"We can have heated discussions about technical solutions. That sometimes results in a fight to the finish. BIT does not unthinkingly do whatever we want them to. When you are wrong, they let you know."
NDC|VBK is a media company with leading products and services in the Dutch language area. They are active in the fields of knowledge, culture, information and commerce with printed and electronic (mass)media. The NDC|VBK portfolio contains newspapers, advertising flyers, radio and television shows, magazines, books, educational publishing, comic books, audio books and electronic publishing.
"The largest shareholder in our company is the foundation Je Maintiendrai Beheer. Je Maintiendrai has been founded in the final years of World War II as a publisher of illegal journals. It aims to keep the independent newspapers in the northern Netherlands alive. The Dagblad van het Noorden and the Leeuwarder Courant are two of our best known daily newspapers, but we also publish other journals, advertising flyers and books - from Dan Brown to the Dikke Van Dale. We currently have around eleven thousand titles with 1600 new ones coming out every year.
For hosting the preferred supplier
New media is increasingly important to us publishers. There is a shift going on in the media consumption and new types of media are developing. This goes for newspapers and magazines as well as books and educational publishing. The content is our core business, which we publish on different platforms. We have news sites, corporate sites, webshops and communities, all related to our newspapers and books. We offer specially modified mobile versions of our news sites, we have iPhone-apps, like exam training on iPhone, and we have games, like Predict the News on wistikal.nl. All ways of trying to get people involved with the news. There is talk of 'internet everywhere' in the near future. Everything will be connected to the internet in one way or another. If we want our content to draw attention, we will have to make sure we are present on every single one of those platforms. How do we do that? This remains a question to all of us. However, it is good to busy yourself with that innovation process. We do not stand by idly; the Leeuwarder Courant, the oldest newspaper in the Netherlands, was the first with a complete web edition.
As manager of the Intermedia department, I am responsible for all technology concerning new media, which includes the hosting of our websites. We started out with a few servers of our own. At one point, we started providing sports games through the internet, where players can become the coach of their own soccer teams and put their ideal team together. This generated so much traffic however, that we had no choice but to find a professional party to manage that. That is how we ended up at BIT. In our scene they were known as a party of enthusiasts, not merely commercialists, with a company built on that enthusiasm. That was exactly what we were looking for. Currently we have eighty or ninety servers there. Ninety-five percent of all our websites run through BIT. This means news sites, webshops, communities, sports games and the playback of videos. They are the preferred supplier for hosting as well. Also BIT filters all of our emails for viruses and spam.
It just has to work
I am not looking for commercial contracts. 'It simply has to work,' BIT said. They feel responsible and they think along with us. That continues to be the approach we prefer. We can have heated discussions about technical solutions. That sometimes results in a fight to the finish. BIT does not unthinkingly do what we want them to, they feel responsible and do not hesitate to offer up their own solutions and say 'we would do this differently.' When you are wrong, they let you know. I like that. It truly makes them into an extension of my department. There is no clear division between our separate responsibilities, but more of a grey area in which we both carry the responsibility. We have a lot of confidence in them, but they certainly earned it."
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