MANILA - ABS-CBN News has completed its participation in the 2022 Google News Initiative's 'Data and Insights Launchpad' digital growth program in southeast Asia (SEA) concluding this month.
The Kapamilya network's News division is the only news publisher from the Philippines to join the three-month program led by Google's partner FT Strategies, a consulting division of news publisher Financial Times based in London.
The Data and Insights Launchpad SEA program aimed to "engage a group of selected publishers in a journey that will help them accelerate data capabilities and solve real business problems."
"The Launchpad offers a practical, intensive three-month experience that will help publishers leverage their data foundations further and build audience insight capabilities," Google News Initiative wrote about the program.
Along with ABS-CBN News are other news publishers from the region, among them Singapore's The Strait Times, Thailand's Thairath Online, and Malaysia's Astro Awani, Sinar Harian, New Straits Times, Malaysiakini and Sin Chew Daily.
During the three-month program, a series of online consultations and inspiration sessions were conducted to help leverage ABS-CBN News website's use of data for audience insights and content distribution and engagement.
A team from the FT Strategies flew to the Philippines to conduct face-to-face sessions with the ABS-CBN News team to understand the background and status of the news organization.
In the final cohort session, participating news publishers shared their experiences from the program.
The Straits Times' Janice Tan, for instance, said this was an opportunity for her to be reminded to always listen to audience sentiment.
"The value of the exercise is the insights we gain about our readers, their views about our content and engagement. This exercise reminds us to hear more from our readers and use more avenues to engage them," Tan said.
Participants from ABS-CBN News, on the other hand, said they were inspired by news publishers who shared their years of experience on strengthening their organizations and reaching more audiences.
"Undergoing a digital transformation and a data-driven approach for the newsroom is a very challenging undertaking. But hearing from publishers who have successfully done it and learning that this is not an overnight process is both promising and encouraging. The recommendations and next steps born out of these sessions is an adaptable roadmap that should guide us as we cascade this to our newsroom and adopt them in our workflows," said ABS-CBN News Digital Melvin Fetalvero.
On the other hand, Robbin Brillantes of the ABS-CBN Data Team said a program learning she is taking away is the value of asking, and that, "The answer is always 'No' if you don't ask."
She said among her favorite parts was relating individual learnings to others' experiences. "How our regional peers approach shared concerns and what solutions they test and measure is encouraging. If other newsrooms can, so should we, right?"
The digital growth program ran from September to December 2022 and participating news publishers are expected to adopt or act on some of the insights from the sessions.