Client Case Study

The Business Desk, a dedicated regional online business news service, was set up by David Parkin, former Business Editor of the Yorkshire Post, and opened its flagship office at the Round Foundry Media Centre in November 2007. 

It was, and still is, the only website dedicated to Yorkshire business news and the company has since launched offices and online news sites in the North West (Manchester) in September 2009 and in the Midlands (Birmingham) in February 2010.

thebusinessdesk.com, which publishes news articles, features, podcasts and video interviews, recently surpassed the 100,000 registered users mark. Its popular early morning bulletin, which has become an important part of business leaders’ daily routine, has raised the bar for providing business news first and its daily breaking news alerts sends direct to customers’ inboxes, significant business news, as and when it breaks.

The company has grown from the original team of 3 to employing 16 people, 9 of whom are located in the Leeds office, and has expanded twice within the Media Centre, in 2008 and again in 2009, to accommodate this growth.

Comments David: “Having worked in print journalism for more than 14 years I could see the media landscape was changing rapidly and that print media was a contracting industry. More and more people were turning to the web to get up to the minute news on an hourly, or more frequent, basis and I realized there was an opportunity to harness the rise of digital media to deliver business news straight into people’s inboxes, ready for when they logged on at work or, increasingly nowadays, by phone or tablet. It took two years to raise the £300,000 we needed to launch the service, and I recruited two colleagues from the business desk at the Yorkshire Post, and took an office at the Round Foundry Media Centre. 

“On the first morning, we produced an email bulletin and sent it out to a database of contacts we’d built through years of working in the industry, and used the headline ‘tomorrow’s news today’. Everyone who received the bulletin was asked to sign up with us on the website to read the full stories – and this is a successful model we’ve continued to use to build our database – people have to register with the business desk to read our full site. Our database has grown steadily over the years and the feedback we have is that people like the fact that the service is free, fast and credible. We generate revenue through advertising, as being an online service allows us to offer measureable click-through results for advertisers. We also run business events and seminars which help us build the brand across the sector and allow people from the professional world to exchange views and knowledge in person, which remains the lifeblood of any business.”

“Being based in the Round Foundry area means we operate from the heart of creative sector in Leeds and as a new media company, having access to the high-speed internet provided here allows us to maintain connection which is key to the running and monitoring of our daily news services across the regions. It offered us everything we were looking for; a serviced office in a city centre location but with a more personal, community feel. This area, with its hub of independent cafes, bars and pubs, is also a fantastic place to meet people working in a range of industries and I would still say that, despite working in digital media, building relationships face-to-face with our customers is still one of the best ways of keeping our fingers on the pulse of the business sector in the city. The energy and buzz in the area is fantastic and perfectly reflects the fast-paced, changeable nature of our daily working lives in digital news.” 

Thebusinessdesk.com continues to evolve and expand its services, having added lifestyle and recruitment sections to the site, as well as launching its ‘Business Masters’ awards which recognise success in innovation, international trade, grit, social responsibility, leadership and new business in each region.

Adds David: “In this time of rapidly-changing media for consumers, journalists and media business owners, we aim to remain ahead of the curve, but always first choice for customers who want to know regional business news first.”