The road to where we are today has been long, longer than anticipated, and this for several reasons. Building a sustainable news business from scratch, at the scale Wales requires and the audience desires has required a lot of research, discussions with similar successful ventures and thorough business planning.
What became clear from the initial research, supported by 200 people who donated to the crowdfunder that enabled it, creating a new venture at scale from scratch would be a hugely expensive undertaking.
To use the Welsh idiom “bwrw’r cwch i’r dŵr” which means “to put your boat in the water”, doing so without a long-term vision and sustainable business plan in our view was the wrong direction to take. We could have launched a website and some social accounts in order to direct readers to articles contributed by passionate volunteers, but we were determined to develop something new for Wales, not just a new news title, but a new way of delivering news accompanied by a new, and vitally important, sustainable business plan.
We met with the management team of Berria, the Basque language national newspaper and digital news service that serves the whole of the Basque Country. They successfully produce a daily newspaper and digital news service that serves approximately 750,000 Basque speakers.
Their physical paper sales have declined as have newspaper sales in general across Europe, but their decline is less than many of their competitors. Why? In the main because they deliver modern high-quality products that audiences like and appreciate. Their income comes from print sales but also increasingly from digital subscriptions and from supporters who appreciate the value of having a national platform. Their supporters donate a monthly figure and do not necessarily subscribe to the print or digital services, they understand the value an independent national news service adds to the economy, health and well-being of the country.
Berria employ over 150 people, their annual running costs are around €8,000,000. This is the reality of running a fully functioning national service. Berria have part ownership of the printing company who produce their newspapers which reduces their costs to an extent.
It was clear that we needed to find a partner who shared our vision and had the resource to enable us to deliver a service that could rival the likes of The Daily Mail and The Sun that currently lead the print market in Wales and the BBC who dominate the digital news space in Wales.
Our discussions are at an advanced stage with a partner who have the ability to deliver that kind of service, a partner with experience of launching a similar start up news venture in Scotland, a partner with the required technical resources, distribution network and printing capacity. A company that will allow us to deliver a service that would cost millions to develop from scratch.
We want to enhance news plurality in Wales, we want to support and encourage local news services, we want to plug the gaps that currently exist in Wales. We want to improve the quality and accessibility of news in Wales.
We can only do this with your support, we will need subscribers and supporters to build and sustain this new venture.
We genuinely believe that a national print and digital news service is needed in Wales now more than ever. If you agree please lend us your support.
Register as a supporter here – Patreon.com/newmediawales
Learn more about our plan here – newmedia.wales