Ringier, SRG and TX Group through OneLog

by Christian Beck

Four years ago, at the SwissMediaForum 2018, the idea of ​​a common connection for the Swiss media industry was born during the traditional elephant round (reports persoenlich.com). The CEOs of CH Media, NZZ, Ringier, SRG and the TX Group seal their conviction with a handshake that Swiss media companies are best positioned together in the struggle for readers’ attention. In 2019, an idea became reality and the first online registration began. In 2021, Ringier and the TX Group founded the joint venture OneLog, a shared login platform technical provider. Since then, media users have been able to connect to 20 Minuten, Blick and many other Ringier media, Ringier Axel Springer and Tamedia.

Mr. Marchand, SRG is now also joining OneLog. What made the difference?
Giles Marchand: SRG is part of the Swiss Digital Alliance together with other leading Swiss media companies CH Media, NZZ, Ringier and TX Group. This has set itself the goal of improving the user relationship. Although SRG is not and will not become a shareholder in OneLog, it integrates the OneLog login as a third-party platform login in the interests of the alliance, so that users can easily register through various offers. The members of the alliance thus strengthen the Swiss media sector.

When OneLog launches in September 2021, it is said that SRG will offer the OneLog connection as an additional, voluntary login option on its platform. So is it now mandatory to log in?
merchant: There are no general login requirements for our offers and services. This is only necessary if SRG offers its users added value that requires a login. Example: personalization functions or mobile viewing on all devices with our streaming platform Play Suisse.

“Data collected by SRG is neither shared nor marketed”

How should I imagine that in concrete terms: What exactly should I connect to SRG for the future? And what do viewers get out of it?
merchant: As mentioned, we now have a login for our streaming platform Play Suisse and also for the popular SRF betting game. Both offers require the provision of personal data: in Play Suisse, for example, for the personalization function, in the SRF betting game, to be able to inform the winners. However, the data collected by SRG is neither shared nor marketed. Our radio, television and online offerings remain freely accessible to the public. This also includes Play SRF, Play RTS, Play RSI, Play RTR and swissinfo.ch. With existing logins, we have a total of about 800,000 registrations. Play Suisse is highly appreciated for the user experience it offers, especially the ability to stream with a Swiss connection even when abroad, for example during holidays.

In addition to SRG, the connection is used in Ringier media, Ringier Axel Springer Switzerland, 20 minutes and from the end of 2021 in Tamedia. When will CH Media and NZZ follow?
Pietro Supino: NZZ and CH Media hope to be part of OneLog in a year – and of course we hope to see other media companies from all over Switzerland.

Why is it necessary to have everyone on board – or to put it another way: why is solidarity in the Swiss media industry so important?
Mark Walder: Solidarity is very important because the Swiss media industry – like all media industries worldwide – is facing extraordinary challenges. We can only make progress if we join forces – the Swiss Digital Alliance is also building on this. We can see that digital alliances are forming in the media industry in many European countries, but the complete solidarity like in Switzerland is unique. A unified approach in the media industry is also key in other areas, especially in the joint initiative to introduce a subsidiary authorization, which aims to control the third-party use of media content by technology companies. Against this background, I am very happy that SRG – as I said, a founding member of the Swiss Digital Alliance – will soon use OneLog.

merchant: The Swiss media market is too small to fight each other. The real competition is the global players, who take away a large amount of advertising money from Switzerland. Therefore, strengthening the Swiss media center should be our common goal.

“Data protection is always our top priority”

In an interview persoenlich.com, we made sure that the media only exchange e-mail addresses and passwords with each other, but no other user data. Your marketing department would surely be very interested in this…
Supine: Nothing has changed about that. OneLog is a pure login solution that is clearly not used for advertising purposes. Data protection is always our highest priority.

merchant: SRG does not share any user data. It receives the data it needs to connect with users registered with OneLog, for example if they want to connect to Play Suisse using the OneLog login.

