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European Users Meeting 2020: Virtual and Valuable

The 2020 European Advantage Users Meeting conference wrapped up today after four afternoons of presentations and discussions. Although the virtual format meant that there was no visit to a beautiful European city with dinners and other events to enjoy, the upside was that the ease of access meant that more people could participate. About 50 people tuned in for at least part of the program.

Philippe van Mastrigt kicked it off with his annual “Current Publishing Trends” presentation---always a popular discussion. Some of the major trends of the past year he reported were:

  • A higher demand for local news in the COVID period, when the demand had been declining prior to that time.
  • Certain segments of magazines increased circulation, including home and garden, cooking, youth, crosswords and other hobbies.
  • Desktop share increased over mobile
  • Advertising decreased by 40 to 50% and publishers responded by reducing frequency, changing content and, of course, cutting costs including staff

Trends continuing from previous years include an increase in digital subscriptions and, for the first time, digital revenues are passing those of print; podcasts are becoming more popular among young people triggering an increase in advertising there.

This was followed by a panel discussion on “Adapting to an Increasingly Digital World,” featuring Oili Kalm-Parantainen of A-lehdet, Claus Jørgensen of Egmont and Koen Vandaele of Mediahuis.

On Tuesday, Dan Heffernan presented the latest on Advantage News, Strategy and Direction. This included recognition of AdvantageCS’ 40th anniversary with a brief history of the company and a list of some of the innovations developed over that time.

Tuesday’s panel discussion topic was “Weathering the Storm: Pandemic Retrospective and Strategies for Survival” with Mark Judd of CDS Global, Fred Wempe of Mediahuis Netherlands, and Daryl Berver of The Agora.

Matt Varblow began Wednesday with an update of what he called “behind the scenes” technical topics, such as security, extensibility, scalability and update deployment. This was followed by Dick Hile presenting information about new development and then John Sheehy demoed it.

After the presentations, a virtual Happy Hour posed a pub trivia quiz which was won by Ben Willaert of Mediahuis. (Good going, Ben---there were some pretty difficult questions!)

Thursday was a continuation of the new features demo by John Sheehy followed by a panel discussion on “Looking Ahead & Adjusting to the New Normal” with Arnaud Habrant of Martin Media, Christelle Roche of Euroconsumers and Duncan Taylor of Air Business.

Although we hope to be able to meet in person next year, the virtual conference was deemed a success. Thank you to everyone that participated!



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