Nordic publishers showed their strength in this year's WAN-Ifra IFRA European Digital Media Awards.
Seven out of nine of the winners in the competition came from Denmark, Norway or Sweden.
Judges noted that the coronavirus crisis had made projects "more relevant than ever" - not least in the 'best paid content strategy' category, where almost all publishers saw a sharp rise in digital subscriptions.
While Sweden's Expressen won the judges' vote, a close battle of live-streamed presentations by finalists led to Gazeta Wyborcza winning the inaugural 'members' choice' award.
The 2020 winners provide a dose of inspiration, with innovative long-form storytelling on dementia, a social media campaign that engaged women on finance topics, a highly sophisticated membership outreach campaign, and much more.
All regional winners now automatically go forward to WAN-Ifra's World Digital Media Awards competition.
WINNERS OF THE 13th ANNUAL EUROPEAN DIGITAL MEDIA AWARDS
Best Paid Content Strategy
AB Kvällstidningen Expressen, Sweden - Expressen Premium - Ready, set, 70,000! How Expressen went from 0 to 70,000 subscribers in one year.
By forming a cross-functional team that worked in close collaboration to make informed, data-driven decisions, Expressen was able to go from 0 to 70,000 subscribers with Expressen Premium and not only meet their revenue target, but exceed goals for churn and retention. Judges comments: "an intense and highly successful paid content launch. Particularly impressed by the attention to detail - e.g., allowing each article on the site to have a unique message or campaign. It was also an achievement to reach these numbers when 95% of content remained free."
Members' Choice Award Winner
Agora SA, Poland (Gazeta Wyborcza) - Sell smarter: get more subscribers, earn more, reduce churn.
For the first time, WAN-Ifra members had the opportunity to be the judges in one of this year's European Digital Media Awards: Best Paid Content Strategy. After an online session where each finalist of the category pitched their projects, attendees had until April 17 to choose their favourite.
After a tight vote, the members' award goes to Gazeta Wyborcza for the successful introduction in 2019 of a new pricing strategy, drastically challenging the assumption that only discounted prices could work in their market. In the process, the strategy lowered Gazeta's churn rate which was high because of the promotional prices. Moreover, last year has seen a record 30 per cent growth in subscriptions (to date, 240,000 digital subscribers), more people are using recurring payments and Gazeta has reached an ARPU that was seemingly unattainable before.
Best News Website or Mobile Service
Zetland ApS, Denmark - Zetland's News App.
Zetland's app is proof that data- and feedback-driven innovation can propel significant growth. Committing to phenomenal UX and a customer-centric approach, Zetland has developed an app that combines text and audio, creating an easy-to-use experience for its audience to consume but not be overwhelmed by too much news. Judges: "While Zetland only produces a few stories per day, the shift to majority audio consumption has been a game-changer, and the interface is highly effective."
Best in Social Media Engagement
Dagens Næringsliv - The Norwegian Business Daily, Norway - DN Women.
Dagens Næringsliv created DN Women after identifying a key audience group that emerged during user interviews: women interested in career issues and personal finance. It launched DN Women as a closed group on Facebook in early 2019 and now has more than 20,000 engaged members. Judges: "It's especially smart using social media to empower an underrepresented audience while surfacing their ideas and involving them as sources in a meaningful way. This perpetuates more engagement and better journalism."
Best in Lifestyle, Sports, Entertainment Website or Mobile Services
Dagbladet, Norway - The Journey Into Dementia.
In this piece, the Dagbladet team journeys into the consciousness of a woman diagnosed with Alzheimer's and explores one of the biggest mysteries in medicine from the inside. Through words and video, this 12-chapter long read is a project that delves into a profound question at the core of human existence: how does it feel to lose yourself from within? Judges: "Fantastic story. Amazing long read, presented simply but with sophistication."
Best Digital Marketing Campaign for a News Brand
Zetland ApS, Denmark - Zetland's member-get-member campaign.
Zetland's member-get-member campaign intuitively engaged voluntary ambassadors to recruit new members and has far exceeded expectations. The campaign, based on a clear call-to-action and transparency, has achieved not only increased brand awareness, but performed well beyond its 1400 target for new members, and formed a new level of financial stability. Judges: "The outstanding results demonstrate that campaigns should not be derived from an across-the-board playbook but need to be crafted addressing the specific circumstances and audiences."
Best Use of Online Video (including VR)
VGTV, Norway - The Tinder Swindler.
VG News proves the power of digital storytelling with this creative use of short videos, text messages, and pictures, as well as a scrolling format, that completely immerses the reader in the story. Judges: "Really excellent use of video, replication of text messages, video and pictures. A highly empathetic piece that draws the consumer into the story and experience. Top-notch storytelling." Click here to watch a video about the presentation of the story.
Best Data Visualisation
BBC News, United Kingdom - How much warmer is your city?
BBC developed a compelling and easy-to-use visual experience that explains how the temperature has changed in 1000 major cities and how much it could increase in the future. By giving audiences access to relatable data about their own cities, they are able to break down figures that can be otherwise overwhelming into more understandable pieces. Judges: "Amazing from start to finish. Proves the power of data visualisation when it comes to illustrating an important topic."
Best Digital News Startup
VGTV, Norway - VG News.
VG came up with an innovative and smart combination of parallel products in order to efficiently deliver news across multiple platforms. VG effectively combined the silent video product created for its mobile platform with the audio product originally created for Google Home, now allowing its video journalists to create one simple, multifunctional product that can be used as a standard video, a silent video, and audio alone.
Best Native Advertising / Branded Content Campaign
AGORA SA, Poland - Multimedia music report: Tauron Nowa Muzyka Katowice Festival.
To promote its festival to a larger audience, Tauron Nowa Muzyka Katowice teamed up with Gazeta Wyborcza and created the multimedia music report with a unique format combining storytelling with an attractive graphic design. The report was incredibly successful, leading the Tauron New Music Katowice 2019 festival to achieve the highest attendance level in the festival's 13-year history. Judges: "The campaign is clever, well-executed and the results are outstanding.
Best Digital Project to Engage Younger and/or Millennial Audiences
Details of results will be announced soon
2020 Jurors were: Frederik Andersen (Vice Media Scandinavia), Valerie Arnould (WAN-Ifra), Jane Barrett (Thomson Reuters), Alexandra Borchardt (journalism professor and Table Stakes Europe coach), Maylis Chevalier (Vocento), Selymar Colón (Nieman Foundation for Journalism), Cherilyn Ireton (World Editors Forum, WAN-Ifra), Nancy Lane (Local Media Association), Emilie Lutostanski (Local Media Association), Etienne Millien (Groupe Sud Ouest), Cédric Motte (Groupe Centre France), Stefan Sartorius (Longtail Media), Thomas Schultz-Homberg (FAZ), Thomas Seymat (Euronews), Chris Sutcliffe (The Drum), Nick Tjaardstra (WAN-Ifra), Coralie Vrancken (Le Soir and Rossel Advertising).
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