The Montana State Legislature approved a $4.5 million funding plan Monday for the Montana Media Marketplace, which will be the largest media marketplace in the state.
The funding comes from the State Legislature’s $3.5 billion Media Improvement Program, which is aimed at improving access to news, education, and entertainment, among other priorities.
The Media Improvement Fund is the largest state government investment in media in years.
“This program will provide Montana’s media industry with additional revenue streams, better quality news and entertainment and enhanced marketing opportunities,” said State Senator Chris Lewis, a Democrat from the Montana Legislative District 34.
The money will also provide $10 million to the state’s Department of Transportation to expand and improve its Media Improvement System, which includes an app that provides a full suite of tools and services for online media businesses and media outlets.
Montana has been hit hard by the financial impact of the recent coronavirus pandemic, with $1.6 billion of the state budget already being cut.
But the media marketplaces will be able to provide new revenue streams and better quality coverage of the new pandemic.
“I am very pleased to announce that the state of Montana will be working with Tonal to help boost our media market and we will have an excellent infrastructure for the Marketplace,” said Sen. Lewis.
Tonal will partner with other Montana businesses and nonprofits, including the Montana Association of Newspaper Publishers, to create a comprehensive news and content marketing strategy that includes content, marketing, and content management.
“Our goal is to leverage the state-of-the-art technology and expertise that the Montana State Media Marketplace has already demonstrated,” said Tom Miller, president of Tonal.
The goal is for the new marketplaces to provide an open marketplace for all news and information, and will work with local media outlets to make sure the Marketplace’s news and events offerings are up to date.
“We believe that the marketplaces can help bring an innovative new digital media solution to Montana,” said Tonal CEO Jeff Zeller.
“The new marketplace will allow media companies to tap into the resources that they have on-site to produce a high quality and timely news experience.”
The news marketplaces’ new website will be launched in mid-December, and the platform will be accessible on the Montana Gazette app and on the state portal.
For more information, go to www.montanamediamarketplace.com.