Foreword from the President & CEO
Peter Kropsch, CEO, dpa
Dear dpa shareholders, partners and friends,
In 2018, the comprehensive transformation of the media industry presented the agency with growing challenges. In the future, we will no longer be able to speak uniformly of "the customers": Almost every medium is developing an individual approach to its own future. This also applies to dpa's customers from business, politics and administration. As a large joint venture of the German media, we want to actively support this colorful range of concepts and visions for the future.
As a company, dpa is preparing itself for this future. All activities address one of our three key questions: Does what we do increase customer benefit? Does it make us faster and less bureaucratic? And: Are we investing in the right cutting-edge fields?
The "Profile Process" in the editorial department, combined with many customer meetings, has further sharpened the content of our services. We have revised our video offer and trained our teams on the needs of our customers in the TV and digital worlds. dpa has launched an offer for the up-and-coming e-sports segment.
Our "dpa-Connect" program, which renews the platforms for our content products and adds marketplace functions, is showing results. Our dpa-Agenda appointment services offer a new usability. In the first days of the new year dpa-Select was offered to companies and institutions with a web application. With dpa-ID we are rolling out access to the various dpa services via a single login. Thanks to the compatibility of the dpa-ID, our partners’ offers can also be directly integrated.
We are pursuing a very ambitious goal with our "Performing Content" project: Together with numerous customers, we are using concrete usage data and test configurations to try to show how our customers' customers, i.e. the end users, use dpa content. On the basis of the broad database, we are further developing our offers and adapting them to the goals of our media customers. In this way, dpa content increases the proportion of loyal users that is so important for our customers' new digital business models.
At the same time, it is high time to ask questions about services that apparently no longer meet customer needs. The precarious situation of the media in Latin America with competition from news agencies, some of which are massively state-supported, led to an economically untenable situation for our Spanish-language world news service, so that we have decided to comprehensively restructure it. In the future, our Spanish services will concentrate on visual services with a basic text offering. A subsequent cooperation agreement with the private Spanish news agency Europa Press will enable us to continue to provide our customers with a comprehensive and attractive range of news services in the future.
In order to accelerate product development, dpa founded a developer campus in Hamburg. This is where dpa’s IT developers, regardless of which actual unit they belong to, sit together in a specially adapted room. What unites them are the joint sprints to develop good products as quickly as possible. This concept has proven very successful.
In 2018, dpa sales introduced key account management structures and a new unit to support our institutional clients in Berlin. In addition, there we now have digital sales team that is carrying out an increasing number of campaigns and is managing its own customer portal, www.dpa-shop.com, developed by our online subsidiary dpa-infocom. In 2019, we will turn our attention to introducing uniform operating processes at the group's three major IT units. This will make us faster, more stable and more efficient. The project is headed by a Chief Information Officer, who will coordinate all the group's IT processes in the future.
Our focus in terms of innovation is currently on machine learning and artificial intelligence, with the first applications in workflow optimization in image production. The blog www.innovation.dpa.com, launched in 2018, provides a good overview of the innovation activities of the dpa group and the broad field of future applications.
All content providers, including dpa, are massively influenced by the EU's decisions on copyright and intellectual property law. The European Parliament has decided to take greater account of the rights of media companies. This is an extremely positive signal for all dpa shareholders and also for dpa itself, to be more involved in the future in performance-based money flows on the digital platforms. I will also support this goal in my current function as President of the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA).
In economic terms, dpa developed solidly in 2018. In the group, we were able to achieve a growth in sales of 2.3% to a total of 139.8 million euros. The annual profit of the core company, dpa GmbH, was 1.5 million euros. It is particularly important that these results include a sharp rise in investment activity in new business fields and technologies.
The fact that dpa continues to develop stably in this phase of industry transformation is primarily thanks to its team. It is a great pleasure for me, together with the employees of the dpa group in Germany and at over 100 locations worldwide, to accept the challenge of leading one of the world’s largest private and thus independent news agencies into the future. We are all looking forward to continuing our good cooperation with you.
Hamburg, im May 2019