Co-Creating The New Media: How Media Companies Can Renew By Working With Startups?

    Digitalization is changing the way we communicate, find information, and share our ideas. With one click you can share with the whole world what you just did and it either becomes a big story, or it just vanishes into to the world wide web.

    What affects us personally is also affecting media houses. They financially depend on whether their published news reach the audience and whether they can find a way to monetize it while total revenue through print media is decreasing steadily. For example The Economist has understood that the shift to digital is a growth opportunity by increasing online subscribers and reducing cost.

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    Consumers have changed how, when, and where they consume media. Henry Blodget made a great speech at Ignition conference about the consumption of media, and how digital media is taking over due to the natural shift of generations. The new generation is growing up with digital and they will not change their behaviour.

    Hence, if media companies do not provide their content throughout the channels their customers are using more and more, they continuously lose revenue and market share. Therefore, digitalization offers a vast opportunity for startups to offer cost efficient and innovative solutions enabling media houses to market their content globally.

    Supporting The Transformation Of Media

    Technology startups can tap into the media industry because the disruption in the this industry is caused by technology, which is not developed by classical media houses themselves – but rather bought from third parties. Solutions for big data analytics, ad-technology, monetisation, and use of social media channels are in high demand. Traditional sales are decreasing steadily and although all are striving to go online, only few companies monetise their digital content on a large scale.

    The Finnish government has acknowledged the fact that Finnish media houses need to radically renew their businesses to keep up with the trends and international competition. Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation as part of Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy, administers the support.

    While the interest in innovative solutions is increasing, only a few media houses take the risk of testing new trends through early stage startups, and implement new solutions within their current businesses. On the other hand, companies with new media solutions need the paying customers to develop the product further. To bridge this gap, Tekes set up a €20 million Media Innovation Fund for technology companies of all sizes and all industries. The funding is either grants or loans depending on the nature of the development project.

    “This innovation support is aimed at projects seeking to radically and courageously renew the whole media sector. It is not intended to breathe new life into old structures and operating models, and is instead meant to support the proactive recognition and creation of new opportunities for growth and international business development,“ says Petri Rajahalme, who is managing the Media Innovation Fund at Tekes.

    A key criteria is that the applicant, registered in Finland, is seeking for global growth. Even if your solution starts with a local product or is content focused, digital media opens the world to everyone who is ambitious and creative enough.

    The idea here is that you challenge the status quo and propose new operating models and business visions for all media houses including broadcasters, publishers and radio. Each segment is challenged to digitalize its businesses and is in need of fresh innovative approaches to compete with international rivals.

    Petri Rajahalme emphasizes that digitalization is one of the key themes of the funding remit. How can digitisation lead to new working methods, concepts and customer experiences?

    One company trying to bridge the gap between traditional and digital sales streams is Talea.

    ”Buying automation has drastically changed processes in digital advertising. Benefits from these processes can be extended to other offerings also such as print media.”

    “Our goal is that media companies can service local and global advertisers with quality and efficiency. Talea’s SaaS/cloud enables efficient and flexible service development for media. The support from Tekes has been critical in order to achieve this goal,” Kosonen adds.

    The Fund is Tekes’ contribution to strengthen competitiveness of Finnish startups and the Finnish media industry globally.

    Petri Rajahalme and his team will be present at Media Honeypot on April 5th-6th in Helsinki – an event organized by ArcticStartup – aimed at executives in media companies, who want to engage with the most innovative startups.

    Startups can apply by 1st of March for the event and receive a free ticket. You will meet executives from MTGx, Sanoma, Google, Otava Media, Schibsted, Maker Studios / Disney, Aller, YLE and more – all in one place.

    Use the chance to talk to the Tekes team face-to-face, and ask what it takes to apply for the funding.