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Toronto Star Idea Factory stimulates new products, revenue

11 February 2016 · By L. Carol Christopher

The Toronto Star’s Idea Factory is an internal process for stimulating, collecting, and evaluating new product ideas and cost improvements. 

The Star encapsulated its mission in the form of a logo that simply and dynamically expresses the immediacy, curiosity, and “what if” potential of its quest. The Star created a Web tool for ideas submissions, with significant encouragement on stimulating ideas. Responses are discussed, over coffee, in an Idea Factory Café. 

Participants only need to submit their thoughts around a few simple questions, then a review committee screens the ideas to determine which ...


KM Media brings in revenue creating marketing plans for nightclub, football club

10 February 2016 · By Mark Toner

You wouldn’t necessarily expect a trendy nightclub to take its design cues from a news media company. But in the Kent region of England, that’s exactly what has happened.

When Blake’s Club was preparing to launch, its management hired KM Media Group’s advertising division, KMCreate, to design a logo, branding materials, and an advertising and social media campaign. Now that the nightclub is open, KMCreate continues to create branded video animations for use inside the club.

KMCreate has also helped a local football club rebrand its catering operations, redesigning the look and feel of its menus and related imaging. It designs and produces logos, collateral, and awards for other customers, and it recently won a contract to provide video services for a local council. 

KMCreate is a marketing resource for many local businesses/events, including the Kent County Show.

In its second year, KMCreate is projected to bring in more than £200,000 of work, “and substantially more than that in potential for ...


A night out with De Standaard turns subscribers into ambassadors

09 February 2016 · By Emmanuel Naert

In times of never-ending budget haircuts, liquid marketing budgets are often first to get clipped. Events especially are top targets for trimming because they may seem redundant with other marketing strategies.

This is unfortunate because creating your own event, your own marketplace, is an extremely valuable and rare opportunity to interact live and in-person with audiences, building connections and relationships. 

De Standaard’s recent event, “Nacht van De Standaard” (A Night with De Standaard), is a prime example.

Nacht van De Standaard was an interactive event for 1,500 attendees at De Singel.

All year long, news staff at our Belgian newspaper, De Standaard, works behind closed doors, doing desktop publishing. Our most frequent direct communication with readers is from a weekly customer service report, in which we read about complaints and a ranking of main reasons for ...


Advertiser-supported tablet-only magazines keep growing at Tablet Media

08 February 2016 · By L. Carol Christopher

Billing itself as “smart reading for smart people,” Prague-based Tablet Media is an independent Czech publishing house established by a group of senior journalists and media managers. The goal? Creating a network of magazines that have no printed versions, but exist only as tablet editions.

Tablet Media sees the tablet magazine format as a new way for magazines to continue their existence. The business model is based on free magazines with revenues coming from advertising; an important part of the plan was to create tablet advertising that is both interactive and attractive.

Tablet Media produces four magazines, all free, all only produced for the tablet platform.

With its 20 employees, Tablet Media produces the first tablet-only magazine, not only in the Czech Republic, but in Central Europe as well. Its news magazine, Dotyk (The Touch), debuted in May 2013. Part of its distinction from tablet versions of traditional media is ...


Expressen’s new product lab innovates its way to younger audiences

02 February 2016 · By L. Carol Christopher

Swedish national daily Expressen likes to say that “Expressen is younger than ever thanks to its new viral sites.” It now reaches more than 40% of Sweden’s young adults. 

After seeing enormous growth potential in social media and the significant role it plays in people’s lives, Expressen created a social media desk in October 2013. The social media desk had as its goal not only to learn more about new journalistic and communicative possibilities, but also to utilise them to increase its total digital reach with readers — especially young ones — and build new target groups. 

Expressen has a tradition of journalism based in storytelling — a mix of news, entertainment, sport, and debate. The assignment of the social media desk has been to keep that journalistic profile intact, managing content to mirror that of its parent company, only with an innovative new viral twist.

This success led to the June 2014 creation of a development department, Expressen Labs, and from that came Omtalat (which means “what’s being talked about”). Under the management of the social media desk, Expressen became the first large media company in Sweden to create a BuzzFeed/Upworthy-like viral site in Swedish. It is a stand-alone brand for a younger audience that can gradually be integrated into the Expressen operation if desired. 

Omtalat, a BuzzFeed-like site targeting young audiences, debuted in 2014.

Omtalat started as a brand strategy with no support, and its distribution was ...


Start-up Storyful defines its innovative culture after News Corp acquisition

01 February 2016 · By L. Carol Christopher

At Dublin, Ireland-headquartered Storyful, they like to say: “Innovation is not just a cool thing. It’s not just a process. It’s a culture. 

