World Association of News Publishers

German publisher offers advertisers a personalised print newspaper

German publisher offers advertisers a personalised print newspaper

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Interview with Klemens Berktold, Managing Director of Funke Druck

In July this year, Germany’s Funke media group launched what it claims to be the country’s first personalised newspaper: Smartpaper One2One. The new product offers advertisers the opportunity to present their desired topic on a minimum of eight newspaper pages as well as the possibility to adapt content to suit each individual reader and region.

The new Smartpaper One2One is the further development of Smartpaper One, which lets customers compile their own, individual newspaper in the webshop and have it produced by digital printing. In recognition of this development, last year Funke was presented with a WAN-IFRA Print Innovation Award. We recently asked Klemens Berktold, Managing Director of Funke Druck, about their recent developments and future plans for Smartpaper.

WAN-IFRA: How do you describe the difference between Smartpaper One and the new Smartpaper One2One?

Klemens Berktold: The Smartpaper One product that is available in our webshops and permits the production of newspapers in any desired length of print run, without any minimum number of copies. Single copies can also be produced. In this case, the printed content is identical in each copy. As opposed to this, Smartpaper One2One permits the printing of variable data. Each newspaper copy in a print run can be produced with modified contents. This is especially useful for variable data, such as delivery address and personal address of the recipient. Images and texts throughout the newspaper can also be adapted to suit the individual addressee.

What features makes Smartpaper One2One especially attractive for advertisers?

Dr. Klemens BerktoldDr. Klemens BerktoldSmartpaper One2One is a new variation of direct mailing in newspaper form. It lands in the domestic mailbox without being enclosed in an envelope, plastic wrapper or paper cover.

On request, we print on recycled newsprint. This has advantages in relation to level of attention, production costs and environmental balance. Whether the contents are used for advertising purposes or a general communication medium within a company, association, etc., depends on the content.

Who was your first customer, and how was the feedback?

Our first customer was Deutsche Leibrenten Grundbesitz AG (a German life annuity and property company). The customer’s objective was to target potential clients and address them personally.

As the Funke media group, we provided an all-round service. Our national sales and Funke Druck divisions were involved in defining the target audience, providing the addresses as well as with the editorial content, layout, printing and delivery logistics. From what I have heard, our customer is very satisfied with the provided service. After the distribution of the Smartpaper product, interested readers contacted the company to request more information about its offering. The successful realisation of the order also resulted in the customer placing an additional order for a re-print as a corporate publishing product for use by its agents and for presentation at exhibitions.

Were there also reactions on the part of the recipients of the “advertising newspaper,” i.e. the subscribers? Did some perhaps not wish to receive it, as it is, in fact, advertising?

To begin with, I wish to make it clear that the Smartpaper One2One product must not necessarily be published in cooperation with a publishing house or as an advertising newspaper. Companies or associations can book campaigns with any desired content. In this case, Funke Druck is prepared to act as a service provider.

In this sense, the aforementioned Leibrenten job is a special case. It concerned a publication of the Funke media group in cooperation with the Deutsche Leibrenten Grundbesitz AG. Our national sales division under the leadership of my colleagues Ingo van Holt and Evangelos Botinos was responsible for this project.

I’ve been told there was a great deal of positive feedback from all sides. Readers phoned Deutsche Leibrenten to find out more about the company’s product. A few individuals also wanted to know why they had been addressed. Such queries could be dealt with on the phone.

Do you already have more customers and can you tell us who they are?

To date we have four more customers who want to conduct a campaign with us before the end of the year. In addition, we have already received queries for the coming year. Funke Druck sees its role here as to act as a service provider for internal and external customers.

When they hear ‘personalised advertising,’ many people would perhaps think first of digital channels. Why did you commit yourself to personalised print advertising?

We have not committed ourselves to print advertising. The Funke media group is strongly engaged in digital channels, among other things through its Funke Digital division. This is a central strategic focal point. But it is a matter here of doing one thing while not neglecting the other. As ‘printers,’ we at Funke Druck consider it equally our duty to give innovative impulses for publishing houses and companies as well as advertisers. Until now, very few of these have understood that there can be a digital transformation also in print. The Smartpaper products are intended to give inspiration and highlight the potential of new technologies. I believe we are just at the beginning of a promising development.

Where do you see the benefits of the print medium?

That is a vast field. The experience of reading on electronic devices does not match that of reading on paper. Each has its advantages – many scientific treatises have come to this conclusion.

For example, reading longer and more demanding texts on paper has the advantage that the reader is better able to perceive, understand and retain the printed contents. In the case of products requiring an explanation, the message quite simply gets across better on paper.

What is the technology behind the two Smartpaper versions: printing process, paper grades, distribution?

Our regular Smartpaper paper grades range from 60 g newspaper to 90 g white recycled. Printing is done by the ink-jet process. We dispatch to a delivery address. On request, we also do home delivery.

What are your expectations of your renewed participation in the Print
Innovation Awards?

Naturally, we hope our new product will put us up there among the winners… thus attracting the attention of potential customers for this promising new type of newspaper.

Do you have plans for Smartpaper One3One?

Three years ago, I got to know a local newspaper publisher in France. He had replaced his coldset press with an ink-jet web press. This new technology has enabled him to abandon his up to then regular local edition structure for his weekly newspaper. Today, readers and advertisers have many more possibilities to accurately highlight their interests in the newspaper. He claims that this has now halted the drop in sales and advertising income. Applying this principle to our markets, as a complement to the digital strategies, could prove to be a major success.

Interview by WAN-IFRA Senior Editor
Michael Spinner-Just

More information about Funke Druck and Smartpaper can be found at

Das Original-Interview in deutscher Sprache ist als PDF unten angefügt.



Michael Spinner-Just's picture

Michael Spinner-Just


2019-10-15 07:31

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