Exciting changes for 2014
Early this year, through our Honour Awards, we recognised companies that played major roles in shaping Jamaica over the past 50 years of Independence.
This celebration forced introspection on the role The Gleaner has played in providing information to assist Jamaicans with life- changing decisions and set the tone for our efforts this year.
Recognising that readers, enabled by developing technology, continue to find different ways to consume information, we ramped up our digital strategy, including increasing our social media presence, becoming more interactive, and certainly, adding more excitement. The growth of our social media audience has far exceeded our expectations and has increased traffic to our website. Not only has the diaspora taken note of our digital progress, but so has Jamaica, accounting for over 30 per cent of online readership.
Capitalising on a global trend, we launched exciting "first in Jamaica" mobile news applications mid-year for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. The response has been phenomenal, with thousands of users on these platforms.
Gleaner TV is a reality, and our viewers have endorsed our efforts with a strong following. We built more online videos, including packaged shows, with news updates, weekly wrap-ups, commentary, lifestyle, and social happenings.
The Gleaner first introduced augmented reality to Jamaica. This innovation encourages interaction between the print and the digital environments, where readers use mobile scanning applications to access enhanced digital content for an exciting, new experience.
We view the use of our many platforms as endorsement that the value of our trusted content transcends the medium. For our efforts with content this year, the journalism fraternity increased our award tally to 14 from 12 last year, while the advertising industry rewarded us with the award for the top service provider.
The greater visibility of our brand in the market and social scene (think #teamblue) results from a direct strategy to captivate readers with a burst of energy from "the old dame of North Street". Our entire staff is energised by this thrust.
Our radio stations, Power 106 and Music 99, are fully installed at our North Street headquarters, providing for better integration of our services to listeners and advertisers. You should expect to experience greater things from this closer collaboration.
You are already seeing signs of exciting things to come in 2014, including that dotted line to the right of today's front-page wrap. We have been "working out" very hard to move in step with global trends, and so that space will go away on January 1, 2014. This will enhance the reader experience without sacrificing the exposure the advertisers will get and the richness of content we provide.
Further, we have noted where newspapers globally are targeting digital subscription revenues from their readers. Despite having not yet experienced the advertising falloff seen globally, we have made the difficult but natural decision to start charging our online community.
We have selected the most non-intrusive way, which protects the casual visitors, while asking the heavy users to contribute to the ongoing effort to invest to uphold editorial standards held high for 180 years.
Over time, we have created a truly dynamic website, which competes with other sources of news, including radio, TV, and social media. This advantage will not be lost as all readers will continue to access the latest and breaking news sections of our website free of charge.
THE POWER OF DIASPORA
We couldn't think of a better way to end the year than playing our part in making a talented young Jamaican's dream a reality. As the leading connector to the diaspora, we went all out for #teamtessanne, the result being not just a victory for her, but a well-needed victory for Jamaica.
This is the same energy we invest every day to make Jamaica a better place in which to live by rallying all in pursuit of one goal.
We renew our commitment to being the beacon for a better Jamaica and a leading force in ensuring a free and healthy media environment where all our readers can make life decisions with the highest confidence.
On behalf of The Gleaner Company, I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year.