Blade NewsSlide is an exciting new tool for information consumers and advertisers alike. It’s also a way to reach younger generations who get their news from multiple sources other than print.
“NewsSlide, in my opinion, is an adventure,” Kurt Franck, president, general manager, and executive editor of The Blade, told members of the Rotary Club of Toledo at a regular luncheon meeting on Monday at the Park Inn downtown.
“It immerses you in the news of the day, along with award-winning journalism. It’s also a dynamic tool for advertisers to let their customers play, listen, and see advertising messages like never before,” he said.
He added that it is “an ultimate vehicle for ecommerce transactions for advertisers.”
Mr. Franck was joined at the meeting by John Crisp, vice president of digital for The Blade and project director for NewsSlide. Together they gave a 25-minute presentation on NewsSlide, an innovative news delivery software that was launched in October, along with a similar system at its sister paper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. NewsSlide continues to see increases in the number of users and the length of time users spend viewing stories and other features.
Mr. Crisp said digital users are being bombarded by thousands of messages via digital news, podcasts, social media newsfeeds, photo galleries, memes, and infographics. “Telling your story in today’s world effectively and profitably is getting more difficult,” he said.
With so much content, a message has to make someone’s life better in order to have any impact.
But NewsSlide, Mr. Crisp said, was designed specifically for prolonged emotional engagement, connecting people to stories, photo galleries, and videos. The content is updated multiple times daily.
“Modern engagement requires responding to your audience’s emotional needs. ... You’ve got to deliver that emotional need, or it’s just not going to happen,” he added.
NewsSlide is for everyone — a free app available from both the Apple Store and the Google Play Store. It can run on tablets and phones using Apple or Android operating systems.
But Mr. Crisp and Mr. Franck said NewsSlide has an added purpose — to reach members of Generation Z, or those born from 1996 to 2016.
“Advertisers want to reach this group of people,” Mr. Crisp said. But they’re a hard demographic to reach because they don’t use print media and eschew traditional TV.
“They’re cord cutters, for one thing,” Mr. Crisp said. “They’re on their [electronic] devices nine hours a day and it’s on a gaming system or a phone. So if your message isn’t there, they’re not going to see it.”
What NewsSlide does for advertisers, he said, is target Generation Z and engages them. The app also was made to evolve to meet future trends and needs.
Mr. Franck said many have asked him “Why now?” regarding NewsSlide because The Blade already has a newspaper, a popular website, and an electronic edition, eBlade.
The reason, he said, is, “Our industry, the model is broken. We have to make changes.”
Any statistic one picks shows print is decreasing and digital news is growing, Mr. Franck said.
“That’s the way this generation gets its information. It’s not print so much anymore but they do get information and we need to change. If we don’t adapt, we’ll be out of business,” Mr. Franck said.
“Without The Blade, this community suffers,” he added.
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