Adam Thomas, chief product officer at News Corp's Storyful, discusses about the social Web acquisition.
Adam Thomas, chief product officer at News Corp's Storyful, discusses about the social Web acquisition.
As we prepare for the upcoming INMA European News Media Conference in Budapest, Hungary, we spoke to one of our featured speakers, Adam Thomas, chief product officer at News Corps Storyful. Thomas discusses the media company’s 2013 social Web acquisition.

INMA: What exactly is Storyful and how can publishers profit from partnership with you?

Thomas: In it’s simplest form, Storyful is a news agency for the social media age. Through our services, our publishing partners quickly find engaging, trustworthy content from the social Web that engages audiences and drives new revenue streams.

But we’re more than that. We partner on investigations, we help shape editorial calendars, and we’re technology partners for the likes of Facebook and YouTube, too.

INMA: The biggest problem regarding the UGC [user-generated content] can probably be its credibility. What are your ways of verifying content produced by users?

Thomas: We use a combination of advanced digital forensics and good old-fashioned investigative journalism. Our value comes in how fast we’re able to do it and the level of verification we provide to our clients, including contact details for the source, exact geolocation, corroborating evidence, and more.

INMA: What exactly does Storyful’s business model look like? Where do you find money in content? Who are your biggest partners/clients?

Thomas: Primarily, our business model is driven by using advanced technology and expert journalism to discover trending stories, social media, and video very early. We then enter into ethical arrangements with the uploaders to help protect their content and, where appropriate, monetise their content.

Our services are paid for by over 150 news organisations (e.g. Wall Street Journal, Al-Jazeera, ABC News), but increasingly brand, agency, and finance partners who are also looking to get value from the social Web.

INMA: Define your target group. Can a single, regular user use Storyful as a source of information or do you work only as a news agency targetting bigger “players?”

Thomas: We’re definitely a business-to-business organisation. The value we offer ranges from discovery to verifcation, and acquisition to delivery via dashboards, mediawalls, APIs, and more. Therefore it tends to be larger companies that can get the most value from us, we act as a “social media newsroom in a box,” working with them daily.

We’re passionate about helping all journalists, however, and so we release free tools like Multisearch and work with verification coalitions like Google’s First Draft. 

INMA: How do you measure Storyful’s success? Is it measured by the income only, or is reach equally important to you?  

Thomas: Our success is measured by the amount of value we provide to our clients. For newsrooms, that tends to be how much revenue or engagement we’ve driven for them through content we’ve provided.

You could take YouTube views, however, as a good barometer of our success with that regard. For our uploaders, we currently manage videos with a combined total of 2.7 billion views and rising every day. 

INMA: What does the future hold for Storyful? How is Storyful going to evolve and how will it be affecting the content market?

 Thomas: We’re expanding rapidly (we should reach 100 people by the end of the year), and with the amazing talent that’s coming onboard, we really excited about new areas of growth for us.

We’re excited about taking our partnerships with social platforms like Google, YouTube, and Facebook to the next level. Our partnership with SMG is just the beginning. We’re beginning to take UGC to the next level with brands, agencies, and advertisers.

And I see finance and market intelligence becoming increasingly important for us. Together, our journalists and technology form a pretty incredible radar. We can turn that to just about anything!