Youth Contests Abroad: They're No Wingo

By: Mark Fitzgerald Contests are nearly as old as newspapers themselves. And they turn out to be important in getting this new generation of young readers, too. But these contests are not your father's Wingo. Instead, they take a YouTube approach that encourages interactivity.

The often-audacious Croatian daily 24 Sata asked readers to write an anthem for the nation's World Cup soccer team. The paper got a famous singer to record the winning composition, it received a lot of radio play, and the team ended up officially adopting the piece of music as a rallying cry.

"They are the most marketing-oriented people I have ever seen," George Kelly, senior project director for Britain's CMC International, says of the many contest schemes 24 Sata comes up with. The efforts are paying off, he adds: the percentage of 15- to 24-year-olds in its readership increased in just the last year from 15% to 25%.

The Singapore daily Lianhe Zaobao had similar success with a contest asking readers of its two-year-old "Popcorn" weekly student section to write a pop song. The winning entry was selected, and then readers were asked to record their own versions of it. Ultimately, 150 versions were pressed on CDs, and the amateur musicians were featured in 20 concerts.


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