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Home > NAA mediaXchange 2014 > News & Media > MXC Blog > Start-ups share new solutions for the newspaper media industry

Start-ups share new solutions for the newspaper media industry

Accelerator Pitch program gives top start-ups the chance to share their solutions to pertinent issues in many aspects of the news industry

By Rick Cookson

Several start-up businesses pitched to NAA mediaXchange attendees Tuesday their ideas to solve modern challenges in the newspaper industry. The session featured pitches from eight different companies founded in the last three years: Media Works, Cinemacraft, Ebyline, SocialNewsDesk, City Portals, saambaa, Guarantee Digital and Simpli.fi.

“The overall theme of this conference is ‘the way forward’ and I think that this session is a good representation of that,” said Sean O’Leary, director of communications at NAA and host of the session.

Each company brought their own spin to what they think needs help within the news industry and had to present it in four minutes before the buzzer went off. The speakers showcased everything from the problems in marketing and advertising to the ongoing issues inside digital journalism and social media.

Four of the main problems the startups were concerned with came from ideas concerning the integration of local news with mobile devices, changing online video, social media and unstructured data.

Taking local news and entertainment mobile

Start-up co-founder and CEO Matt Voigt introduced his company saambaa, which takes local news and entertainment content and turns into a mobile social application.

“Mobile is the only media that is growing today,” Voigt said. “What makes us different is that we charge no fee — there’s only revenue share.”

Recreating online video

Another pitch came from Kevin Gould, the vice president of business development at Cinemacraft. This company aims to recreate digital journalism — mainly the way the audience sees videos online.

“Rather than posting one single thumbnail image with a 50/50 chance of engaging a viewer, why not give them a massive pictorial summary where one viewer can be engaged by one video and another viewer by a different video,” Gould said.

Making social news easier

SocialNewsDesk and Guarantee Digital both brought presentations depicting the new ways journalists can use social media. Kim Wilson, the founder and operator of SocialNewsDesk, spoke about making social media easier to use in the news industry.

“Our product is by news people, for news people,” Wilson said. “We focus on three things: centralization, security and monetization of [your news organization’s] social media to create team strategy and education.”

A new way to structure unstructured data

The last speaker of the bunch was Frost Prioleau, co-founder and CEO of the digital advertising company, Simpli.fi. The company aims to give structure to unstructured search data within the ranks of large businesses.

“We suggest that publishers stop selling and start innovating,” Prioleau said. “Simpli.fi will provide the programming, the platform, the support and the training to do just that.”

Read more about the Accelerator Pitch Program winners.

First Published: March 19, 2014