The entries for the British Media Awards 2015 were the strongest they’ve been in the awards’ history with an unprecedented variety of companies entering, from brand-new start-ups to some of the world’s biggest news brands. The only commonality among the entries was a laudable dedication to innovation in an industry that is subject to rapid unheaval.
The winners on the night were the people and organisations who out judges believed to exemplify that drive to succeed, whether they’re a legacy newspaper, a disruptive news brand or one of the ad-tech providers who underpin the industry. The winners for each individual category, and the judges’ reasons for choosing them, are as follows:
Print product of the year
If there was a takeaway from the opening speeches on the night, it’s that great journalism can exist on any platform. The Net-A-Porter team certainly proved that with PORTER magazine, and were deservedly proud to extoll the virtues of print when it comes to fashion publishing.
Website of the year
Winner: The Guardian
It’s little surprise that the world’s second biggest news brand should have an excellent website, but the judges felt the ingenuity and fidelity to the nature of digital publishing was worth rewarding. The website impressed with an exceptional content and product proposition that clearly understands its audience.
Launch of the year
Winner: Vice News
Vice News is one of the greatest success stories of the past year, already becoming a major influencer and discussion generator with its focus on delivering global news to a young audience in a form that suits them. Its success belies the stereotypes that Millennials aren’t interested in news, and the judges felt that Vice News is an inspiration to the wider media industry.
Editorial campaign of the year
Winner: The Guardian
The Guardian’s Campaign to End Female Genital Mutilation is a shining example of how an ethical campaign should be conducted. The judging criteria required that the entries had made a demonstrable difference, and the Guardian’s campaign absolutely did that both domestically and in the territories where FGM is an ongoing problem. A very deserved victory in a particularly strong category.
Commercial campaign of the year
Dezeen’s MINI Frontiers editorial and video content was picked up by other media outlets, which in turn generated even greater awareness of the PR campaign. The winners managed to execute a huge campaign, especially worthy considering the size of their brand.
App of the year
Winner: The Guardian
The judges said of the Guardian’s app that it was “wonderfully crafted, with great, quality content”. They were similarly impressed by its commercial success, with a 100% increase in users year on year, and its innovative ad strategy. Above all the other entries, this was the one that best combined content delivery, commercial viability and a great product.
Best commercial use of data
Winner: Immediate Media
This Gold winner demonstrated extraordinary commercial impact, notable because the team was working with no additional budget. The Immediate Media team’s extremely precise and granular use of data led to a significant revenue uplift for the company, proving that the effective use of data is paramount in today’s media industry.
Video project of the year
Winner: VICE – The Islamic State
In an especially strong category, there was still little doubt that VICE’s groundbreaking video documentary would walk away with the Gold. The natural extension of VICE’s mission and journalistic endeavours, The Islamic State demonstrated that brave filmmaking can generate significant return on investment and help build a brand.
Content team of the year
Winner: Bauer Media – The Debrief
Bauer Media’s Debrief team wins Gold for its clear focus on delivering targeted, engaging content to its audience in a form and schedule appropriate to them. That a team of only ten should have achieved all it has since its launch is commendable, and the judges unanimously agreed The Debrief deserved recognition.
Marketing team of the year
Winner: Time Inc UK
The BMA judges believed this Gold winner’s entry demonstrated how a new team can pull together to work effectively in a tough environment, delivering a large year-on-year increase in revenue and making a significant difference to Time Inc UK. In a category that was judged primarily on results, Time Inc UK’s marketing team’s success was evident.
Product team of the year
Winner: The Guardian’s digital development team
The Guardian’s victory in this category is vindication of their forward-thinking approach to digital products, and evidence that a team with a shared vision can effect a fundamental change in a legacy media company.
Sales team of the year
Winner: Global Media & Entertainment
This category saw especially strong competition, but it was Global’s demonstrable effectiveness that won the day. A keen sense of detail and commendable attitude were among the reasons cited by the judges for Global’s victory, proving that innovation can happen in any department of a media business.
Rising star award
Winner: Emma Haslett – City A.M.
City A.M.’s online editor Emma Haslett was commended by the judges for having successfully grown the editorial team and taking a lead role in defining City A.M.’s online offering, to the point that it outperforms the websites of the Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times when it comes to its target demographic.
Event of the year
Winner: Centaur Media – The Festival of Marketing
The figures provided to the judges demonstrate the Festival of Marketing to be an extremely profitable event, built upon a consistent philosophy of creating strong content with a festival and fun theme to produce an engaging, informative and valuable marketing event. The team noted at the awards that as events become an integral part of media businesses’ strategies, their approach is demonstrated to work. A worthy winner.
Ad tech provider of the year
Winner: The Rubicon Project
Rubicon Project demonstrated bleeding edge programmatic technology that results in a significant increase in yield and revenue for its customers. It has engineered one of the largest real-time cloud and Big Data computing systems, processing trillions of transactions within milliseconds each month.
Tech provider of the year
Krux’s ‘Bite’ product has increased publishers’ understanding of users and their behaviours allowing them to monetise their inventory more effectively. One judge commented: “It just works”. Krux demonstrated its ability to help businesses drive revenue by delivering smarter content, commerce and marketing experiences to people, and the judges felt it deserved recognition.
Media brand of the year
Winner: The Financial Times
In an industry that thrives on innovation, it’s laudable that a venerable brand like the FT should have won brand of the year. The judges believed that the newspaper redesign, increased synergy between its print and digital models and the increase in paying consumers that happened as a result were proof that the Financial Times deserved the Gold award.
Media company of the year
Winner: Immediate Media
Here, the judges were impressed by the clarity of Immediate Media’s strategy, its consistent growth across all platforms, its commitment to hiring only the best people and its broad commercial proposition. The judges were unanimous in their decision to name Immediate Media the British Media Awards media company of the year.
Pioneer of the year
Winner: Tom Standage, deputy editor, The Economist
No other award quite exemplifies innovation within the media industry like the pioneer of the year award, and the awards executive committee were impressed by Tom Standage’s work on behalf of the The Economist. Following the awards, Mr. Standage was keen to stress that the award was indicative of a wider attitude at The Economist, rather than solely for him.