Stuff used its trust and scale to create non-traditional business models that are succeeding at the news media company, says CEO Sinead Boucher.

“We’ve used the scale of our really big digital platforms to diversify into other businesses,” Boucher said at INMA World Congress of News Media in Washington, D.C. These include Internet service providers, energy retailer, movie streaming business, health insurance, and local social networks.

“We’ve found that by using the trust that we have in our media brand and the scale and power of our audience, we’ve been able to grow those businesses from scratch and develop some really good new revenue streams,” Boucher said.

From this venture, Stuff has gained several key insights:

“Our brands do have power. Effectively, we’ve used our own ad inventory to advertise our own businesses, instead of someone else’s. And we’ve been able to grow those into what we hope and expect will become sustainable in growing new revenues that keep funding the newsrooms.”

Boucher had some advice for other media companies interested in exploring such non-traditional business and revenue models.

“I think it’s about looking at what assets you have, in terms of your audience — and trying to think how else you might be able to make consumer revenues out of it, beyond, say, traditional content subscription.”

Boucher added that one of the key insights they’ve had at Stuff is making sure that the entire organisation understand what you’re trying to do. “Keep re-engineering your organisation and pushing through the cultural change as well — which is what you actually need to have to make it succeed in the end.”