Newsy, which creates short-form video news segments that are syndicated to major third-party online publishers, has been acquired by E.W. Scripps for $35 million in cash. According to the announcement, Scripps was attracted to Newsy for its approach to curating news, its national brand, potential to enhance content from Scripps' 17 local TV stations and the growth potential of online video. Newsy will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary in Columbia, MO.
I've been a big Newsy fan and recently met up with its CEO and founder Jim Spencer and VP of Marketing Alexandra Wharton. Newsy has a very interesting approach to creating original content, but not doing original reporting. That means it doesn't send reporters out to the field, but rather curates the best video and text news from multiple sources, writes its own scripts and creates its own graphics, capturing the essence of stories in under 2 minutes. All underlying sources are clearly identified and have links back to them.
The short-form approach has gained huge lift as mobile devices have proliferated, with over 80% of views now taking place on mobile. As well, Newsy has used a syndicated approach to drive viewership and monetization, signing distribution partnerships with sites like MSN News, Mashable, AOL/HuffPo and many 3rd party syndicators. Newsy works really well for these distributors because it helps them offer high-value mobile video content. In total, Newsy creates over 2,000 news segments per month and has its own award-winning app.
Another distinguishing feature of Newsy is its close partnership with the Missouri School of Journalism, of which Jim is a graduate. Students apply to work at Newsy and as they gain more experience and eventually graduate, sometimes become full-time employees. The partnership is a win for the school in helping provide a window into how news is produced and distributed on digital platforms, crucial for helping its students gain appropriate skills.
Below is an example of a Newsy video: