You recently launched a news distribution service called LeadStory. Tell us about the service and your audience.
The idea behind LeadStory
is to provide users with a personalised news bulletin that's available to them when and how they want. We're bringing the convenience and satisfaction that we have become used to from platforms like Netflix and Flipboard into the broadcast news space. And for newsrooms, we're offering a way to provide a far better return for their content than the streaming alternatives out there, that more fairly reflects the cost and expertise it takes to produce quality news content.
What made you decide to leave journalism and launch this news service?
I loved being a journo and definitely miss it. But the pull to this business was too great to ignore. It has been a crash course over the past few months in entrepreneurship, but the things that you learn as a journalist transfer really well to the space. And deep down, one of the main goals of this business is to drive revenue back into newsrooms and help sustain the industry.
What type of content does LeadStory offer?
We've been really lucky to have great content from day one. It's a "chicken and egg" scenario for many publishers; they want a strong user base to justify signing up and we need good quality content to get people watching. How do you get them both at the same time?
We were planning to pilot the product in Australia for 12 months, then scale it overseas. But we were able to get some great US publishers onboard, so we decided to go global for our launch. And it has certainly paid off, with the majority of our users in the US right now (CNBC, Bloomberg, etc.). As for Australia, we're in talks with all the major networks, and at contract stage with one, so we should have more to say in this space soon.
What are some of the service's key features?
We've had great feedback about News Radar
, which is our take on bringing local news into the tech era. Audiences can watch stories where they happened on a map with our proprietary geo-tagging solution. It's a really cool way to watch a local news bulletin, and I quite like scrolling overseas to deep-dive into a country, a city, or even a town's latest news.
Why do you think improving access to local news through LeadStory is important for communities around Australia and beyond?
I started my career at WIN Toowoomba and believe local news is essential. Not just to train our next generation of journalists, camera operators and editors, but to give people in rural areas a voice. We're incredibly keen to get regional providers on board, both here and overseas, to give them a platform to better monetise their great product.
Where do you see this product in the media landscape, and who are your main competitors?
The dream is for this to become a global news marketplace, where users can access great quality content from a huge range of sources, and distil it down into their own video news feed. I know if I had a push notification on my phone when I woke up of what I missed overnight, or a 10-minute bulletin on the TV when I got home of an evening, I'd instantly click and watch. And I think many others will too.
How has the reception been for the launch so far?
We've been blown away. We felt that mobile and CTV would be the most popular way to consume LeadStory, but the website is exceeding expectations. We are keen for feedback, and keen to improve and iterate. We're especially interested in signing more content providers onto the platform.
What are some LeadStory's future plans? What else are you looking to provide through the service?
We're busy building the mobile app, which will be out next month. It's got a totally different feel to the website, sharing tiles such as TikTok or Instagram stories. We think it will be really popular. We've also signed deals with Samsung and LG for our Connected TV app, which will be available for people to use in their lounge rooms across the country by Christmas.
Answers submitted by Cam Price, Founder of LeadStory.