even the employees were sceptical thinking that it was nearly impossible to survive by producing goods only for children. However, the experience showed that it is quite possible not just to survive, but to confidently develop.
Lars Kristiansen and T-shirt with cartoon hero. Photo: Maxim Popov
Lars Kristiansen, development director at Copenhagen Bombay, shared the companyfffs initiative to introduce tying products in the market. Its aim is not to sell crisps in supermarkets, but vegetables and fruit for children having cartoon characters on their packets. A large Danish retailer supported the initiative. However, the company sustained losses in the end. It was important for our group to hear not only about the companyfffs achievements, but also about its failures. In our opinion, it is a real benchmarking.
The Kaliningraders have already seen some of the companyfffs products. So, we showed the Great Bear film within the Nordic Film Festival in Kaliningrad this year. Other products are available on the companyfffs website.
New trends and education
Kodak used to be a leader on the film camera market. Analysing the sales volume of the company over the recent decade, one can easily see its decline. What is the reason for it? The company failed to immediately respond to a global change fff digital cameras came up to take the place of film cameras, and the company did not introduce corresponding changes in its strategy. It is not possible now to run your business focusing on old business models. fffThis approach to business is like looking at a rear-view mirror when deciding to turn at a crossingfff, says Ole Melgaard from CBS-SIMI Centre at Copenhagen Business School.
Ole Melgaard present special course for the top managers of companies working in the media sector. Photo: Alexander Korzhonok
The school elaborated a special course for the top managers of companies working in the media sector. It is a unique curriculum having no counterparts in Europe and consisting of 4 modules (4 days per a module). The course costs fff17,000, but you will be able to get the knowledge which will help you to become a leader in the media market or stay strong in the changing world.
Not only top managers need new knowledge. People engaged in creative industries are offered a wide range of courses in professional training as well as in acquiring absolutely new knowledge. Artlab is part of the Danish Musiciansfff Union and deals with educational issues and competence building. For example, musicians can do courses in new music curricula, management, tour organisation, blogs, and working in the social media. One should note that there are courses in DJing organised especially for girls and women. One of the course teachers is Rosa Lux, a Danish DJ. The members of the Musiciansfff Union will pay approximately 350 Danish krones for the course, while others will pay 3,500 krones. Artlab is financed by the Danish Ministry of Culture and bodies responsible for solving unemployment and occupation issues.
Culture is the driving force of co-operation
Elena Khoroshkina, senior adviser within the Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture, presented a project contest aimed at creating co-operation platforms in culture and creative industries.
Meeting with Elena Khoroshkina. Photo: Alexander Korzhonok
The goal is to establish sustainable networks in the present field for co-operation in the Baltic Sea Region which will help creative industries to promote their products and develop markets in the long term. All countries participating in the Northern Dimension can take part in the project given that it is obligatory to have a Russian partner. The programme covers up to 50% of a project budget, the grant ranges from fff5,000-20,000. More detailed information is available on the website of the Partnership.
I have to admit that I have not heard of the cross-media concept before the tour. When developing computer games, we often use such a term as a cross-platform or multiplatform product. For example, when our game Kingfffs Bounty: Legions is available for players in various social networks as well as on iPads and Android. The gaming industry gives plenty of examples when a product, a gaming universe, is distributed across various platforms and media fff books, films, and series. I am happy to know that there is the correct name for it now.
I find the professional and educational component of the tour quite informative. It was interesting to learn of the Nordic Game Programme which managed to create a nourishing environment for computer games developers with the help of reasonable investments. Media Evolution impressed me with its approach to creating modern and comfortable space for creative industries. A remarkable was a meeting in the Danish Producersfff Association. I was mostly impressed by a presentation in Copenhagen Bombay. They are the people who produce only the things they like themselves, no matter how crazy they may seem. All the speakers talked with great enthusiasm, answered all questions honestly and did not let us get bored.
However, the tour did not result only in educational consequences. It included walks in an ecological area in MalmV and old streets in Copenhagen, a visit to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Scandinavian design seen everywhere, and definitely talking, talking and talking. Seeing two new countries and meeting a dozen representatives from other media industries in our region let me get out of my reality tunnel and look at myself from outside. In my opinion, it is the main result. That is why I am grateful to everyone involved in the elaboration and organisation of this tour.
Oh, and I brought the entire set of clothes having the Angry Birds logo on for my one-year-old nephew. He does not care what to wear at present, but I do know now that when the Finnish computer birds follow you everywhere, it is the cross-media!
Photo: Sergey Ryabkov
The cross-media is a media product (service, experience or story) distributed across media platforms using a variety of media forms. It is the definition provided by Wikipedia. We talked about multimedia or interactive design some time ago. Now it is the cross-media or even trans-media. All in all, a modern media product can (and have to) be represented at various media platforms and using various media forms. Given these conditions, any business needs to choose a right strategy, not to look behind, and develop markets. Such an approach will help to benefit not only a company itself, but also the whole region and society in the large. We can learn a lot from our Nordic neighbours in conducting business, but we should always remember that any business relationships are based on trust, tolerance, transparency, and wish to benefit not only yourself but society as well.