Monday, March 28, 2011

Newsy announces new round of funding, as company adjusts to changing media platform capabilities

Mobile video news company Newsy announced today that it had closed a new round of funding, worth $1.5 million, that will be used to aid the company's growth and expansion plans, as well as help it keep up with the ever changing world of mobile app development.
"It's nice to be able to hire, to help manage the growth," Jim Spencer, Newsy's founder and president told TNM this morning.

The round of funding will originate from the same St. Louis-based private equity firm that has previously provided funding.

"It really helps the company in terms of being able to staff, and manage the growth. You know the Worldwide Developer Conference was announced this morning and that costs $1500, there are real expenses that go with building apps," Spencer said with a laugh.

"But it will really help us be able to add to our marketing, our editorial, our sales, and our development teams."

The Columbia, Missouri based start-up recently updated its iPhone and iPad apps making them AirPlay-enabled. Newsy also has an app in the Android Market, as well.
"We really emphasis the mobile aspect of what we are going. We think of ourselves as a mobile video news company," Spencer said.

"Our stuff looks great on the iPhone, Android, the iPad, and places like that, and we have a website. But our website is primarily a platform to be able to insure that our content is distributed as widely as possible. The real emphasis is on our apps and what we are doing in mobile."

Newsy's main point of differentiation as a news service is that it that takes video news from different worldwide sources, aggregates and analyzes the content to then create new video news spots. One reason the company is located in Columbia in order to be close to its partner, the Missouri School of Journalism.

Newsy was one of the first to take advantage of Apple opening up AirPlay to third party developers. The capability is a natural for Newsy, being a video news service. Now uses of Newsy apps can use AirPlay to stream video content to their Apple TV devices for displaying on television sets..

"First we wanted to create a new form of news which we call multi-source news, but we also wanted to create a product that was really a multi-platform product. So we're in the process right now of redesigning our videos to display most meaningfully on phones, as well as tablets, and now big screen televisions," Spencer said.

Spencer said that the company recognizes the new AirPlay capabilities will mean that the company will have to makes sure their video programming continues to attractive to consumers whether on a smartphone, or now on an HDTV.

"We happen to think our stuff looks really good on a big screen right now because we encode and distribute at such a good quality video. But you're going to see some very interesting changes coming to our products so that we are really are relevant and beautiful across multiple platforms," Newsy's president said.