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Blank Spot Project

Blank Spot Project

Now you can become part owner in one of Sweden’s most exciting media projects. In our high-profile crowdfunding campaign last year, we raised 1.3 million SEK. During 2015 we also managed to raise an additional 1.2 million and by that showed that there’s a strong interest and people are willing to pay for quality journalism. Together with 3,027 people, we have started a movement with the goal of casting light on the blank spots of our world while increasing awareness of the role of journalism as a cornerstone of a democratic society.

Investor proposal


An investment in Blank Spot is an investment for the freedom of speech. You who contribute will be a part of developing the organization to a longterm and stable product with continuous growth of subscribers. You will get a lifetime membership and free access to all our lectures and workshops, as well as the ability to follow the Blank Spot work in an exclusive partner group, who get to meet the editorial staff twice per year for balance meetings. You become a part of Sweden’s most exciting journalistic initiative.


Product

The problem this product solves


The fast-changing Internet has led to a larger demand for the journalistic craft. The business plans of large media organizations have also been challenged by digitizing. Media organizations have been forced to cut their budgets, and news rooms have been reduced. Out in the field, journalists are shot and kidnapped in numbers never seen before. And at the same time, strong forces are questioning journalism in general.  
 
We are concerned with this alarming development. We decided to do something about it. Our hope is to raise awareness and remind people that journalism is a pillar of a democratic society.

How the product solves it


Blank Spot is a reportage site for the global citizen who’s looking for more perspectives on our world we live in. We produce investigative, independent journalism. We give people who otherwise never come in contact with journalists a way to communicate with the world, and we highlight forgotten angles, conflicts and continents. A blank spot can also represent slow-moving processes or themes missing in other media.
Another unique aspect is our close, collaborative relationship with readers. We regard readers as members of our organization, involved in the work in a variety of ways. Together, we produce quality journalism.

Product features


We sell quality journailsm to engaged readers via blankspotproject.se. The content is produced by some of Sweden’s best journalists. An independent editorial staff carefully selects the reporters and story ideas. Twelve guidelines dictate the editorial work. Stories are often shared with other national and international media.  
 
The uniqueness is our collaboration with our readers. They are co-creators.
We aim to form long-term relationship with them, built on trust. The product is based on the interaction between the readers' curiosity and awareness and our journalistic craft. We aim to go from 3,000 to 6,000 subscribers in 2016.

Product use cases


Blank Spot is a vaccine against the strengthening anti-democratic winds infecting the world where more and more people question the freedom of the press and the role of journalism. We show how the journalistic process works and why it costs a lot of money. We illustrate that to produce quality journalism, you have to have an organization with resources to provide safety, equipment, logistics, editorial staff, and time.
 
Three billion people are connected by the Internet, and via blankspotproject.se, readers get up-to-date news and learn about unique events and incidents. We also utilize the knowledge and interest of our readers..  

Team

Nils Resare avatar
Nils Resare Redaktör
NILS har arbetat med utrikesjournalistik sedan början av 1990-talet och har gjort ett antal uppmärksammade avslöjanden, bland annat om korruption i samband med svensk vapenexport och i svenska biståndsinsatser. Nils är också grundare av organisationen Eye on Corruption vars nätverk av de främsta grävande journalisterna i världen kommer att kunna ... Se mer
NILS har arbetat med utrikesjournalistik sedan början av 1990-talet och har gjort ett antal uppmärksammade avslöjanden, bland annat om korruption i samband med svensk vapenexport och i svenska biståndsinsatser. Nils är också grundare av organisationen Eye on Corruption vars nätverk av de främsta grävande journalisterna i världen kommer att kunna kopplas till Blank Spot projektet. nils@blankspotproject.se Se mindre
Martin Schibbye avatar
Martin Schibbye Chefredaktör
MARTIN är frilansjournalist med Stockholm som bas och världen som arbetsplats. Under ett reportageuppdrag i Etiopien 2011 satt han 438 dagar i fängelse för att ha gjort sitt jobb. Martin har länge sökt en modell för att göra unika reportage direkt till läsarna genom att ta saker i egna händer. ... Se mer
MARTIN är frilansjournalist med Stockholm som bas och världen som arbetsplats. Under ett reportageuppdrag i Etiopien 2011 satt han 438 dagar i fängelse för att ha gjort sitt jobb. Martin har länge sökt en modell för att göra unika reportage direkt till läsarna genom att ta saker i egna händer. Här kommer han snöra på sig kängorna igen och lägga ner sin själ för att ge människor som annars inte träffar journalister en röst. martin@blankspotproject.se Se mindre
Brit Stakston avatar
Brit Stakston Digital strateg
BRIT är digital strateg, PR-ansvarig och VD för Blank Spot. Hon driver egna kommunikationsbyrån Stakston och är yrkesverksam som författare, debattör och mediestrateg. Styrelseuppdrag: Fojo Media Institute, Wikimedia Sverige, 1.6 miljoner klubben och Bio Gaia. Ledamot i Presstödsnämnden. Mottagare av Sociala mediepriset 2015 för sina folkbildande insatser kopplade till den ... Se mer
BRIT är digital strateg, PR-ansvarig och VD för Blank Spot. Hon driver egna kommunikationsbyrån Stakston och är yrkesverksam som författare, debattör och mediestrateg. Styrelseuppdrag: Fojo Media Institute, Wikimedia Sverige, 1.6 miljoner klubben och Bio Gaia. Ledamot i Presstödsnämnden. Mottagare av Sociala mediepriset 2015 för sina folkbildande insatser kopplade till den digitala transformationen. brit@blankspotproject.se Se mindre

