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News Corp snaps up ‘social news agency’ Storyful for $25M

News Corp Storyful acquisition
Image Credit: Photo Illustration: Eric Blattberg

While most online video and other social media content is junk, some of it can be good — and can be exceptionally valuable to news agencies. Storyful combs through that content, aggregating stories from sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter and verifying the sources in the process.

And now it’s part of News Corp., Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, which owns and operates media properties like the Wall Street Journal and Fox News. News Corp. acquired the Ireland-based Storyful for €18 million (around $25 million).

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

The startup’s services are valuable to media agencies because it not only finds hot user-generated content but also validates it, squashing concerns that the poster is a fraud. Storyful combines technical information like geolocation with editorial insight to verify content on sites like Instagram, which has yet to implement a verification program.

“By joining forces with News Corp, Storyful can quickly transform its vision into a global reality,” said Storyful CEO Mark Little. “We believe that journalism in the age of social media needs to be open, innovative, and collaborative, and so does the business model that will sustain it.”

Founded in 2008, Storyful will keep its Dublin headquarters, operating as a standalone entity within News Corp, which plans to hire some additional Storyful business development and sales staff in New York.

Storyful investors include SOS Ventures, ACT Ventures, the Irish State Enterprise Board, and Irish entrepreneur Ray Nolan.

For more insight into Storyful, check out the video below. (You only have to wait 10 seconds until the first explosion.)

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