Start-ups’ have a high need for all kinds of publicity and media coverage but they generally avoid paid advertising channels. Instead they focus on their own and earned channels. This is no surprise considering typical start-ups’ limited marketing budgets. Conversely, they still value traditional media coverage, especially newspaper coverage.
The infographic findings are based on a summary of six case studies of start-up companies’ media purchasing patterns. Idean prepared the study with Project Manager and Doctoral candidate Timo Ketonen from Åbo Akademi University.
This might be interesting to any startups in the media field. Sanoma Group has established SanomaVentures, an international fund focused on early stage investments. The media group is sticking with the clear future of media, focusing on segments like online consumer services, mobile and tablet based services, TV & video, online advertising, e-commerce and e-learning. Typical investments will be in the €100 000 and €500 000 range.
When you're looking for a new TV show to watch, sure, you can ask your friends for recommendations. But wouldn't it be better if you could get connected to someone on the other side of the world who likes almost the exact types of shows and music as you? It's tough to keep up-to-date with all the movies, TV shows, music, and books out there, but luckily a new Helsinki-based startup, RecThing, is helping people across the world connect to their "taste soulmates" with the launch of their public beta.
Some companies like Netflix and Amazon try to facilitate recommendations automatically, but they lack the personal touch of real recommendations which dig deeper into the niches, rather than safe mainstream content. Recthing allows users to recommend books, TV Shows, movies, games, and music, and then follow users to see what else they recommend, which clusters users together rather than content.
We've always been pretty transparent about our experiments in the media space here at ArcticStartup. This is because we fundamentally don't believe in one absolute truth nor just a few correct ways to go about creating content and value to our readers. This summer we're going to be experimenting with something new as well. Until the end of July, we're going to be dropping our publishing frequency to just one article a day.
To anyone working in a media company they understand that this is voluntary surrender regarding the race for more pageviews. Then again, we've never been after pageviews, but more people who really engage with our content and our site (and partly, that's calculated by the amount of repeat readers we have and how that increases over time). While many news organisations publish tens of articles a day to keep those pageviews up, we're willing to test this summer how we're going to do with just one quality article a day.
I've been writing for ArcticStartup for some time now, and I've seen some startups play the media game better than others. In a way to mutually help each other get better content on the web, here are some tips on how to pitch to ArcticStartup and other media. Most of this is common sense stuff, but by laying it out all out there might help avoid some rookie mistakes.
While we've got some practical tips below, what really helps get best coverage of your startup is building relationships with writers. Some of the best ways to do so involves sending smaller updates by email or Skype, and engaging the writers over twitter or through comments in their articles. This was really emphasized by Jyri Engeström in a past article on ArcticStartup when he launched Ditto doing the PR himself.
There are numerous different ways media companies generate news. Some focus to cover the bigger picture of events. A good example of this is The Economist. They dig deep into the story backgrounds and go beyond the obvious. Another more common way to cover stories online is the one of breaking news.
Breaking news type of stories are hard to catch and usually require the media organisation to be on alert at all times. Another way to go about it is talking to lots of startups and simply getting news first. Third way to go about breaking news is to try and get an exclusive story from the startup. The startup can then decide if they want to give exclusivity to only one company. In our experience, most startups try to get the news out to as many companies out there that would want to cover them. After all - it doesn't make sense to artificially limit coverage.
Why am I writing about exclusive stories then? Well, we've heard a rather disturbing way Techcrunch handles some exclusives these days and feel its in the interest of the startups in our readers to know more about the practice.
Every year Deloitte puts together a ranking of the fastest growing companies in Europe. We edited that list down, and put together all the companies featured in the top half of the Deloitte 500 that were in ArcticStartup's area of interest. The first number you'll see is the company's ranking on the complete European list of companies, and also keep in mind the final number is based on the percentage revenue growth over the last five years:
Scoopshot is a service by a Helsinki, Finland based startup PS2 Media Group Inc that changes the way media companies work with photos. It's a lot said, but I'm willing to back it up as a person running a media company myself. In all simplicity, Scoopshot makes smartphone owners photographers for media companies. Users can take newsworthy photos and send them to the service through the Scoopshot mobile app and sell them at a set price. Journalists writing stories can purchase the photos at the price the photographer has set. If they wish to purchase the exclusive right to use the photo, they pay ten times the set price. I talked with Petri Rahja and Jussi Liimatainen about the service and what the company is up to.
