Our crowdfunding campaign came to an end this morning, and after 28 days a total of £6,254 has been pledged by 199 individuals. Now the work starts in earnest.
The original target was £2,000: to enable the research and preparation of a business plan which could be used to seek investment for new Welsh media service. Astonishingly, this target was achieved within 4 days.
A stretch target of £4,000 was then set to allow further research and the organisation of a conference (to discuss phase one research results and the proposed business plan). We hope this will take place in late March/early April.
This target was achieved with over 10 days to spare. So, optimistically, we set a final stretch target of £6,000: to enable a pilot phase, of where our findings from phase one and two could be put in to practice. We shall be researching, creating and sharing content in different formats across different platforms and aim for this to take place during April.
So, what will a Welsh media service that’s fit for purpose in the 21st century look like? It’s clear that the way people consume news and information is changing, depending on their age, lifestyles and access to technology. The chief reason for setting up this project is to address this key issue: most of us in Wales receive our news and information from companies and services that are headquartered outside of Wales. Some major “Welsh” media brands appear to be Welsh but in reality, they are a branch of a much larger business whose HQ is in London or even further afield.
Our long-term aim is to take on these existing players: a big ask, but one that is not insurmountable. Our newness is our strongest point. We are not coming from a point where our business has been built on platforms that are going out of date, neither do we need to reinvent ourselves to remain relevant, at the same time pleasing shareholders.
We will be digital first. Remember digital isn’t a “thing” anymore. To most, it’s simply a way of doing things. Whilst many people still take a daily newspaper, one that presents the world in a certain light, an increasing number of us are shaping our worldview based on snippets taken from the internet and via social media. This doesn’t mean we are discounting print, far from it, but how we use print will need considerable thought.
We will be politically neutral. Perceived bias within the media has become a huge issue of late, many newspapers do not hide their political leanings, which begs the question are they really purveyors of news? Or are they simply promoting the views of their owner? Our role will be to inform, investigate and in equal measures, entertain. How we do this will be informed by our forthcoming research.
We will be collaborative. One of the best things that has come from developing this project has been the realisation of the growing number of independent media platforms currently operating in Wales. We have hyperlocal news sites, digital sports coverage on social media and online, across a range of sports and different levels within the relevant pyramid systems. We have community publications that share news as well as showcase local businesses. We do not want to compete with these: quite the opposite. Can we bring our skills and scale in key areas, thus enabling them to grow and develop revenue streams?
What can we learn from Scotland which has a thriving national media scene and the Basque Country that operates in fully bilingual landscape? We will find out what has been successful and learn from their experiences.
There’s a lot of work ahead but it’s a job we are relishing to take on. If you are currently involved in a media platform, service or project and would like to talk to us please feel free to get in touch.
We look forward to updating you on a weekly basis, in the meantime please feel free to get in touch and once again diolch. Together we can make this happen.
The project is being led by Huw Marshall who has previous experience of running a large national digital platform during his time as S4C’s head of digital.