2016 Winner


The Dallas Morning News

Dallas, United States

Category New Corporate Innovation Initiative

Overview of this campaign

In January of 2015 we intentionally separated a cross-functional group of employees and gave them a common goal: to “act” like a start-up. They were to redefine our entire entertainment offering with the consumer first and rebuild from the ground up our consumer value proposition, the look and feel of a brand new site and re-imagine the consumer journey and our company’s path to monetization.

We launched GuideLive.com in March ’15 and with it, we birthed the future structure of our entire newsroom. We based success on 3 primary success factors of:

1. Product improvement defined by return visitors, depth of visit and an intentional drive to solving “FOMO” or fear of missing out for our local market by curating the most compelling listing of things to do in the city at any given time.

2. Process and workflow optimization in which the group was able to more nimbly create and publish content and react to consumers

3. Create new monetization streams above the “traditional” advertising revenue and prove its own financial ROI as a stand alone site

What we learned about our consumer is that to truly compete in the entertainment space, we didn’t need to be a better entertainment section of a newspaper, but rather a better alternative to entertainment properties already in our market. To do this, we needed to reinvent it and to do this, we needed to shift to a vertical content and niche strategy.

The entertainment section of our site went from DallasNews.com/Entertainment to GuideLive.com. The branding for The Dallas Morning News transitioned from a branded house to a “house of brands” in which this was the first to break out and have a distinctly different look and feel with a very subtle brand nod to the master brand. It was not only “ok” but intentional that the site not clearly tie back to the Dallas Morning News as an offering.

Results for this campaign

The digital revenue for GuideLive.com was an overall small percentage of overall revenue. The challenge was the lack of traffic and lack of diversified audience. Once the site was relaunched, it became a “destination” for the local audience. We were able to add significantly more ad impressions overall and, while growing audience, also charge more. In fact, today we enjoy a CPM on GuideLive.com that is 3X higher than the ROS (run of site) direct sold ads. Due to advertiser interest, we also created custom ad units that were able to be served and tracked through our ad serving platform to ensure consistent campaign reporting.


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