Xtremepush has been selected by RTÉ to provide its multichannel digital engagement and analytics platform.  

The national broadcaster is enhancing delivery of breaking news and online engagement with users of its website and mobile app.

Delivering breaking news at speed and scale is a key objective of the broadcaster's digital strategy to encourage users onsite at RTÉ, ahead of rival news publishers. 

Kevin Massey, Product Development Manager at RTÉ said that recent engagement campaigns have seen a significant increase in the number of return visitors to the website and apps, through a variety of channels.

The multi-channel product offering for media clients has seen business quadruple in 18 months, also driven by demand from media publishers to grow audiences, advertising and subscription revenues. 

Xtremepush clients include Irish and US brands such as INM, the Irish Times, RTÉ and Packed House, as well as PsytechDigital, Intact Media, Millyet and Proffsmagasinet.

CRO, Rob Pryce, said rapid expansion across European and US media is planned for the firm’s app and web push, email marketing and database management product.

Initial trials of the push marketing platform at RTÉ drove increasing daily volumes of online traffic.  With extreme weather alerts, RTÉ can now issue around 10 million separate messages delivering public updates on school closures, power cuts, fallen trees, transport cancellation and business closures. 

Coverage of a recent storm drove RTÉ’s largest ever volume of digital traffic, with over 25 million page views, growing the digital news user base by 5.5% over the course of 5 days.

The requirement for timely media communications has been heightened as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with RTÉ geared to quickly share Government updates.

"The speed and ease of the Xtremepush tool means we can notify audiences via push and email as soon as Government updates become available," said Olivia Ó’Dochartaigh, Marketing Manager at RTÉ.

"Increased email communication saw news sign-up grow by 21% and engagement by 75%.  The simplicity of the platform lets us easily adapt and track performance of campaigns throughout."

Globally there has been an accelerated move to digital news and mobile media, with the rise of smartphones and tablets, while numbers for printed news titles fall. 

Despite scepticism over the quality and reliability of online sources of news and information, the Reuters Digital News Report for Ireland showed Irish digital media with the highest rating for helping news consumers understand the daily news (59%), marginally ahead of the UK (57%) and well above the European figure of 48%.

The 2020 Reuters report confirmed social media is increasingly the main source of news for 18-24-year-olds, growing from 43% in 2019 to 46% in 2020.  Among 25-44- year-olds, digital news media is the main source, while TV is the main source for over 55s. 

In terms of paying for digital news in Ireland, the subscriber rate was just 12%, and, of those who do pay, the majority only have one subscription.  The research data was collected by February 2020, ahead of the impact of Covid-19, and there is anecdotal evidence since then that online subscriptions increased during the pandemic, replacing some lost advertising.

Platforms that enhance digital engagement for media owners are extremely valuable according to Rob Pryce, who says that publishers are increasingly moving towards dual revenue strategies of advertising and DTC (direct to consumer). 

"Media subscription is now commonplace and offering tiered subscriptions is preferable for consumers, which assists in market differentiation. 

"From an advertising perspective we will see the end of 3rd party cookies in 2022, so publishers need to enhance the value of their audiences by using their first party data.