[Germany] Today I should have received my first edition of Niuu, a personalised print newspaper comprised of articles taken from various blogs and newspapers. Delivery time should be between 4 AM and 6 AM so that people can read it over breakfast. Niiu has contracts with mostly German newspapers like Bild, Frankfurter Rundschau and Handelsblatt but also with the Washington Times and The International Herald Tribune.
Readers can use the Niiu website to customise which page of a newspaper they want to read in the morning. Local news from Berliner Morgenpost can easily be combined with Sports from Bild and the New York Times’ frontpage with just a few clicks. Content can always be reshuffled for the next day’s edition. Even Russia’s Komsomolskaja Prawda is a partner as well as blogs like Cult of Mac, Slashdot and Netzpolitik.
Niiu licenses blog posts and complete newspaper pages to print them at night on a super-duper digital printing engine from Océ. Delivery is done by the German postal service or OHL Logistics. During the first six months only the newspapers get paid for their content, bloggers have to wait for Niiu to figure out their revenue share model. They’re not being discriminated against, says co-founder Wanja S. Oberhof, but it’s a practical issue: Newspaper pages have a known size and established prices while blogs have a more variable output. Their articles are longer or shorter and on some days a blogger writes nothing if he/she doesn’t feel like.
Niiu aims to get 5,000 subscriptions in six months for their €1.80 newspaper, this number is needed to break even. Students pay only €1.20 and revenue also comes from targeted ads, depending on the readers’ residence or university. As of today, Niiu reportedly has more than 10,000 registrations, although it must be noted that the first edition is currently free.
The service is being run as a six month pilot, with delivery only in Berlin. If it flops, 23 year old Wanja and his partner Hendrik Tiedemann aged 27 can go back to university where they still have to finish their business studies. Niiu’s launch was 2.5 years in the making and the two of them have invested a lot of money, says Wanja, that’s why they are planning for the long term.
However, as always execution matters: At 4 PM I was still waiting for my Niiu newspaper to arrive. That’s too late for breakfast, even in bohemian Berlin.