When GE Australia wanted to claim a leadership position in the debate about policy reform to ensure a strong STEM workforce, the company turned to The Australian — a leading player in business and technology news, with the most comprehensive political coverage and a strong team covering secondary and tertiary education.

Working closely with The Australian’s partnership team, GE and commercial editors mapped out a series that would explore how to prepare Australia for a digital future.

Over a 14-week period, “Cracking the Code” examined education and innovation policy, start-ups, venture capital, and academia to determine where the next digital opportunities would come from and how the next generation of workers could take part in it.

Informed by an exclusive series of surveys of CEOs and senior managers, along with Newspoll surveys of community attitudes, the series was backed by analysis and reporting from The Australian’s team of expert editors and reporters.

Cracking the Code examines education, innovation, and future digital opportunities.
Cracking the Code examines education, innovation, and future digital opportunities.

Cracking the Code was multi-dimensional, combining content and advertising across print, online, mobile, tablet, social media, and television. A national conversation was inspired by widespread coverage, including;

  • Panel discussions featuring leading business and political identities broadcast on Sky News Business.

  • Full coverage in the business section of The Australian with archived content on a bespoke digital hub.

  • Social media amplification using graphics, quizzes, and videos.

  • A stunning feature story for The Australian Inquirer (print and digital) titled “Kids Who Code,” including video, text, and infographics. This story explored how coding is increasingly a part of school curriculums as industry teams up with schools to teach children the language of the future.

The campaign was a huge success, both for The Australian editorially and for GE, delivering more than three times their investment in overall value.

  • More than 31 stories were published across 14 weeks.

  • 1,337,000 people were reached in print, with a monthly average online audience of 1,235,000.

  • 24 videos reached 64,098 people across the News Corp network, with 4,522 of those views on Sky Business.

  • Our Web site had more than 87,227 visitors and more than 102,000 page views — a 457% increase on our KPI target.

  • The response on social media was also very positive. Our overall Facebook reach was 240,916 people, with Twitter generating 100,190 impressions, and LinkedIn 4,524.

  • The interactive article Kids Who Code received more 4,000 page views online, with the print version in The Australians Inquirer section reaching 293,000 people.

Kids Who Code explored school digital curriculum and partnered with schools to teach children the language of the future.
Kids Who Code explored school digital curriculum and partnered with schools to teach children the language of the future.

Major news events helped drive views and engagement. Cracking the Code featured an in-depth interview with Malcolm Turnbull, then-communications minister, who presaged his innovation vision for Australia — something which later became the focus of his first speech as Prime Minister.

Our interview with Melanie Perkins of Canva came just weeks before a funding round that valued the company at US$230 million. When these stories broke, more than 4,000 additional people were driven to our content.

The content was supported by an advertising campaign that drove awareness of the series and the GE brand. As part of this campaign, GE partnered with The Australian to create our first interactive tablet ad, reaching 10,594 daily domestic unique users.

This series truly demonstrated the power of a content partnership, proving that working strategically with advertisers can result in rich content that complements both their brand, and our own.