“We research. We design. We build.” 

Storyful has as the first of its internal 10 commandments, “Storyful elevates authentic voices with something original to say.” It bills itself as the first “social news agency,” acquiring newsworthy video content and selling licenses for its use to organisations such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and ABC, the U.S.-based television network. 

The top priority at Storyful: “Storyful elevates authentic voices with something original to say.”

Storyful bills itself as a discovery tool on the social Web, designed to help journalists “consolidate all aspects of discovery into one experience…. Within seconds our platforms will need to answer one simple question: ‘What’s happening on the Web?’” 

Storyful’s product teams build discovery tools for both Storyful and ...


Philadelphia Media Network profits from digital incubator partnerships

31 January 2016 · By Mark Toner

When sales representatives for the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and call on clients, they know the advertising collateral on their iPads — rate cards, samples, and advertising guidelines — is up to date. That’s because a mobile document management system developed by a start-up called SETVI handles the back-end syncronisation of all materials compiled by the media company’s marketing team and sales managers.

One reason SETVI’s system works so well for the Philadelphia news media company’s needs is that it was built in-house, as part of an incubator that has hosted more than 20 early-stage technology companies focused on the digital media space.

Doing so provides these start-up companies with physical workspace and an established media platform as a test bed. In return, the incubator and its tenants have provided the Philadelphia media company with new ideas, technology, and opportunities to develop new revenue streams. 

PMN supplies space and staff to help digital start-ups roll out new products.

“We’re watching how they are, on a shoestring budget, building impressive technologies, mobile ...


Eenadu makes female readers a priority with events, print product

28 January 2016 · By L. Carol Christopher

In 1992, Eenadu, which covers Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states in India, created an exclusive page dedicated to Telugu-reading women readers, the Vasundhara page, the first of its kind in India. 

Telugu is one of the four primary languages spoken in India. The newspaper has also organised events for women across the length and breadth of Indian states, designed to empower them in ways that will help them earn enough to become self-sufficient. The result has been an increase in both circulation and readership. 

Eenadu has increased readership by dedicating to its female audience.

Eenadu decided to address women in particular because news media companies were perceived to be a product skewed toward male readers, leaving women readers without ...


Fairfax Media designs to please 7 million readers with adaptive experience

27 January 2016 · By Kimberley Jones

How do you keep more than 7 million individuals happy and engaged each month on news sites? 

It’s a big number and an even bigger question. But one that I have been working on answering. 

As customer experience becomes increasingly important on digital news platforms, our readers’ insatiable appetite for a device-agnostic experience is being realised on smartphone, tablet, and desktop with a new adaptive digital solution.

We know our readers are enjoying more news, information, and entertainment on more devices and in more places than ever before. That’s why we’ve been busy creating new adaptive Web technology for our mastheads. 

New adaptive sites for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Canberra Times, Brisbane Times, and WAToday that modify how content is displayed to the reader —depending on their device — represents one of the most significant updates to our sites in the last 10 years. 

The refreshed masthead Web site design makes it easier to discover a wider range of our quality and engaging news content, and delivers a digital news platform that is ready for ...


Editorial-led product development team at Economist changes innovation internally

25 January 2016 · By L. Carol Christopher

The Economist has a strong church-state divide, which, until recently, extended to innovation. 

These days, the commercial new product development team reports to Tom Standage, The Economist’s deputy editor of innovation, to ensure much closer editorial involvement in new products. Standage is also The Economist’s deputy editor of digital strategy and is a member of The Economist Group’s Group Management Committee, allowing top-level influence with the media company’s digital strategy and development of new products. 

“Flexibility and willingness to experiment are hallmarks of successful innovation, and we’ve shown both in our internal approach to the management of innovation itself,” Standage says. “We’ve tried several models before arriving at our current approach, which integrates editorial and commercial. We think we’ve built some pretty cool stuff in the past few years, but we also reckon that this new model will allow us to innovate more quickly and successfully than ever before.” 

Previously, one editor was assigned to each new project to provide editorial oversight. This essentially involved re-purposing and re-packaging existing editorial content in ...


About this blog

The Ideas Blog captures the practical discussions and case studies of news media company to grow revenue, audience, and brand. These case studies are written by INMA members for INMA members. Begun in December 2012, this content previously resided in Ideas Magazine; for an archive of past case studies, click here.

Blog editor

Dawn McMullan is the editor of the Ideas Blog and senior editor for INMA. If you are an INMA member and would like to contribute a case study, please contact Dawn directly by clicking here.


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