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This article was published 6/6/2018 (530 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Winnipeg Free Press has earned international recognition for its News Break app, at the INMA Global Media Awards in Washington, D.C.
The News Break app was the winner in the Best Use of Mobile category Monday at the INMA’s 88th annual World Congress.
Produced by the International News Media Association, the Global Media Awards were presented to 40 first-place winners in 20 categories. Entrants were judged in two groups: global/national brands and regional/local brands. INMA has presented awards for media excellence since 1937.
The News Break app, which was launched in March 2017, is behind the newspaper’s paywall and differentiates itself from other news apps by offering positive news and no interruptions from advertising. Using the app, readers have the opportunity to select good news and breaking news.
"We set out to create the most efficient, ad-free news experience for Manitobans — an app that would deliver, in a single place, the best of the news readers need to know, and the unique news they will enjoy the most," said Christian Panson, vice-president of digital for the Free Press.
"The concept was a departure from what other media companies have built and, frankly, we did not know it would work as well as it did and be embraced as it has been. So, we are very proud that News Break, a truly made-in-Manitoba product, has been acknowledged on the world media stage with this award."
After its launch, users were allowed to try the app free of charge for 30 days. After 30 days, users needed to sign up for digital access to the newspaper’s content, which led to more than 200 initial signups for the app.
The newspaper now has 5,000 regular monthly users on the app, and its growth has continued by about five per cent to 10 per cent per month since the launch. Those users are responsible for 61,000 sessions, demonstrating they are using the app daily or every other day.
News Break was also featured in Apple’s App Store top picks for the first few weeks after launch. That recognition provided a significant boost.
There was no increase in staffing cost to implement the app. Content on the website was analyzed and an algorithm used to determine good news from bad.
In 2017 overall, the Winnipeg Free Press experienced subscription growth of nearly 1,500 paid digital-only subscribers, reflecting a 26 per cent rise.
The app is iOS only and is included with all subscriptions. An all-access, seven-day digital subscription costs $16.99 and comes with an optional Saturday newspaper.
INMA bills its Global Media Awards as recognizing excellence in "energizing news brands, creating products, engaging audiences, developing customer insights, growing advertising revenue, and instilling innovation."
There were 830 entries from 220 media companies in newspaper, magazine, digital, television and radio located in 39 countries.
An international panel of 50 executives from 20 countries selected 195 finalists for the awards.