OneLog has been accompanied by the Federal Data Protection Officer from the beginning. How important was that to you?
Walder: Data protection is a major concern for all partners of the Swiss Digital Alliance, because the trust and reputation that our titles enjoy among our readers are among the most important assets of all. That’s why we had Adrian Lobsiger, the Federal Commissioner for Data and Information Protection, on board from the start. The data protection officers of the companies involved – in close coordination with the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner – ensure that OneLog has been designed in line with the Swiss data protection guidelines and that the specifications are observed. In addition, and where applicable, the data protection laws of the European Union are also taken into account. How we take the subject seriously is also shown by the fact that OneLog, as an independent company, also has its own DPO, which is independent of the media companies involved.

Ringier and Tamedia already have experience with OneLog. Is the login accepted?
Supine: Tamedia launched OneLog at the same time as switching to a new paywall and introducing new subscriptions. It was a demanding move that worked well. This is shown in the growing numbers of OneLog accounts and digital subscriptions.

Walder: In general, the connection was well received by our readers. In my opinion, it should be a matter of course for every user to log in for quality journalism. In addition, the connection is created quickly – only the most necessary information is required. And a central incentive is: Register once and then access all media involved with the same connection.

Tamedia was recently added, and OneLog was gradually introduced for all titles. Mr. Supino, was there any negative reaction?
Supine: The introduction was largely uneventful. Very occasionally, users were not clear why the 20 Minuten or Blick logo suddenly appeared when logging on to tagesanzeiger.ch or tdg.ch (Tribune de Genève). With some additional information, we were able to quickly clarify these questions.

Specifically: How many people are already using OneLog?
Supine: OneLog has about 1.8 million registered users, which is a very good value for Switzerland. And they add new users every day.

“The incentive must match the title”

Do we need more incentives to get more people to register and use the login?
Walder: Yes, because additional incentives encourage both registration and logging on individual media. Above all, the incentive must match the title. For example, Blick offers the added value that you can use the comment function and participate in competitions by logging in. With Tamedia paid titles, on the other hand, they offer access to subscription content with a free trial subscription. Ultimately, each medium has to find its own mix of content, features and special offers in order to convince readers to connect. However, this is not the end of the work; it is important to continue to develop incentives to connect them. One more sentence why the login is necessary at all…

Walder: Registration and login are not ends in themselves, they allow us as a media company to know our users even better and improve the user experience – and thus remain relevant to our readers.

Why is it so important that media houses prepare in time for the end of the 3rd party cookies?
Supine: It is about our products, which we are constantly developing, improving and adapting to the needs of the user community. This is only possible if we know our audience. Information about what they read, when and for how long is important for that. To ensure anonymity, the data is of course encrypted. Where you want, the offer can also be personalized on this basis.

“This development encourages us to continue our efforts for joint solutions like OneLog”

OneLog is actually a farce: Apple introduced Passkey with iOS 16, which makes passwords useless. Other manufacturers followed. How do you arm yourself against it?
Supine: As in other areas, the big tech companies don’t have to ask twice when it comes to connected technology and try to expand their supremacy. This development encourages us to continue our efforts for joint solutions like OneLog.

Where will OneLog be in a year?
Walder: I am firmly convinced that in a year all leading Swiss media will be using OneLog. This is immanently important for the connection to quality journalism becomes a matter of course – as is already the case with Netflix, Instagram, Spotify, Twitter and so on. The Swiss digital alliance would be happy if smaller companies would also use OneLog at the moment. Because the closer we use the common login, the wider the Swiss media will strengthen. In addition to the media headlines, OneLog is expected to be introduced to a medium in a broader sense for the first time later this year…

In which?
Walder: JobCloud AG – owned equally by Ringier and TX Group – is the leading digital company in the Swiss labor market and offers various recruitment solutions. In addition to leading job portals such as jobs.ch, JobScout24.ch and jobup.ch, the portfolio also includes promising technologies. And by the way: We can already see that the first discussion with our colleagues from JobCloud about the new features that connect them is very fruitful.

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