Wave 2 Blog

Regional press: is curation one way forward?

As a world leader in automated publishing solutions, we keep a close eye on newspaper trends and developments, not least to keep up to speed with all the latest innovations. Indeed, developments are moving at a fast clip across the world as publishers navigate what is a very disrupted media landscape.

On that note, something of deep interest caught our attention earlier this year. An article in leading trade title Journalism.co.uk took a look at Tamedia, the largest media group in Switzerland.

What marks Tamedia out as a pioneer is that eighteen months ago it developed a new digital product that would encourage people to pay for regional news (rather than consume it for free online). It did this by creating an app called 12app which curates twelve existing stories from Tamedia’s portfolio of regional press in one single place. In essence it delivers the 12 most important stories of the day to its readers. And that’s it.

Has it worked in practice? It’s still relatively early days, although eighteen months in today’s publishing paradigm could be thought of as an eternity! Regardless, the app’s performed very well. Priced at 6 CHF (£4.32) per month, the app has attracted 35,000 subscribers and 15,000 daily users. Of course, some of these users take 12app as part of a bundle subscription, but it’s still a very decent uptake.

What is especially innovative about 12app idea is that the app’s success is measured by a ‘yes/no’ button added at the end of each of the 12 stories. This rating metric, as well as story page views, provides a deep insight into the popularity of stories and helps the Tamedia team promote more of the types of stories people would like to read. A sort of virtuous feedback loop. Simple yet brilliant.

It’s clever and in an age where content is ubiquitous and overloaded, the ability of a publisher to curate articles for its readers will become ever more important. As one of Tamedia’s digital specialists says, “It’s more than just an app, it has become a workshop where we are working on the journalism of the future.”

It’s difficult to disagree. It is yet another example of how newspaper media companies are transitioning legacy models and building profitable new revenue streams. For publishers moving forward this is going to be increasingly important, especially with regards to smartphone monetisation.