Hopeinen Norsu (Finnish for Silver Elephant) is a Finnish company developing a service called Snipbase. Snipbase is a sort of a scrapbook for ads. This means internet users can click and save interesting ads and companies through online ads, for example, to Snipbase's database and come back to later see what exactly the company had to offer. Not only does it work online, the company tells us the service will work with print ads as well.
In our quest to search new ways of serving our community better with interesting, educational, inspirational and most of all - useful content, we'll be testing a new type of post in the coming few weeks. The new type of post will be a link to an external website, preceded by "Link" in the title.
We're always on the look out for great content to publish here on ArcticStartup. From time to time we want to remind our community that we're here for you and want to get your stories across to the larger audience. To do this in a successful manner we want to hear about them! Furthermore, if you feel you can write a blog post or two - don't hesitate to get in touch with us. We're also eager to publish contributed content, when it fits our editorial guideline and isn't an outright commercial for your own services.
To contribute, all you need to do is get in touch with email@example.com and suggest a topic what you'd want to cover.
Perhaps the worst issue with everyday articles on news are quite dry, primarily for the fact that the content is written by one person. Although there are comments section available and the integration of social media buttons that enable sharing on Facebook or Twitter, you can’t really alter content in any way. You can mention the errors in a post, make a very valid point but then wait for the addition to be made if the writer sees the error and more importantly make the amendments within the article.
Leiki has announced it has entered into a partnership with Helsingin Sanomat (the largest daily newspaper in Finland) to personalise articles on the front page of its digital version. The digital version is the premium, paid version of the newspaper, that can be found online.
A little over a year ago we reported on a Finnish media startup called Indiedays. The company put together a fashion, beauty and lifestyle network of bloggers, all under the same address to leverage their traffic and build a new media destination. I talked to the CEO and co-founder Esa Suurio about their development in 2010 and how they were able to exceed their goals.
Since the dawn of man, when we first started walking upright, humans have been curious about the world around them. This desire to understand, to learn, drove explorers to visit new lands, the invention of novel ways to communicate across vast distances, and more recently, during the past few centuries, it gave birth to the news industry. Before the internet the only way to find out about what was going on in your little town was to ask around or pick up a copy of the local newspaper. Then radio and television came along, and that too helped people make better use of the city that they called home. With the internet however, we broke all that. The "global village" was created, was then hyped in the late 90s, crashed miserably, and from the ashes rose the "web 2.0" culture where everyone was told that what they have to say is important, critical in fact, to the future success of the medium. That unhealthy attitude ruined the way we consume and create news.
For those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s, watching how new technologies enabled us to do things that people only dreamed about half a century ago, and then having a front row seat to the transformation that the web has gone through during the 00s, we're now beginning to witness a regression in progress that isn't brought about by what the machines and infrastructure of today are capable of achieving, but instead by the increasing complexity of doing business on the internet and defining what actually has value and what's painfully worthless.
Flockler is a new start-up from Tampere, Finland, that offers a Twitter-like online publishing platform with two products: Reporter and Deal Flow. The Reporter tool allows professional or citizen journalists post short news stories that appear in a feed on the newspaper's webpages. Other users can share, 'like' and in the future comment on each story. Savon Sanomat is currently using the tool for its Kiekkoviisaat service where hockey fans post latest sports news. Aamulehti uses Flockler to run its Nettikampa tool where journalists post various 'soft news' content from the web. Flockler's second product, Deal Flow, helps small businesses put an online ad to their local newspaper: the short text also appears in a feed on the paper's webpages.
We recently argued that Schibsted will give Finnish media companies a run for their money in classifieds and market places. Now Schibsted Classified Media Finland's CEO, Jussi Lystimäki, tells us that Tori.fi just passed the one million unique visitor water mark last week. This comes from a firm who just opened their Finnish site in December.
Lystimäki further commented that they are adding tens of thousands of products a month. No doubt, this traffic has not been cheap, but it comes to show that that digital marketing is fulfilling its overdue promise and that ROI is superior compared to the traditional channels. If marketing's focus is moving online, it should also be the media's.
Finland is not protected from what has been happening in other markets for some time and it's high time for the Finnish companies to wake up to reality. I might be overly optimistic here, but perhaps they may even start innovating on their own and who knows, maybe we will see quality content emerge beyond classifieds. Never have Finns been as innovative and performed as well as when the crisis has been the deepest. And deep it is.
