13 years and 100,000 stories later...
Nov 1, 2013 / 5:00 am
Not many internet start-ups are able to stick around long enough to celebrate a second, third or fifth anniversary - let alone a 13th.
Today, Nov 1, 2013, Castanet celebrates 13 years as Kelowna's and the Okanagan Valley's 'Home Page.'
And the numbers bear that out.
"We are attracting every week about 300,000 different people to the website. The second best metric is our page impressions which is over 8 million per week typically," says Castanet General Manager/Sales Manager, Chris Kearney.
"That makes us number one in the province for general news, beating The Province newspaper, The Sun and CTV in both time spent on the site and the amount of pages people consume."
You can add to that more than 50,000 ads in one of the largest classified sections in the province.
The company, started by then SILK-FM owner Nick Frost Nov. 1, 2000, has gone through many iterations in 13 years and passed numerous milestones.
On Oct. 6 of this year, Castanet published its 100,000th story. That number is probably 30% higher as the numbering system was not installed until late January 2004, causing the 'count' to miss out on more than three years of stories.
In the 26 days since that 100,000th story was published nearly 1,750 stories have been produced.
"It seems significant to me. It's just a reflection of how hard our news team today, and in the past, has worked," says Kearney.
"They are always pumping out stories and looking for new story ideas and catching breaking news. They've done a wonderful job."
Despite the success today, the road hasn't always been smooth.
"Our viewers seemed to get it right away. But our advertisers didn't get it right away and so for the first few years we lost a lot of money, but we never gave up," stated Frost in a prior interview.
"What you learn in media is that if you can get a really big audience then the advertisers eventually will come, but it took a little longer for Castanet.net, that's for sure."
The news side of Castanet began mainly with just the written word.
It didn't take long before video and audio were introduced and now, with the seemingly daily advances in technology, live streaming.
Over the past several months, Castanet has produced live:
- election forums
- election night results
- interviews and press conferences.
More frequent live events are being planned for the coming months.
"Video in general has been very important for our growth," says Kearney.
"We see video being the future of on-line news. That's why we've allocated a number of resources to increase our video content onsite, whether it be live or canned stories."
While other media enterprises struggle, Kearney says he sees nothing like that on the horizon.
"When I got here in 2001 we had five staff. We're up to 26 staff and an office of about 4,000 square feet," says Kearney.
"I see no real signs of flattening out. We see consistent growth of visitor traffic and revenues year over year."
He says the key, as with any business, is to keep improving and to strive to get better.
Castanet is also a major supporter of the BCSPCA, Kelowna Salvation Army and Kelowna Community Food Bank.
With our corporate sponsorships, we contribute to the community and causes that are important to our clients and staff. In 2012 alone, Castanet helped raise over $85,000 for numerous charities.
Thank you for making Castanet your homepage.
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