News Corp CEO Robert Thomson flagged the importance of a small company snapped up for $25 million late last year when announcing the company's quarterly results today.
News Corp's Australian newspaper revenue declined 17% year or year for the three months to December. The company said the falling dollar lay behind most of the decline (10%). Globally news and information services revenue fell 9% to USD$1.612bn.
Locally the company's ownership of Fox Sports and increased stake in Foxtel helped offset declining newspaper revenues. Thomson said the REA digital real estate business performance (revenue up 18%) was expanding “encouragingly”.
But in a short statement, Thomson chose to flag the company's latest acquisition, Storyful ,as a sign that the “digital transformation is certainly underway.”
Storyful’s technology verifies social news and video and makes it easier to scale and distribute content around the world. The firm calls its kit a “human algorithm”.
What that man-machine chimera will do is serve the News Corp content machine, and other media firms, by validating social content – with a firm focus on viral videos that drive web traffic.
Storyful’s strength lies in its ability to acquire rights to video before other media players, such as the BBC and Associated Press, and license that content to news desks anywhere. Publishers can then sell ad inventory against the best video content.
For News Corp, and those that pay it via the Storyful licensing model, that will likely mean lots of clicks and lots of video ad inventory.
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