”We have worked together for many years and appreciate their help in further developing the editorial system with efficient production processes that best serve our readers in all channels,” says Jonas Dahlin, business developer at Gota Media.
Gota Media, which publishes about 20 local papers in southern Sweden, has carried out a comprehensive digital initiative over the last few years which have led to more efficient work processes internally as well as better opportunities for readers to consume news in different ways.
”Based on a large customer survey, where we looked at how readers use our digital channels, we decided to complement our existing websites with easily accessible mobile apps as a premium offering,” says Jonas Dahlin, who has been the project leader for the initiative at Gota Media.
As the circulation of print newspapers declines across the entire industry, it’s imperative to create new revenue streams with the help of attractive offers. The number of mobile readers is increasing steadily, but logging in to access some of the content behind a paywall has been seen as a hassle by some customers.
”We want it to be easy. That’s one of the reasons for why our apps are only geared toward our paying customers. To use them, you have to log in first, but then you remain logged in for as long as you wish, just like with Facebook or Instagram,” says Jonas Dahlin, adding that secure and stable logins were therefore one of the fundamental requirements for the technical solution.
Together with Infomaker, Gota Media developed the concept MinBT (MyBT) for Borås Tidning, which was the first of the group’s newspapers to launch the news apps in late March 2018.
”Creating good apps is time consuming and requires a lot of development resources. What we do is to build a platform that many customers can use. Then the design and functions are adjusted to fit the newspaper’s own colors, typefaces and the way they want to place pictures and the news flow, says Peter Månsson, CTO at Infomaker.
He said the platform is developed with so-called native technology for Android and iOS respectively to live up to the readers’ high expectations for speed and feel.
Gota Media also wanted to make the apps as clear as possible for users and chose to build it around three corner stones: Top News, My Choices, and Editions.
”Top News reflects the content on the newspaper website and provides a flow that readers are used to when the visit us digitally. With My Choices, they can become their own news editor and decide which topics or locations they want to follow, for example the area where they live or their favorite football team.
”Editions is a completely new way of packaging our material that readers can only get in the app. Here we put a little extra emphasis on the presentation, with full-screen images and other features. The editions are published every morning and night with a selection of seven to eight articles – like a digital mini paper – to provide an overview of what has happened at a given time,” says Jonas Dahlin.
The response from readers has been good. One month after launch, MinBT had about 13,000 unique users for the app.
”That’s in comparison to a print edition of 36,900 and about 26,000 digital accounts in total. We can also see that readers are visiting more sites and staying on the app for a longer time compared to logged-in customers on the mobile site. That shows an increased commitment and loyalty, which is exactly what we want to achieve with this venture, says Jonas Dahlin.
During spring 2018, Gota Media will continue to launch mobile apps for another 10 of the group’s local newspapers in southern Sweden.
”The underlying technology is already in place in the platform, so it can quickly be adapted to the different titles. We have had a good collaboration with Infomaker for a long time and they have complete knowledge of all of our editorial systems, which makes the implementation easier, says Jonas Dahlin.
Even the editorial work has been made easier thanks to the introduction of the apps, since Gota Media has used the opportunity to switch to Infomaker’s new tools Writer and Dashboard for digital planning, production and presentation.
”We get everything gathered in one place. The reporter uses Writer to write and prepare the text with the correct tags, so that it ends up in the correct flow for publishing via Dashboard. Because of the apps, tagging has become even more important. In the past it was mainly the editorial desks who created digital tables of content based on the tags. Now when the readers themselves make their selections, they want to be sure that the articles they are interested in show up in their mobile app, says Jonas Dahlin.
About Gota Media
Gota Media AB was formed in 2003 through a merger of Sydostpress AB and Borås Tidning AB. With a core business focusing on local print news, its publications cover the media markets in more than 40 municipalities in western and southeastern Sweden. It is owned by Stiftelsen Barometern and Tore G Wärenstams Stiftelse. Gota Media’s annual turnover in 2016 was about 1,092 MSEK.
Infomaker develops world-class publishing tools, empowering the media houses of the future. Thousands of professionals and millions of people interact with Infomaker solutions every day in different ways, ranging from content creation to presentation on the web, in native apps and in print. We ensure that news coverage are planned and created. Articles, images and other content is available and presented when, where and how consumers want. We are committed to constantly innovating and improving our services to meet the needs of media houses with a focus on the European market. Today and tomorrow.