Tailor-made events for non-advertisers bring in new revenue for Styria newspapers

By Petra Ivicevic-Bakulic

Five years ago, we in the traditional media suddenly woke up.

The consecutive growth of advertising revenues in double-digits remained only as a dream. Our “traditional” revenues have been attacked from all sides— global or local financial crises; reduced circulation; increasing consumption of digital platforms; enormous efficiency of TV advertising with acceptable investment, etc.

That’s when “digital” became the holy word in the “traditional” media business.

We made new investments and assumed the transformation of our business in that direction would resolve all our problems, stop the decrease of advertising revenue, and, with a little luck, generate new money.

We focused all our attention on identifying the best examples from the world over, urgently educated sales teams, and, overnight, turned them into digital specialists, keeping up with the latest trends.

Some sooner and some later, but eventually most of us realised that we lose advertising revenue in print faster than we can generate it on digital platforms. The advertising market was not ready to fully keep up with our digital ambitions and help us resolve our revenue problem so simply.

This is an extremely simplified and partially caricatured version of the course of events from four or five years ago, which, after a couple of wake-up calls, helped us realise that digital doesn’t exclude print and vice versa; that we have to be creative enough in the use of all our media platforms, allowing us to connect clients/advertisers and consumers.

Roughly at the same time, we realised that we could and must step out of the framework of our core business and build new pillars of revenue besides traditional advertising.

Being the leading dailies (24sata and Vecernji list) on the market with the leading news portals (each in its own segment), our media strength was undeniable. But at the same time, we were aware that it was insufficient to attack the goals (being TV or non-print advertisers/budgets, followed by sponsorship budgets) in the mission for new revenue.

That’s when the buzz around tailor-made events began:

  • The first notable event of this kind organised by a traditional media house, in this case 24sata, was called “Folk Barbecue.”

    By organising huge folk barbecues in several cities and towns throughout the country, with a previous strong promotion on its own printed and digital platforms, 24sata made it possible for the brewing and food industries to promote and sell huge quantities of their products to visitors who enjoyed an all-day sports and entertainment programme.

  • The next notable event, organized by Vecernji list, was its “Christmas Treasure Hunt.”

    Ten days before Christmas, a shopping centre became the place for the treasure hunt, which was actually a big award game with an entertainment programme for the entire family.

    The concept and conditions of the award game stimulated consumption, which was extremely important to the project partners — the shopping centre and a world-renowned credit card provider.

  • This was followed by a number of different, larger, and smaller events (e.g. “Spring Cleaning,” “Easter Egg Hunt,” “Party Tram”) connecting different industries (mostly those dominant on TV) with the desired target groups, with the occasional tuning in of the partner radio station.

The fact that most events are organised consecutively from year to year with concept adjustment, with a partial change of partners or inclusion of new ones, speaks volumes about how successful and well received this concept has been on the market.

We can call it a triple-win concept:

  1. We, the media house, proved the efficiency of our platforms and our creativity.

  2. We generated new revenue we wouldn’t realise by traditional means.

  3. Our partners got a complete communication package and the possibility to get their products into the hands of the desired target population at exactly the right moment.

This model is applicable to all media houses, regardless of size and market strength. It is important to define who you wish to be your main partner, explore their target buyers, conceive the concept of an event, and connect it with compatible partners. If you meet these goals, profit won’t fail!

About Petra Ivicevic-Bakulic

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