Regional publishers as digital innovators

Publishers have been fanning out their business with projects outside their traditional area of expertise. Is your organization also thinking outside the box? What field do you think publishers should explore further to reach more users?

Here are 3 examples of newspapers going beyond their current business whether through new product offerings, democratic audience involvement or hardware implementation. 

New successful formats – L’édition du soir, France

L'edsWhen Ouest France launched L’édition du soir with Twipe in 2013, it was the first digital-only daily publication in France. Initially conceived as a playground for editorial innovations it has transformed in a vital part of Ouest France’s overall digital strategy. Based on a freemium model, users have access to five articles before having to register. Paying subscribers get the full publication also ad-free. Accessible on the Web and through native Android and iOS apps, L’édition du soir reaches more than 1.8 million readers every month. A proof for the engaging success of this digital product are its 90,000 recurring users that read at least three times a week. 

WiFi for the region – Nordkurier, Germany

logo_nordkurierThe Nordkurier Mediengruppe, based in Neubrandenburg in the North-East of Germany is introducing WiFi hotspots around the region in order to set up a close WiFi network in an area that is not sufficiently covered with fast data access. Usage is free, unlimited and does not require registration. Lutz Schumacher, Editor in Chief of Nordkurier, wants to grab this opportunity of digitization and build a foundation to strengthen the region. If all infrastructure tests are successful, the network will be open to users by the start of the summer.

Citizen Participation – AZ Medien, Switzerland

petitioch

Petitio.ch is a localized petition platform. Launched in Switzerland, municipal residents can initiate petitions that run with coverage from local newspapers. If a petition gains enough endorsements from other citizens, it is presented by a regional newspaper to the relevant city council member. Petitions are open for 30 days and need to gather a certain number of endorsements depending on the size of their municipality (eg petitions in small towns only need 50 endorsements). The project was partly funded by the Google Digital News Initiative. Swiss regional publisher AZ Medien launched this portal in an open-source architecture and is a partner for other publishers who want to make this platform available in other regions.