Future Media Lab. workshop finds that most European publishers struggle to effectively utilize Big Data

As the media environment in Europe rapidly changes to deal with shifting consumption patterns, technological innovations and disrupted business models, publishers’ strategies are also adapting. Big data increasingly plays a role in the way publishers innovate and develop new business models, but there are many market, regulatory or operational challenges that inhibit utilizing this data in the best way possible.

On 24 March 2015, as part of the annual Digital Innovators’ Summit in Berlin, the Future Media Lab. organized the workshop “Big Data: Matching publishers’ strategies with EU regulatory ambitions”. The workshop brought publishers together with big data experts and policymakers in order to examine the obstacles faced by publishers today when developing a big data strategy. Keynote speakers at the workshop included Stefan Beckmann, Managing Director, DACH of SpotXchange; Paul Lee, founder of Ecuiti; Marta Nagy-Rothengass, Head of Unit “Data Value Chain” in DG Connect at the European Commission; Björn Ӧsterman, Manager for Digital Advertising Sales at Egmont Publishing; and Alessandro Svensson, Head of Native Advertising for Schibsted Media Group.

The workshop was opened by moderator Daniel Knapp, the Director, Advertising for IHS Technology in the United Kingdom, who said that the term “Big Data” encompasses a huge variety of strategies that involve automated technologies which help to simplify, structure and synthesize massive data sets. Following his remarks, the speakers gave brief presentations in order to set the scene for the brainstorming sessions, highlighting the unique position of publishers in collecting and utilizing big data as well as the challenges they face in developing appropriate data strategies.

“The digital transformation is affecting nearly every industry today, and publishers are in a position to capitalize on its potential if they can align themselves correctly,” said Lee. “The secret to extracting the value is focusing on tangible drivers of impact: while big data may have potential asset value, it must be a liquid asset to generate real value—and today most of it is not. To get value from big data initiatives businesses must drive towards information and data liquidity to capitalize on this tremendous opportunity.”

In spite of how useful big data could be for publishers, for instance to allow them to better understand their audience and improve targeted advertising, it became clear throughout the workshop that publishers are not yet in the position to capitalize their unique place in the data-value chain.

One of the threats is the potential changes that could result from the upcoming reform of the EU Data Protection framework. These reforms could introduce a significant shift from opt-out to opt-in based lawful data processing, a change that would give a further advantage to market players who already have a log-in system that supports such a model, at the disadvantage of small or medium-sized enterprises.

“One thing that became clear in the discussions during this workshop is that the competition for audience data is increasingly intense,” said Max von Abendroth, Executive Director of the European Magazine Media Association and founder of the Future Media Lab. think tank initiative. “With so many competitors vying for access to this data, it’s important that regulation should not be put forward that benefits the biggest players, who could then use their dominant market position to gain even more competitive advantages over smaller players.”

To find the official summary of this event, please visit the Future Media Lab. website.

Press Contact:

Karin Fleming 


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You can also find the Future Media Lab. on Twitter: @fml_eu


The European Magazine Media Association, is the unique and complete representation of Europe’s magazine media, which is today enjoyed by millions of consumers on various platforms, encompassing both paper and digital formats.


The European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA) is the largest representative body of newspaper publishers across Europe. ENPA advocates for 16 national associations across 13 European countries, and is a principal interlocutor to the EU institutions and a key driver of media policy debates in the European Union.