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MediaCorp digital chief pushes online-first strategy for all content

MediaCorpSingapore media owner MediaCorp, the owner TODAY newspaper and TV broadcaster Channel NewsAsia, is pushing a digital-first strategy for content and services, with news and other content now to break online before running in other media.

Shane Mitchell, who is two months into his role of head of digital, said: “One of my first priorities is to work with colleagues across the organisation to implement a digital-first strategy in our delivery of key content and services – the news, for example.”

“Our news operations are moving consciously towards a digital first delivery mindset. This means that we break all our stories on our digital platforms first before they are used on our more traditional platforms such as television, radio and print,” he said.

Unique visitors to channelnewsasia.com and todayonline.com have grown by 70 per cent and 49 per cent respectively year on year as a result of the strategy, Mitchell said.

However, he admitted that “the pace of change is accelerating and competition is intense.”

“We don’t have the luxury of building the business organically or learning by trial and error,” he said.

“We recognise that, as a company, we need new skill sets and instincts to excel in the digital space.”

As well as bringing in Mitchell from an ad tech firm in Australia, MediaCorp recently hired Fletcher Khoo as head of interactive media technology and a team of UX designers to boost its digital expertise.

Mitchell

Mitchell

A fortnight ago, MediaCorp announced the acquisition of Indonesian digital player KLN Group, which owns KapanLagi Network and sibling media portals KapanLagi and Merdeka.

KLN joins the MediaCorp fold in a two-year period in which the company acquired Cubinet, a Malaysia-based games publisher, and Reebonz, a regional e-commerce player.

On why MediaCorp invested in KLN, Mitchell commented: “Indonesia is one of the world’s fastest growing digital media markets, according to eMarketer. While it’s not the most digitally advanced, it has a digital market with tremendous potential.”

“The investment aligns MediaCorp and KLN’s media assets targeting similar consumer segments in Singapore and Indonesia such as men, women and youth so we can grow new audiences in each other’s markets,” he said.

“The partnership will also help advertisers cross-sell in two key Southeast Asian markets, while reaping economies of scale on production capability and resource sharing.”

The firm recently revamped its over-the-top video service Toggle, and Mitchell says the YouTube-like platform is to be developed further in the coming months with new content formats and genres to be introduced.

“Consumer insights are a key part of our digital reinvention. Over time, we will be able to provide personalised recommendations [on Toggle] based on your interests and wherever you are, according to the data you choose to share with us,” Mitchell said.

Another recent digital venture by MediaCorp was to launch a Channel NewsAsia app on Apple Watch.

Before joining MediaCorp, Mitchell worked at Sydney-based Reddo Media Services, which specialises in app development and marketing, and branded content. He joined just over a year after MediaCorp’s head of digital enterprise, Nick Fawbert, left after a short stint.

MediaCorp has struggled with digital ventures in the recent past. Mocca Perks, a local challenger to Groupon, did not fly beyond the Singapore market and was discontinued in 2012. The company’s answer to Amazon, ilovebooks.com, was closed less than a year after it was set up in 2013. Also in that year, MediaCorp launched a startup fund and incubator program called ‘The Mediapreneur’.

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