While everyone else is at the pool….
Ernest Bujok is one of our houseguests this week.
He’s a former member of the Belgian parliament who is now a Managing Director at Concentra.
Concentra is one of the largest newspaper chains in Belgium.
Newspapers are a mature business. The average newspaper reader is in their 50s and new ones are not coming along. Young people just don’t read papers – they never picked up the habit. Thus, as much as we might like newspaper and believe they are important, the future for them does not look good – at least not in the paper and print mode.
We met Ernest five years ago when he was starting a new project for Concentra – a chain of four hyperlocal TV stations in Belgium, based on our VJ only model.
As this was not a ‘conversion’ of an existing station, but rather constructing something from scratch, there were not ‘discussions’ about crew v. VJ. It was all VJ from the start.
Today, five years later, the television division of Concentra, something Ernest started, is now the most profitable part of the business.
This is a pretty remarkable achievement.
(Concentra was so delighted with the results, that they founded the extremely well-named Rosenblum Institute in Brussels. )
They also set up and offer a yearly prize of €10,000 for the best VJ piece. For the past 3 years it was limited to Europeans. It is now open to anyone. (for Americans, this translates to about $13,300 – but likely to continue to rise).
Now, Ernest and Concentra are planning something new. We are going to have a global conference dedicated both to the VJ concept, as well as to the Digital Revolution. Held in Brussels at the end of February, it will be called DNA2008, for Digital News Affairs, with guests and speakers from all over the world.
More details to follow.