We are very focused here on the power of community, harnessing the brand-customer relationship in a dynamic and interactive way - it is the future, it's started already and businesses that embrace this wholeheartedly will undoubtedly create a competitive advantage in their markets.
Bild, the largest selling newspaper in Europe (think The Sun in German but with a bit more mid-market aspiration) has announced a deal with Lidl to sell pocket-sized cameras to shoot still and video pictures for £60. While this sounds quite a high price in today's high street market, the vision of the deal is to be applauded. If Bild can motivate its audience to buy the cameras and then use them to send content to the newspaper, it will exponentially grow its reach and influence.
While there are obvious issues of quality preservation that surround the use of any content, whether professional or amateur, this shouldn't distract from the potential here. Strengthening the relationship between brand and customer, on as many platforms as possible, has to be a positive move, and in any declining market holding onto your most loyal customers has to be the main focus.
Innovation should be applauded, it will be interesting to see how this develops over the next 12 months, and whether UK newspaper brands will adopt something similar.