Why a Business Model Accelerator?
While there are other accelerators and collaborative journalism initiatives, none of these focus on business model transformation at the scale, and with the rigor, that LMA’s Business Model Accelerator will. In order for the local media industry to find sustainable paths forward, it must work together to unlock bold, ambitious solutions that can benefit media companies of all sizes and structures.
How long will it run?
The Accelerator will be funded to run for five years, but with a longer-term goal of continuing to operate in perpetuity on behalf of the local media industry. Ultimately, we envision it becoming a self-sustaining entity over time, although additional funding may be secured as well.
Who is eligible to participate?
All media companies are encouraged to participate! True to LMA’s standing as an umbrella organization for all local media, newspapers, radio and TV broadcasters and digital publishers of all sizes and structures are welcome.
There will be an application process for each business model that is tested in the Accelerator. We will notify the full LMA community when applications are open for specific ideas. Applying companies must exhibit qualities that make them a strong fit for alpha or beta testing, and must be willing to dedicate appropriate resources throughout testing phases. This includes dedicated staffing and marketing resources, with executive-level commitment throughout.
What are the benefits of participating?
Media companies selected to participate in the testing of business models will have the unique opportunity to 1:1 with the Accelerator’s dream team (design thinkers, developers, user experience specialists, change management experts, and more) to design and deploy a test that will illuminate how to bring a promising business model from concept to prototype to real revenue. Participating partners will also collaborate with their peers in a cohort test to share learnings and best practices, thereby accelerating speed-to-market and time-to-revenue.
Those not participating in project testing will still reap significant benefits from the Accelerator. The paramount goal of this work is to bring learnings, best practices, and turnkey playbooks directly to media companies in a variety of forms: training, workshops, on-demand support, and even embeddable specialist teams to help media companies deploy new business models successfully.
How are project ideas selected?
The accelerator will employ a rigorous research and vetting process to determine which ideas advance into prototyping and testing. This will include full-time research analysts conducting customer and market research, as well as an advisory panel comprised of diverse industry and non-industry thought leaders. There also will be a vehicle for local media companies to submit their ideas for consideration and vetting.
How long will it take for project tests to run?
This will depend on the project and won’t be one-size-fits-all. Careful attention will be paid to partner selection, test design, project scoping, and resource allocation. A typical testing cycle may run 90 days, though this will vary. Also, for alpha projects that meet defined objectives and key results (OKRs), there will often be a subsequent beta testing phase to applying the learnings from the alpha and expand the test parameters.
How will tests – and other stages of the Accelerator – be evaluated for success?
Each phase of the Accelerator, from research to testing to actual go-to-market delivery, will have a defined set of objectives and key results (OKRs), or key performance indicators (KPIs), that will be applied to define and measure success. If these are not met, a project will not advance to the next stage of the Accelerator. Having a rigorous, results-based methodology is critical to ensuring that only the business model ideas that show the greatest propensity to profitably scale receive ongoing resources.
Even if my company doesn’t participate as a test partner, can we reap the benefits of the Accelerator?
Yes! Media companies not participating in project testing will still reap significant benefits from the Accelerator. The paramount goal of this work is to bring learnings, best practices, and turnkey playbooks directly to media companies in a variety of forms: training, workshops, on-demand support, and even embeddable specialist teams to help media companies deploy new business models successfully.
What type of funders is LMA seeking?
LMA seeks funders who have strong alignment with our mission statement and a shared purpose-driven passion to invest in the sustainment and prosperity of the local news ecosystem, and local journalism. This includes foundations, corporations, philanthropists, media companies and more.
How will the Accelerator be staffed to ensure success? Who will lead it?
Funding will be primarily utilized to fund a best-in-class team of experts that lead the work of the Accelerator, and work directly with media partners to expedite their progress. A managing director will lead the entity, which will also be extensively staffed with roles such as design thinking experts, user experience specialists, software developers, revenue leaders, and marketing practitioners.
How a unique program is going to help news organizations grow their branded content business