SPH Digital’s team clinches top spot at DMA.Hack 2014

After two gruelling days at the Digital Media Asia Hack (DMA Hack), the smart idea of "Beans" by the team from SPH Digital Division came out tops in the hackathon.  Co-sponsored by SPH Digital and as part of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers’ (WAN-IFRA) global series of media conferences, the Digital Media Asia Hack (DMA.Hack) is a hackathon focusing on advancing technologies aiding news delivery.

The five-member team from SPH Digital came up with the idea of “Beans” — an app with an innovative concept of using machine learning to serve readers with news articles. As readers use “Beans”, it would eventually put together a personalised “playlist” to better suit their interests.

The team also proposed revenue models for “Beans”, such as micro-payment for full access, where readers can pay a small amount of money to get limited time access to premium content behind the paywall.

The winning team walked away with prizes including $2,500 worth of shopping vouchers, Amazon Web Services Activate Portfolio Package and a chance to pitch their idea with Venture Capitalist Golden Gate Ventures.

Commending the team’s simplicity of their idea, Mr Alan Soon, Country Manager of Yahoo Singapore and Managing Editor of Yahoo Southeast Asia, said: “The idea of playlists is easy to understand, since everyone knows how a Spotify playlist works. Apart from the playlist, their revenue model was clear complete with their future expansion plans. They even made a logo that had a clear corporate identity.”

Ms Tan Su-Lin, Head of SPH Digital and a member on the judging panel (abstained from voting for the SPH Digital teams in the competition), said: “It was refreshing to see how some teams dreamt up of new ways to treat an old business. For two days, the participants sat in the driver’s seat in terms of innovation instead of being in the back seat consuming news products. As for “Beans”, their idea was different from the crowd and practical in terms of execution, although more work would need to go into polishing the product.”

This competition is organised by World Association of Newspapers and Publishers (WAN-IFRA), SPH Digital and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Newsplex Asia, and was held at the Microsoft Auditorium from Nov 14 to 16.

To find out more about SPH Digital advertising solutions, contact Michael Chng at 6319-2036 / mikechng@sph.com.sg or TS Sanjay at 6319-2711 / tssanjay@sph.com.sg or Jen Tay at 6319-2411 / jentay@sph.com.sg.