As 2023 kicked in, the 14 projects selected for the Stars4Meda NEWS sped up work on their business/newsroom transformation ahead of the end of the programme’s first phase, EXPLORE. Before nine are given the opportunity to continue their work in the programme’s second phase, which kicks off in April, we take a closer look at the winning ideas and the progress made.
We begin with a project that focuses on a format that has easily taken over the multimedia production in the last couple of years, the podcast. RePod is a project by a Belgium-based European podcasts’ production agency Bulle Media and a Swedish tech company Acast.
“The goal of RePod is to develop a production- and business- model spurring backing remakes of podcast series produced by independent producers from one European language into another one”, says Alexander Damiano Ricci, founder of Bulle Media. “Being a podcast production agency focused on original productions for clients, RePod is enabling us to test podcast-remakes as a new strategic business-strand, potentially enabling us to diversify our portfolio of activities on the media market. During the EXPLORE phase, we were able to draft and negotiate new contractual agreements with independent podcasters from Europe and better understand the specificity of 4 target national markets in the EU.”
Another project that focuses on revenue diversification is ‘Increasing the sustainability of investigative journalism in Eastern Europe through obtaining the crowdfunding skills’. This initiative by the Czechian based Belarusian Investigative Center (BIC) and Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK) from Serbia focuses on Business Transformation and crowdfunding for journalistic investigation. The project is among the five selected for Stars4Media that focus on Eastern and Central Europe.
For Stanislau Ivashkevich, BIC director, the goal of the project is to share experiences between the two organisations. Using KRIK’s expertise, BIC explores crowdfunding options for investigative journalism while KRIK learns from BIC practices for popularisation of such genre as fake [news] debunking. The Stars4Media program supports this mutual cross fertilisation, and sustains the innovation development. By working with KRIK and Stars4Media, BIC adopts the most up-to-date crowdfunding techniques for its investigative journalism.
‘The crowdfunding campaign development has resulted in a re-allocation of responsibilities within the team, creating new areas of responsibilities and developing new skills in BIC team members’ , explains Stanislau. ‘The crowdfunding campaign has given BIC a fresh look on our media projects by positively answering the question: “”Will anyone pay for this?”” thus helping to establish a loyal audience that will stay with us and pay us as we develop our media projects.’
The two projects clearly illustrate the work done on the revenue diversification, crucial for companies’ business operability.
Similarly, RePod is also not only a project that potentially can enable Bulle Media to diversify its business model, but also to provide new opportunities of revenues for independent podcasters by bridging different national podcast audiences. Alexander further explains, ‘As such, the project’s contribution is meaningful most of all in the field of the podcast-platform and creator-economy. To the extent that contractual agreements developed during the project can be adapted to media organisations, RePod could also become an interesting project to advance the sustainability of small-scale and independent media companies in different European regions.’
Using a crowdfunding option, BIC has also changed its business model, which allowed for income diversification. This would, in consequence, help solve the possible issue of long term business sustainability that would now be more audience driven, all stemming from the successful collaboration with KRIK.
To learn more about the Stars4Meda NEWS winning projects, click here.