From industry 4.0 to publishing 4.0

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FAU researchers develop concept for the digital future of publishing

Digitalisation has been an important topic for the media for some time now. A study conducted at the Institute of Book Studies (E-publishing and Digital Markets) at FAU has shown how publishers can use cross-media communication, hybrid media and digital content services to deal with the challenges that digitalisation brings. Based on the concept of industry 4.0, it aims to provide guidelines on developing innovative products and services, as well as new business models.

‘Print media will continue to exist,’ says Jörn Fahsel, a doctoral candidate at Institute of Book Studies (E-publishing and Digital Markets). But as he knows only too well, that is not enough. Digitalisation has been an important topic for the media for some time now. Media companies are urgently looking for concepts that will enable them to deal successfully with the shift towards becoming information and service providers.

Because media can be digitalised completely…

Jörn Fahsel and his project partners have now applied the concept of industry 4.0 to the publishing sector. In their study ‘Publishing 4.0 – Chancen, Anforderungen, Konzepte’ (publishing 4.0 – opportunities, demands, concepts) they describe how the sector can make use of cross-media communication, hybrid media and digital content services to succeed in the future. ‘Because media can be digitalised completely, there is a unique potential for increasing productivity, for innovative products and services, and for new business models,’ Jörn Fahsel says.

The ten proposals developed in the study provide publishers with crucial assistance to help them develop future-proof business models and the required content and IT infrastructure. The researchers also suggest four business model templates that can be used when developing strategies.

What industry 4.0 means

Industry 4.0 means the automation, digitalisation and networking of design, production, information, communication and management processes. When applied to the publishing sector, it means that publishers could increase the efficiency of cross-media publication forms by implementing flexible modern IT solutions, for example. Printed and digital media could be linked through hybrid models which broaden users’ experiences. ‘Games and additional information could be shown along with texts that are viewed on a smartphone, for example,’ Jörn Fahsel explains. This enables innovative new products and services to be offered which can also be individualised.

The key element: a customer-driven approach

‘The key element of publishing 4.0 is the customer-driven approach,’ the researcher summarises. Customers can be approached in a targeted way by connecting with them via platforms and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. ‘The challenge for publishers is to prepare for ongoing changes to customer needs, competition and business models.’

14 newspaper, specialist and scientific publishers, and education providers were surveyed for the publishing 4.0 study, which is the first of its kind in Germany. It was conducted in collaboration with Heinold, Spiller & Partner Unternehmensberatung GmbH and Appsoft Technologies (Xeditor/Xpublisher), a software provider which creates web-based XML editorial systems and web-based XML editors.

The researchers presented their results at the Frankfurt Book Fair on 19 October. The full study will be available to download at from December 2016.

Further information:

Jörn Fahsel
Phone: +49 9131 8524743 (office)/+49 9131 8524700 (secretary’s office)