The two big Finnish “old media” companies, Sanoma and Alma Media, published their 2009 results yesterday and today, respectively. However, as seems to be the common policy, neither of them was too open about the state of their online business. But luckily Alma still offered some nuggets of information for constructing a picture of what’s going on.
The two online legs of an old media company are typically classifieds and editorially driven news sites. Alma’s classifieds segment, which includes such assets as the housing site Etuovi.com and jobs site Monster.fi, posted a loss of €0.7m with an €27m revenue. Sanoma doesn’t give out any information on its online classifieds.
On the online news side, Alma publishes Iltalehti.fi, the biggest website in Finland by unique visitors. Although the full year figures for the asset were not disclosed today, the Q1/09 report from April states a revenue of €1.2m, so the annual income is likely to be around the €5m mark. Given that Iltalehti.fi relies mainly on journalistic content, the site is – after full allocation of editorial costs – most likely loss-making or, if they’re lucky, posting a very small profit.
In addition to the Jesus tablet (yes, that's what some people call it) there are rumors about a similar-ish device from Microsoft, a color tablet device called Courier and of course HTC is cooking one with Google, maybe. At least that's the word on the street.
What do you do with the too big iPhone? Just as the vision of the infamous CrunchPad, it would be a great device to browse the web laying on the couch. After all taking a MacBook Pro to bed or browsing it while laying on the couch is not only clunky and difficult, it is also likely to burn you. But there is only so much Internet you can browse while laying on your back or when curled up on a couch. So what would be even better usage for a browser that does not fit in your pocket?
(To our readers in Sweden: There's a little summer gift waiting for you in the end of the article.)
As filesharing, piracy, copyright and privacy issues, and the future of media in whole being the current hot topics, I sat down with Peter Alvarsson, Founder and COO Headweb, to hear his thoughts as an industry player dealing with the changing market space.
Headweb is a Swedish startup offering movies online for both rent and download. The company was founded 2006 being the first legal service to offer DRM-free downloads. Not just that, they also engourage and reward filesharing using a custom P2P technology to deliver downloads. The service is platform independent, by so far one of a kind in Sweden, running smoothly both on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Headweb is a premium service charging average $3 / $13 per movie (rent/download). The company is backed up by angel investors and has today a team of 10 people with offices in both Stockholm and Gothenburg.
This is a reminder that ArcticStartup and Nordic Mobile Media Conference are looking for the “most interesting Nordic/Baltic mobile startup”. The winner startup will get 2 free passes to the event in Tallinn, Estonia on December 3-4th. To apply, please tell us why you should be selected by sending mail to mart.kikas [at] aspiro.ee and info [at] arcticstartup.com. As I didn't remember post the reminder earlier, the time for applications will be extended until this Friday, November 7th. So send in your application if you haven't already!
In addition to the entrance, the winners will get an exhibition stand in the exhibition hall in the networking/coffee breaks area, along with a table, chairs, electricity and WIFI internet connection for introducing your startup to the conference delegates and to demo what you are doing.
If getting a free pass isn't your bag, you may also register to the conference on the event web page.
Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, offers Finnish companies possibility to take part in the UCLA Global Access Program once again this year. In the program MBA students of UCLA will make an international business plan for the companies as their final thesis, focusing on analysis and action plan for entering specific international markets. The program was ranked last year as the best of its kind in the US, and the bar for both participating companies and students is high. There have been yearly around 10 Finnish companies participating in GAP, including e.g. one of the fastest grown firms Openbit and Cidercone.
Eurostars is an European funding and support program specifically dedicated to creating competitive SMEs that will be leaders in their own sector. The program tries to ignite international collaborative research and innovation projects by easing access to support and funding for growth companies. The program is initiated by EUREKA, pan-European intergovernmental network founded to enhance competitiveness of European businesses. Eurostars offers 400 million euros of R&D funding to SME companies over a six year period. Tekes funds the Finnish participants with 5M euros per year. The next deadline for electronic submission of applications is November 21st 2008. See instructions from Tekes.
Gaming and interactive media companies can also apply for funding of 10,000-100,000 euros for producing product demos and prototypes in the Media 2007 program. The program is aimed at companies developing on and off-line interactive works. Eligible are interactive works for the computer, internet, mobile phone, games console (including handheld), and digital television, that present a substantial degree interactivity, narrative, and innovation. Companies that submit an application must have completed a previous interactive work, or an animation of at least 24 minutes, and prove that the work has been commercially distributed between January 1st 2006 and the date of submission of their application. The next deadline for applying is November 17th.