Netscape founder and Internet entrepreneur Marc Andreessen's famous maxim, that software is eating the world, is being rapidly applied to the 24/7 world of online publishing.
Two media industry transactions since the turn of the year have proven that beyond doubt. In late December, News Corp's Rupert Murdoch bought Dublin-based Storyful for US$25 million, in a play that propels the media conglomerate into the social news and user content management space.
In August 2011, Andreessen, who has invested in Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, penned a piece that said many more industries would be disrupted by software. Now that prediction is fast becoming a reality for the media industry.
Raju Narisetti, senior vice president and deputy head of strategy at News Corp, said this week that Storyful’s proprietary technology and software verifies social news and video and makes it easier to scale and distribute content around the world. It will 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 silver bullet is 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.
The new division would remain an independent company, and is likely to be rolled out in Australia by News Corp soon. Ad agencies that are transmuting into digital storytellers, content curators, and video-focused brand agencies should probably take notice. Algorithms are going to eat the media industry.
As brands seek authenticity and relevancy, news organisations are doing the same as they aim to tame the wild west of the internet, and bolster their reputations as credible sources of content. News Corp said it would aim to combine its trusted journalism with verified user-generated content and stay on top of the social news space.
Content marketing and syndication firm NewsCred is further proof of Andresson's thesis. It raised a further US$25 million this week, demonstrating the power of a branded content business model that works closely with some of the world’s largest publishers. The company sells software that helps companies find articles that aid their marketing efforts. Clients include Pepsi, Johnson & Johnson, and Xerox. The firm curates and customises content to a brand’s specific audience needs and interests, deploying content, images and multimedia.
NewsCred uses semantic and natural language processing technology to help brands get their content onto publisher platforms and in front of consumers. The software revolution is underway.
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