During the European Digital Media Awards, which took place in Copenhagen on 24 April, the NRC website was nominated as “best news site”. Other nominees in this category were the two British newspapers, The Financial Times and The Guardian. The awards are bestowed every year by the World Association of Newspapers to celebrate the best digital initiatives of European publishers. The Guardian eventually picked up the award, but NRC is extremely proud to have received this prestigious nomination.
nrc.nl’s nomination for an award that celebrates quality online journalism is a great honour for NRC, as well as recognition of the important role that online plays within the organisation. NRC is a strong proponent of innovation and the organisation has always been quick to identify, embrace and initiate new developments in the media landscape. The website, which was renovated in 2015, is part of an on-going revolution from paper to digital. Wieland van Dijk, Head of Online at NRC, said that NRC has excelled at making newspapers for 200 years, a tradition that the company is proud and fiercely protective of. “But online journalism is really different. We have a 24-hours-a-day online presence and different ways of telling our stories. It means we have to employ a different mindset to get our stories across. Online is therefore first, followed by paper.”
In addition to adopting a new editorial approach, since October 2015 the nrc.nl website has been substantially revamped. For example, given that quality journalism costs money, irrespective of the carrier, NRC has introduced a pay wall. According to NRC Media’s 2016 results, readers are becoming increasingly willing to pay for quality online journalism. The average online reading time is also getting longer, which points to increased engagement on the part of digital readers. “Videos and infographics are increasingly becoming part of NRC reporting,” offered Digital Publisher Han-Menno Depeweg. “We are finding that by using new formats and methods of presentation for our content we can maintain the interest of our readers for longer.”
Reaching target groups online more effectively
NRC Media Commercial Director Madelon Fortuin insisted that the high quality of online journalism makes nrc.nl an appealing environment for collaboration in the field of branded content and advertising. “This is an area that’s constantly being developed. Since early 2017, for example, NRC has been using Moat software, which makes it possible to measure readers’ engagement with online branded content articles. It also offers additional insights with display campaigns. In this area NRC is taking a proactive and advisory role towards advertisers.“
NRC was the first player to make it possible to load advertisements asynchronously: an advertisement on nrc.nl only loads when it is visible to the visitor. In this way the advertiser only pays for advertisements that have actually been displayed on the screen. To this end, NRC has introduced two new calculation models, namely the viewable CPM (IAB: 50% and at least one second on screen) and a Run of Excellence of advertisement positions that are on screen for at least five seconds.
Visualising the digital target group
A growing digital reach offers a wealth of opportunities to get to know the target group better. NRC accurately analyses the behaviour of its digital readers using Chartbeat. “At an aggregated level we can see in real-time how many visitors are on the site, which articles they are reading and how much time they spend on reading those articles,” said Van Dijk. “The latter is a particularly important yardstick of the success of our online journalism. The longer, distinctive NRC articles that you would not read elsewhere are doing particularly well.”
The Chartbeat analyses are also used proactively by NRC to share the appropriate NRC articles at the right times through a diversity of channels. A total of 205,000 unique subscribers are reached through NRC newsletters and about 30 per cent of nrc.nl’s total traffic comes in through social media.
Staying relevant by continuously developing
“As can be seen in our Strategy for 2017, the further development of quality online journalism remains at the same high level of importance,” concluded Van Dijk. “In this area, in particular, we must continuously challenge ourselves to remain relevant in the digital age.”More impact from your advertising?
Would you also like to reach highly engaged NRC readers through an online journalistic environment of the highest quality? We’ll be pleased to advise you personally via firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call us at +31 (0)20 755 3053.