What is the New Media Incubator?
Run by IPI, the New Media Incubator is a six-month program for Europe-based new media ventures and early-stage publishers building on existing ideas. The programme supports publishers with a minimum viable product launched in their target community at least six-months prior. The incubator will support the founding team in the development of its business model and news products that results in a prototype or launch of their ongoing idea. Successful applicants will have an elaborate and strategic business model, but need financial support and mentoring in implementing it.
Which activities does the New Media Incubator include?
The New Media Incubator consists of five main activities:
- An introductory meeting: Here, all selected participants of the incubator will exchange information in a video conference about their projects, set and share audience, newsroom and business goals, and meet the incubator trainers, coaches and other experts.
- Two day in-person bootcamp: A meeting that gathers all incubator participants. Participants will undergo a needs assessment and hone their project proposals through strategy-sprints and feedback sessions from trainers. Towards the end of the bootcamp, each team will present their work plan and receive feedback from the rest of the cohort and media experts. The bootcamp will foster strong relationships between the incubator participants.
- Structured learning phase: Bootcamps will be followed by a series of training sessions, comprised of pre-recorded online lectures by prominent media experts and subsequent “ask me anything” sessions with the trainers. The lectures will cover:
- Audience research methods and practice
- Product management
- How to diversify your revenue streams: philanthropy, sponsorships, events, programmatic advertising, branded content, digital subscriptions, advertising to businesses, nonprofits and governments, and more
- The latest in storytelling formats
- Audience engagement – from surveys and comments to subscribers and CRM management
- Diversity and inclusion in product development
- Product hypothesis to design and prototype
- How to diversify revenue streams and what makes sense for you, from grants to events and native advertising
- Business models and the northstar framework.
- Reader revenue: how to successfully implement a membership, subscription and/or donation model.
- 1:1 coaching: Incubator participants will be offered 1:1 coaching sessions with experienced newsroom practitioners and trainers. Each participant will be paired with coaches that are able to provide the most value in terms of skills- and knowledge gaps identified in the needs-assessment. The participants are expected to attend coaching sessions biweekly.
- Guest speakers: Throughout the incubator, participants will be exposed to the latest innovations in journalism delivery and business diversification from experienced leaders in the industry.
Additionally, incubator participants will be expected to produce and publish a promotional or descriptive post or story that describes what went right or wrong in their innovation journey. This can be in the form of an individual or series of stories, podcasts, videos, newsletters or other journalistic formats. The journalistic product can be related to the incubator in one of two ways:
- It highlights how the organization applied the learning on innovation in their newsroom;
- An editorial informing readers about the changes the organization went through in the incubator, explaining how these changes will better serve its audiences.
Who can apply for the New Media Incubator?
The New Media Incubator is open to new media start-up with innovation potential in the pan-European media space to transform their journalism, products or business by investing in audience research, experimenting with new revenue models, deepening audience engagement, or investing in new content and distribution products based on user needs, among other strategies. Newsrooms are welcome to apply if they have:
- a clearly identified challenge or problem they want to solve;
- a plan on how to address the challenge or problem they face;
- recently conducted audience research or other market testing activities;
- willingness and a plan to reach out to new audiences with quality content.
To apply, you must have a team of three staff members declared that will participate through the incubator’s duration of six months.
How long does the New Media Incubator last?
The New Media Incubator takes place for six months. Participants will have the opportunity to extend mentorship and will remain involved in the network.
How many projects will be selected and how large is the grant?
10 newsrooms will be selected to participate in the incubator.
The incubator grant provides up to €15,000. In addition, each team member (two per project) will receive a travel grant to attend the bootcamp.