PA Explore
2021 Winner

PA Explore

PA Media

London, United Kingdom

Category Product Development

Media associated with this campaign

Overview of this campaign

PA produces a huge amount of content every week, with some one million words, 3,000 pictures, 500 videos and 100 graphics available to customers – and even more if there’s a major story to contend with.

Our challenge was to make it easier for our customers to find and use that content. In busy newsrooms, with fewer staff doing more things, it is all too easy to miss that key update or must-use picture.

PA had previously provided a text view of the main wires, but this was feeling the strain as the volume of multi-media content increased.

We spent several months talking to customers to properly understand how they used PA, and what would make it easier for them to consume the content they had already paid for. We needed to ensure that PA stayed relevant to them as an important ally in the day-to-day newsgathering business.

And the answer to this challenge was PA Explore.

The Create section of the Explore platform is the wire service for the 21st century. All the stories running in chronological order, but with all related assets linked up and available alongside the story – the sidebars, latest updates, pictures, video, graphics and social media.

Every journalist has their own login, meaning they can tailor the experience of the wires and news diaries to reflect their editorial interests. And if they are ever away from their desks, a journalist can set up any number of email notifications so they are always aware if PA has published something they are following.

The platform also includes PA Now, a new breaking news service providing the various latest information we have across News, Sport, Entertainment and City, and PA Ready, a view of all the content available on our digital feeds.

Explore was also designed to work just as well on mobile and table, with the aim of making it an indispensable tool for journalists in the office, at home and on the move.

Results for this campaign

The Explore platform was built by the PA’s own technical teams in collaboration with the editorial operation and product managers.

It was ready for launch at the start of 2020, and we anticipated the roll out would stretch across the whole of the year.

But the Covid pandemic accelerated this, with so many of our customers working from home and away from their own editorial systems which carry the PA wires.

Customers were clamouring for this new way to access PA content, and by mid-year we had moved everyone onto Explore – meaning well over 100 different customers and some 8,000 individual journalists.

The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. One senior news editor at the BBC told us the new platform was essential, and even though he is now back in the office he never uses the BBC’s own systems to access our wires because Explore is quicker and richer. We have received similar comments across local, regional and national publishers and broadcasters.

We know from our usage monitoring tools that more PA content has been consumed by customers in 2020 than ever before – and although the demanding news agenda has helped, there is no question that Explore has played an important part in this.

One of the other benefits of building the new platform is we also have a wealth of data on how customers are using Explore. Which customers are using it most, where is usage dropping off, what stories are being accessed the most, which functionality are journalists using – all vital information as we seek to build even closer relations with our customers.

We now have a platform our customers are engaging with, and we will continue to listen to their feedback to introduce new services and functionality to keep Explore relevant. In recent months we have started to add third-party content, including Germany’s dpa, in our ongoing quest to make Explore and indispensable friend for journalists across the UK and beyond.  


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