Annual Report

2. Business performance

The impact of the pandemic on dpa and on the media industry as a whole has shaped the year 2020. Corona affected almost all corporate and journalistic decisions made by Germany’s largest news agency. At the same time, the digital transformation of the entire industry continued apace. Despite the challenging conditions, the management and editors-in-chief were able to forge ahead with restructuring the agency and take the right steps to ensure the successful future for the German Press Agency.

Particular attention was given to pursuing the marketplace strategy. The idea that a news agency is not just a delivery service for content, but rather a marketplace for services, technologies, collaboration and ideas, become more tangible during the year. The dpa ID partner programme was launched, which opens up the dpa marketplace to external providers. PolitiX (political monitoring), BotTalk (conversion of text into audio), 23° Atlas (data visualisation) and other services are among those which can be accessed.

The dpa ID is the common key to the dpa marketplace, which is now called the “Magic Marketplace”. Especially during the first phase of the pandemic, dpa was able to issue thousands of dpa IDs to users in home offices in a swift and non-bureaucratic manner. These enable full access to all dpa services from external editorial departments. A total of around 17,000 media professionals and communications experts now have a dpa ID.

Important steps were also taken in other fields. For example, dpa took over the business of the video news agency TeleNewsNetwork (TNN) and thus greatly expanded its video portfolio. TNN produces news videos from all over Germany in cooperation with a network of video journalists and producers. The focus is on major political and economic situations, crime, accidents, court reporting, celebrities and the weather. TNN offers some 15 video reports daily for TV stations and web portals and operates under the umbrella of the dpa subsidiary Rufa.

In addition, the German Press Agency has taken over dpa-digital services completely as from January 1, 2021. It was previously a joint venture with the Austrian APA. The company specialises in enabling digital newspaper content in apps and websites in a straightforward and flexible manner. APA had held 50 per cent of the shares until the dpa takeover.

Important editorial change processes also came on stream. Of particular note are the central input project and process profiling in the photographic department. Based on the principle that reporters work in the field, with texts edited at headquarters, dpa’s editors-in-chief decided to further centralise this process. Texts from the seven regional are now edited in the Berlin newsroom. The new Germany desk began working in August 2020. The revised structure has already proven its worth and clients benefit from the streamlining.

A lot of work went into the Profile Photo process. The aim here is to bring dpa’s photo services more closely into line with the changing requirements of media markets and to secure the agency’s future via intensive customer dialogue. For example, a customer survey showed significant changes in demand for picture material in the early hours and for symbolic stock images. The long-term process will focus on further developing workflows, structures and responsibilities as well as improving coordination with the dpa-Video team.

The important role of the picture services for dpa’s overall success of dpa was further emphasised by an additional appointment to the chief editorial board. At the start of 2021, Silke Brüggemeier, who headed the editorial photographic department of the Bild-Zeitung newspaper for several years, took up her work as deputy editor-in-chief and chief picture editor.