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News Corp Acquires Social Video Agency Storyful for $25 Million

Robert Thomson News Corp - H 2013
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News Corp CEO Robert Thomson

The publishing company has placed a priority on competing with new media outlets in the social news sphere.

News Corp has acquired startup Storyful for $25 million in order to bolster its presence in the social news sphere, the company said on Friday. Storyful will remain a stand-alone entity and its CEO, Mark Little, will continue to run operations.

"Storyful has become the village square for valuable video, using journalistic sensibility, integrity and creativity to find, authenticate and commercialize user-generated content," said Robert Thomson, News Corp's chief executive, in a statement. "Through this acquisition, we can extend the village square across borders, languages and platforms."

Storyful was founded in 2010 with a mission to verify user-generated content. The company states that it contacts creators of user-generated videos and serves as the intermediary for news outlets that would like to feature the content. Storyful has counted The New York Times, ABC News and other major news outlets as clients. 

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The new News Corp, which was spun off last June from entertainment assets that now comprise 21st Century Fox, has placed a priority on re-orienting its publishing properties to compete with new media outlets. 

The Wall Street Journal, News Corp's flagship U.S. paper, launched WSJ WorldStream in August 2012 as a real-time hub where Dow Jones reporters could upload short video clips to a single news stream showing the activity of the paper's journalists worldwide. The Journal has also invested in WSJ Live, which features a cable news-style schedule of shows programmed daily. 

"Together, we will combine the authority of premier original content with the authenticity of user-generated content," wrote Little in a post on Storyful's site. "We will define the opportunities that the digital landscape presents rather than simply adapt to them. Ours will be a powerful and unique partnership."