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Pilot project in Düren: Cologne publishing house drops newspapers by drone


The delivery of the morning newspaper is a problem for many publishers: they can hardly find any delivery people. Some publishers are now experimenting with a high-tech alternative: drone messengers.

Enlarge image

Letterbox hit rather unlikely: demonstration of drone delivery in the district of Düren

Photo: Oliver Berg / dpa

Will the rescue of the printed newspaper really come from the air?

In any case, in the district of Düren in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Cologne-based Heinen-Verlag ("Kölnische Rundschau") is experimenting with deliveries by drone in cooperation with the Aachen media company.

»The technology and the regulation work.

We've reached a milestone with that," said Johannes Heinen, Managing Director of the publishing house.

There is space for 16 newspapers in a cube-shaped magazine under the drone.

Software controls the aircraft so that it ejects the intended specimen at a specified point.

In the project, three households on the northern outskirts of Jülich would be supplied with the »Jülicher Zeitung«.

According to Heinen, the aviation authority has approved the test operation under new EU law.

Accordingly, a computer-controlled drone weighing up to 25 kilograms may drop objects over inhabited areas.

A drone does not demand a minimum wage

Newspaper delivery by drone is interesting for rural areas with isolated buildings, where delivery is very expensive due to the distance or where there are no newspaper messengers.

In Germany, the circulation of printed newspapers has been declining for years.

At the same time, publishers are complaining about increased delivery costs, also because of the minimum wage.

Heinen estimates that it will be a few years before newspaper drones go into regular operation.

So far, the approval process for overflight rights has been very complex.

“We can only wait until drones are certified so that they can fly anywhere.” For air delivery to pay off, the drones would have to be allowed to carry even more loads and used for other transports during the day – when the newspapers have been delivered will.

Heinen-Verlag wants to develop drone services as a business model in the “short to medium term”.

A subsidiary was founded specifically for this purpose.

state wants to help

Other publishers are also working on newspaper delivery by drone.

Two years ago, the Funke and Madsack media groups took part in a corresponding pilot project in Thuringia, which was funded by the federal government.

Delivery logistics is a major expense for newspaper houses in Germany, especially in rural areas.

Declining circulations in the past decades are one reason.

Media houses also mention the minimum wage.

In the past, and now again, the federal government has been examining whether there could be state financial aid for media companies.

There are no results yet.

Previous attempts by the previous black-red coalition had failed.


Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-12-09

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