News Corp's Storyful makes bigger grab for local market

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 3 July 2015
Neil Varcoe, partnerships director for Storyful

News Corp's Storyful – the newly launched verification and aggregation content service – is negotiating a number of opportunities and partnerships, including a deal with a “premium car brand” as it makes a strong push in the local market.

The service – which draws upon existing and up-to-the-minute content created by user-generated sources – hasn't been on Australian shores for very long. However it is already hunting opportunities for content growth and advertiser tieups.

The business specialises in finding, licensing and distributing social content that is not only newsworthy, but also has the potential to go viral.

Neil Varcoe, partnerships director for the business in Australia told AdNews that there is a huge opportunity for local brands to tell their own stories by using the stories created by people engaging with social media.

“It's a huge problem for brands because it's hard to be authentic [on social], and it's hard for them to find an entry point and relevancy without seeming like they're butting into a conversation that they shouldn't be in,” he said.

“It's difficult to get into one of those conversations without sounding like you're a dad turning up at a nightclub. What we do is provide content that's already pre-trending. Because of our experience and because of our tools we know what's likely to go viral.”

“We're not just providing them an access point to a conversation that's already happening, we're allowing them to get right in there at the beginning.”

Storyful across the globe only starting working with brands eight months ago, instead opting at first to generate revenue from licensing content.

In a short period of time it has already started to generate 10% of its total global revenue from brand partnerships.

“We worked with up to 2000 clients globally in that area over that period and demand in Australia is similarly strong, both in advertising and marketing, as well as news and publishing,” Varcoe said.

The business is also developing tools to help brands to get more information about what people are saying on social, either about the individual brand, or about a greater subject area.

“We're also building other tools that will allow brands to do basic market intelligence, listening to what people are saying about their brand and the content that their sharing across particular areas, so that they can optimise their social.”

Storyful is used by Facebook to verify news on Facebook (via FB Newswire) and more recently with FB Techwire. Just last week, Storyful also announced a partnership with Google to verify eyewitness videos on YouTube (YouTube Newswire).

The business also works with The First Draft Coalition – another Google initiative that aims to build resources to help people conduct verification on their own.

“We are the gold standard of verification and you can see that in the kind of partnerships we've formed,” he said. “All this content and these tools are free to journalists – anyone – and that’s important to us.”

Varcoe explained that the main priority at the moment is an increased Australian focus for the business.

“We previously covered Australia as part of the world news mix, but now we're focused on covering Australia for Australians and often we're uncovering stories that the newsroom doesn't have yet, which is a great place to be in.

“On the brand side it's about capturing the opportunity that's here, there's a deep levels of smartphone and social media penetration so it's a really rich environment for us to be in.”

A version of this story appeared in the latest issue of AdNews Magazine (26 June). You can subscribe to get it instantly on your iPad or get it in hard copy here.

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