”Zeppelin über Berlin – on the distribution of an early media event”

On a Saturday noon in late October 1904 the first issue of the newspaper BZ am Mittag appeared in Berlin. The front page was filled with articles reporting on the Russian-Japanese War and the subsequent storming of Port Arthur. The BZ was a true novelty on the Berlin newspaper market. The publisher Ullstein Verlag believed there was a market share to be gained by launching a ”Mittagszeitung” keeping the public updated with the latest news during lunch hours. Consequently the BZ had to be edited and printed rapidly. Soon the paper boasted itself as the quickest newspaper in the world completely relying on news provided by modern technologies as telephones and telegraphs. Yet in terms of distribution the launching of the BZ was also remarkable since the newspaper depended on sales of individual copies only. As Peter de Mendelssohn put it in his seminal book Zeitungsstadt Berlin distribution itself became a trademark of the BZ. One could not subscribe to the BZ, the idea was instead to deliver it en masse onto the streets of Berlin. Each issue was to be personally sold to whoever wanted to obtain a copy. Hence, the distributional strategy of the Ullstein Verlag was to use hordes of young men and boys taking of into different city directions shouting: ”Bezett am Mittag”, ”Bezett”, ”Bezett”. The paper was, thus, literally brought on the market. The typical roll call for the BZ soon became an auditative trademark of modern Berlin accentuating the rapid pace and the urban tempo of the Reichshauptstadt.

Artikeln ingår i Networks of entertainment – early film distribution 1895-1915 (2007)

Redaktörer: Frank Kessler & Nanna Verhoeff

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