Market

Target Market

Two particularly interesting target groups are the population of young adults 20-30 years of age and purchasing power news consumers. 93% of Swedes have access to the Internet. 70% of them use Facebook. 40 million Swedish Google searches are done daily. A new Novus survey says 68% of Swedes say they lack broader and in-depth perspectives in today's international reporting. Among students, the figure is as high as 84 percent. Projected growth in number of subscribers:
•    2016 – 6,000
•    2017 – 10,000
•    2018 – 15,000
•    2019 – 20,000
•    2020 – 30,000

Competitive landscape


Several actors on the Swedish media market have launched new and exciting international reporting efforts. These are mostly done from a traditional news logic and approach. Our ambition to be on location before, during and after incidents, events and conflicts along with reaching a global audience, has little competition. There are some niche media actors within the aid organization community, but none with the close connection to such a large audience.  
 
More than other media organizations, NGOs and social media platforms are more likely to be Blank Spot’s competiton for funding and reach and the time of our subscribers.

Unique differentiator from competitors


What sets Blank Spot apart from other media is how we prioritize an intimate relationship with our readers. It’s just as an important part of our work as the content we provide. We see us as a collaborative effort, based just as much on quality journalism as it is on engaged readers and members. Therefore, our journalists are both dialogue managers and content providers.
 
Today through digital media channels and personal experiences, people know more about the world than ever before, it also becomes clear what perspectives are missing. Together with our readers we want to identify these blank spots.

Company revenue streams


Our main revenue comes from members who pay for quality journalism. The reportage can be read by everyone on an open and ad free platform. We don’t believe in paywalls. The members show they value our content and format by offering monetary support. Backers are also invited to communicate with the editorial staff.  The relationship between editorial staff and reader contributes to even better journalism. In addition to memberships, our revenue comes in the form of larger donations and support, along with the sale of knowledge, competence and concept.

Product/service distribution


Blank Spot distributes content through Blankspotproject.se and social media channels. The founders are also using their personal brand’s platforms to distribute the journalism/content. Some of the Blank Spot reportages are recurringly published in printed materials such as our first issue, Blank Spot #0. In addition, the meetings between journalists and the readers nationally and internationally are very important to our distribution and reach. Our longform pieces are usually well-receieved and are picked up by traditional media.

Execution

Previous milestones/traction

•    Crowd funding: 1.3 million SEK (2,300 supporters).
•    The site was launched with 7 long read reportages.
•    Close relations between readers and editorial staff have developed and yielded in a wider marketing reach.
•   Press cuttings: 600 articles.
•    Nominated for the prestigious Swedish journalism prize for "The Innovator of the Year.”
•    Re-enrollment campaign March 7, 2015
  • The business model has been tested and works. In addition to gaining subscribers we have sold journalistic competence and data, and received external support. (1.750 million SEK from the Millenium Foundation. One million was paid out in 2015.)


Next key objectives


Blank Spot Project has a goal of 10,000 subscribers within three years and 20,000 within five. Today, we have 3,027 supporters and in 2016, our goal is to reach 6,000 new and subscribers.  
 
In addition to continuing to produce relevant longform journalism in collaboration with our readers, we are planning to pursue the following key activities in 2016:  
•    Running a number of educational projects about journalism, in everything form safety of the reporters to awareness of media criticism, questioning sources and the role of media in democracies. .
•    Launching a non-profit organization organization.

 

Previous Financing


Our revenue in 2015 was about 2.5 million SEK of which 1.4 million came from crowdfunding, 1 million in donations and 100,000 for sales of competence. The larger donation came from the Millenium Foundation. Our costs of 2.5 million SEK have largely been used for the reportages and the salaries of our journalists and editorial staff.
 
Over time, our intentions are to rely on 60-70 percent income, 20-30 percent donations and 10 percent sales of competence. Our revenue in 2016 is estimated at 5 million SEK.  

Partnerships



Blank Spot is part of the international investigative network "Eye on Corruption" which brings together some of the world’s finest investigative journalists. We also collaborate with German “Krautreporter” and other crowd funded initiatives in Greece, Holland, Hungary and the USA. Martin Schibbye is often invited as a speaker at international media forums and conferences.
 
Sven Hagströmer and his expertize and network is valuable for Blank Spot’s development.
 
Blank Spot Project is a member of the Swedish Magazine Publishers Association (SMPA).

In addition, the operational team has a large network within news-and publishing, non-profits and in the business world. 

Use of funds


With these funds raised we can reach our goals quicker. Our idea and business plan has been tested during 2015 and proved to work. The revenues where 60 percent higher during our first year, than what was estimated.
Now we want to build for the future:
40 % will finance an in-house it-team
30 % will cover improved marketing and sales strategies.
30 % will cover a team that will report on movements for democracy in a part of the world.  


Industry Certifications/Awards


In 2015, Blank Spot Project was nominated for the prestigious Swedish journalism prize for "The Innovator of the Year” with the motivation: "Because they, with a passion for international journalism started a digital movement with the aim to shed light on the world's blind spots."
 
We were nominated for the Swedish communication campaign contest, SPINN, to the consumer- and PR campaign of the year.
 
In European Excellence Awards, an international communication contest, we won the web category.

We are also nominated to the “Idea of the Year” by the daily newspapers.