From The Financial Times:
Europe’s biggest media group has a problem. It is a family-controlled German conglomerate competing in a digital age dominated by Amazon and Apple. One of its peers, publisher Axel Springer, has confessed to being “afraid of Google”. Another, France’s Vivendi, is breaking up after investors judged it less than the sum of its parts.
. . . .
Since his promotion to the top job in 2012, Bertelsmann has merged its book division Random House with rival Penguin to create the world’s biggest publisher by sales, Penguin Random House (which is part-owned by Pearson, owner of the Financial Times).
. . . .
All those moves were intended to allow Bertelsmann to grow in the new media landscape. “Until two years ago at Bertelsmann, digitisation was primarily seen as a threat and not an opportunity,” says Mr Rabe, who has been with the group since 2000. “People were looking for this famous red button to press to stop digitisation.”
. . . .
“In the past people told me, ‘Thomas, never touch the German [book] club business’, or ‘never sell the Chinese club business’, or ‘you can’t reduce headcount in Gütersloh’.
“We’re in the process of shutting down the German book club, large parts of it. I liquidated the Chinese book club during the Olympic Games in 2008 when it attracted less attention,” he says.
Link to the rest at Financial Times (behind paywall, sorry)
PG says the European media execs generally don’t do interviews very well. He cringed whenever the CEO of the European media conglomerate for which he formerly worked got anywhere near a reporter.
“Shutting down the German book club” may make the earth move in Gütersloh, but it doesn’t exactly give PG goosebumps.