Our news channel redesign for ITV was as unexpected as it was successful. Made by Many created a global first: a channel of multiple streaming news stories delivered by a small editorial team using a rapid fire drag-and-drop editorial tool we built in-house. ITV News became the fastest breaking digital news service in the UK and over two years built an audience of 15m unique users per month.
Made by Many was given a brief to create a digital news service from scratch that could compete on credible terms with BBC News, Sky, the Guardian, Telegraph and Mail, but within the hard constraint of an increase in headcount of just 12!
Our product strategy was built around four key insights:
- ITV broadcast journalists covered a few big stories in depth for TV. For the web, we would have to rely on the by-product of their working day.
- In the wake of big live news events such as the Arab Spring and phone hacking, we observed an emerging consumer appetite for short-form video news and for streaming news blogs.
- The competition had greater breadth, but was caught in a static, page-based model derived from print and was slow to react to news - there was a gap in the market for breaking news online.
- To meet this demand, we would need a frictionless editing tool that enabled digital news editors to publish rich content formats - video, pictures, updates - at very high speed.
So we designed a streaming news service of breaking news updates that could be filtered by story. Every repeat visit would yield something new and meaty about the big stories of the day.
We tested back- and front-end prototypes with journalists and a sample audience of 2000. We proved that ITN could produce the right quantity and quality of content at speed, and received positive audience feedback in terms of time on site and net promoter score. High test scores gave the senior management team the confidence to green-light a radical and innovative news product.
We used three months of continuous piloting in the newsroom to smooth the big cultural shift from producing polished broadcast packages three times a day to raw news delivered over 24 hours. The production version, honed by continuous quality and user testing, was released on web, mobile and tablet in March 2012 on budget day, four months after design and build began.
ITV News became the UK’s fastest breaking news site, with scoops on numerous big stories including the Woolwich attack in 2013. In the first 18 months traffic grew by 2000% to 15m uniques per month, benefiting from a programme of continuous improvement of the service.
In terms of audience gained per investment in technology and editorial cost, this was 10-20 times more effective than the BBC, Sky, Guardian and Mail; and the channel won numerous awards, including best website and best app in the Broadcast and Online Media awards two years running. Made by Many was subsequently commissioned to recreate ITV Sport and ITV.com online.
Julian March, Director of Online, ITV
Made by Many taught us to focus ruthlessly on what matters and on the area in which we could have most impact. It was the most fun and rewarding experience I have had in digital media